Subject: Youtube and Google University

There is a great amount of information on the internet.
As a matter of fact, as an information is concerned, the internet is a treasure chest.

I have seen the internet truly enhance the careers of many Judo and Brazilian Jiujitsu practitioners.  For it is truly a great resource.

My son and daughter both practice mathematics on a program that I would highly recommend to any and all parents. The program is called IXL.  You can access it on www.ixl.com

The program tracks my children’s progress and also lets my wife and I know exactly how much time they have spent doing math. How much time they have spent on each program and it allows me to see where they are having problems and stays with that set of problems until they have been mastered. It is absolutely phenomenal.

My wife and I love it.

And I’m sure you will too.

Just so that you know, I’m a fan of learning on the Internet. As a matter of fact I attended Capella University which is an online PhD program and I learned a great deal and was challenged intellectually (and emotionally).

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Here’s The Meat
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I have traveled a great deal and have taught numerous people. I also consult, write curriculum and coach. So, I’ve seen my fair share of “Youtube Black Belts” and watched a great deal of people who have learned some techniques from the internet.  And let me say this, I have run into some VERY decent “Youtube Black Belts” (all no gi though). If you are an instructor, then you, like me, have seen your students do a move in the dojo that you know good and damn well that they learned on youtube.  And while you praise them for their zeal and thirst for knowledge, you also understand the extreme danger in their educational growth by doing so. And you have to admonish them while encouraging them at the same time.

Follow me on this….

Just a quick search on the internet for the “Triangle Choke” will yield many variations of a move that we call “Sankaku Jime” in Judo.

Now, here’s the deal….

As a seasoned instructor, a black belt in BJJ and coach who prides himself in paying attention to the smallest details, variations and deviations in moves and movements, I will have you know that there are some youtube videos that are REALLY, really incorrect. Hell, even bad. But if you don’t know any better, you will think that they are good. And I have seen some that are just incorrect as hell that people comment on as if they are golden.

But, how are they to know what they don’t know?

The only way to know the good from the bad, is to do the following:

1. Trust the source of the video
2. Trust the sources in the video
3. Understand the move yourself
4. Have someone validate the video who is more seasoned than you

See, the process of a no gi triangle choke is different than one in the gi. Although similar, they are VERY different and if you don’t know the nuances then you could possibly be making some HUGE errors that you will not see until its too late. I saw a person set up a no gi armbar in a gi situation and watched it work. It worked WELL, but they had no clue that the armbar that they learned was a no gi version and even though it worked in the gi at the purple belt level, which was the level of the competitors, that will not work at a higher level. But… how can they alleviate such a problem?

So here’s how to alleviate such a problem:

1. GET SOMEBODY TO WATCH THE ONE WHO IS WATCHING THE MONEY – A friend of the family gave me some advice about 15 years ago. It was some financial advice.  He said, “Man, make sure you get a financial advisor to watch your money.”  I thought it was pretty basic advice so we did it. Then a few years after that he said, “Man, make sure you get another financial advisor.”  To which I replied, “Dr. Fountain, I already got a financial advisor like you said.”  Dr. Fountain replied, “No man. I said, get ANOTHER financial advisor.”

Still not understanding, I said, “You want me to fire the on that you told me to get?”

Clearly a little frustrated Dr. Fountain clearly said, “Boy, you need to get somebody to watch your money. And then you need to get someone to watch the ONE who is watching your money!”

I finally got it.

And with that being said… you need to have someone who is overseeing your video watching process so that you don’t take in the incorrect information.  One of my clients out of Mississippi told me,  “I’m not watching ANYTHING on youtube until you tell me EXACTLY what to watch.  I pay you to alleviate my headaches and mistakes.”

I agreed.

Everyone must be accountable and all processes critiqued. Hell, I pay to have mine critiqued.

2. TREAT YOUR INFORMATION LIKE IT’S IXL OR CAPELLA UNIVERSITY – Meaning, the quality information that I got from school or that we get from IXL for our children is of such quality because we’ve paid for it. Because it is a professional service that is provided, there is a high level of professionalism that comes with the issuance from the program. This is what we pay for. We pay so that we don’t have to sift through the internet to find out what’s good or what’s bad.  Even as you are reading this now, there are some of you which have children who can and will most certainly sign them up for IXL because you know that I’m a reliable source and I’ve told you that IXL is.

3. DO NOT THINK THAT YOU ARE AN EXPERT AT THAT WHICH YOU DON’T HAVE EXPERTISE – You may be a great instructor, but not an educational expert. You may be a great judo instructor, but not a judo expert. You may be a judo expert but not a newaza expert. You may be newaza expert but not an omaplata expert. You may be a tachiwaza expert but not an Osoto Gari expert. Know that its okay to go to someone else for expertise. The answers to your problems may be on the internet or not. The truth is that you need to know where to find them.  This is why coaching is so important.

To further understand the value of this point please read this article – “The Death of Expertise” by Tom Nichols

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Closing
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Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for learning. And I think that the internet is a great place to learn.

But just as I do not allow my kids to browse on the internet freely or utilize my Netflix account due to the fact that they are young and need to be monitored, neither should you in your formative years roam the internet freely learning what you THINK is good without knowing what is good or not.

In the beginning of 2015, I will open up my Deliberate Practice Coaching Group once again.

Unfortunately, as I said before,I do not have as many spots as I had at the beginning of 2014 because I’ve have some people who have already re-upped for 2015. I would highly encourage you to take the opportunity to take advantage of this coaching opportunity because there are very few opportunities in the sport of Judo and BJJ where you can get year round coaching, training and mentoring to aid you in your developmental process. But I will tell you this — I can guarantee you that your game on the mat and your overall martial arts experience will improve great if you decide to do the work.

In the next few days please enjoy your holiday season and also be on the lookout for:

1. The opening of my Deliberate Practice Coaching Group (in January 2015) – http://www.drrhadiferguson.com/judo-coaching-program

and
2. my NEW Judo 2.0: Effective Strategies And Tactics Seminar (February/March 2015) – http://www.drrhadiferguson.com/judo-coaching-program

and

3. A host of training and development opportunities at Tampa Florida Judo in Tampa, Florida (All year long)

Take care and have a great holiday season.

Dedicated to Your Improvement,

Rhadi Ferguson, PhD
2004 Olympian