I talk to Jozef Chen, a grappling phenom who recently took Bronze at the ADCC trials while only seventeen years old and relatively new to his jiu-jitsu training. We discuss how he gained his skill level at such a young age from using instructionals and drilling techniques in a conceptual style influenced by Rob Biernacki. After preparing for the ADCC trials at the B-Team in Texas with Craig Jones, we talk about what his experience was like grappling in that high-level training environment and how he plans on training and teaching going into the future.
Listen To Jozef Chen
Learning From BJJ Instructionals
When Jozef watches instructional, he usually takes notes on his phone, if there is a specific technique or idea that he wants to remember, he will write it down. That helps him recall it when he am training as just watching the instructional and not taking any action is not enough. He will also sometimes record clips of the instructional video in case there are details or things that he missed while taking notes. But usually, he will just take notes and maybe take screenshots of what interests him and then after taking the notes, he will make sure to look over them again when I get to the gym to make sure that he understands everything that was taught in the video.
He also focuses on the quality of the instructional video as some will teach you how to do things differently. For example, some videos might focus more on teaching you the technique, while others focus on giving you ideas and concepts. So before starting to watch an instructional video, he says it is important to think about how you want to learn and what you want to learn to get the most out of the video.
How To Drill Techniques
He thinks the traditional idea of drilling, where you do something repeatedly to get better at it, is flawed. His favourite use of that way to drill is to do it when he can’t do the movement correctly. For example, if you don’t know how to invert, you can drill that movement until you can do it correctly. But once you are able to do the movement correctly, he thinks doing drills for reps becomes redundant and inefficient.
At that point, he will try to drill for what he calls understanding where he will ask his partner for prompts and vary resistance. Once he began to do that he thought of drilling differently after he saw how his partner reacted. Now he drills to play around with ideas and figure out what works best which also helps his partner understand what they were doing and also think about ideas for themselves.
Training At B-Team Jiu-Jitsu
When he was at the B-Team, he found that his drilling and learning style worked well. The way they did things was similar to what he was used to, but there were also some ways where they tried to teach me understanding and ideas in a unique way. However, he did not have enough time to study on his own while he was there. so he decided that he would do the class, but then he would have one session where he would be mostly in charge of what happened. He wouldn’t roll but would continue to use his style of drilling and would have a partner drill with him on things that he had watched or been playing around with that might or might not be related to the class, but something he wanted to learn more about.
Jozef Chen Podcast Resources
Jozef Chen Links
- Jozef Chen Instagram
- Core-A Gaming
- Jozef Chen BJJ Highlights
- Jozef’s Visit to B-Team Jiu Jitsu
- Jozef Paetzold Chen’s ADCC Trials Training
- Rory van Vliet Interview
- Rob Biernacki Interview
- Priit Mihkelson Interview
Jozef Chen Quotes
What I’ll try to do when I’m drilling is I’m not just drilling a technique on, a dummy who’s cooperating. I’ll try to vary the level of resistance, but I’ll also ask my partner. Okay. What do you think of this position? What do you think of this technique? What do you, what will you do here? What do you think I should do here?– Jozef Chen
Do you feel threatened? Do you feel like you’re gonna off-balance me? All these different prompts to try to get a better understanding of these positions and therefore use (the drilling and training partner) to build a better understanding.
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