The guys in my class don’t see it, but I do. I’ve been teaching methodology for the past 2.5 years, and I’ve been studying about ESL for the past 5 years.

BJJ is exactly like ESL.

For clarification purposes, ESL is English as a Second Language, but for this post I mean it to be ANY 2nd language classroom. BJJ is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and theoretically this could be brought out to any other martial arts. But I’m sticking to what I know, so I say BJJ is exactly like ESL.

Let’s break it down:

BJJ is a foreign language for your body. Because of this, the teaching methodology is the SAME. Let’s take a look at what I’ve been teaching for the past 2+ years.

Warmup In an ESL classroom you need some sort of warmup because the students need to switch their brain from their native language to the second language. You’re getting them ready for speaking, listening, etc. In a BJJ classroom you need a warmup to get your body ready for techniques and sparring.

Target Language For the ESL teacher this is talking about what students will learn. Vocabulary, grammar, or even body language. For the BJJ teacher this is the techniques you are teaching for the day.

Encounter, Internalization, Fluency. In an ESL classroom there is some introduction to the target language (Encounter), then the students practice it in a controlled setting (internalization), and then they have a chance to use it in a situation set by the teacher but that allows them free practice with it (fluency). During the Internalization stage, the teacher should look for and correct problems students are having with the Target Language, but during the fluency activity they do not correct.

In a BJJ class, the instructor shows the students a move (encounter), then they drill it (internalization), then they may get a chance to do positional sparring (more internalization), then free sparring (fluency). The instructor should look for and correct problems students are having with the technique during the drills, but during the sparring they do not correct.

There are definitely more similarities, which I’ll touch on later.

What do YOU think?