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End Goal Method 🎯: Get there no matter what! (Free tracking template included)
Define what move you want to master. Repeat it in live rolling. Explore new ways to get there.
How to Truly Learn and Improve Faster in Jiu-Jitsu
I make the mistake of giving too many details and steps when I'm teaching. As I've progressed in my Jiu-Jitsu journey, I've noticed that the less prescriptive a lesson is, the easier it is to learn and develop my own way of accomplishing something.
The Power of Non-Prescriptive Learning in Jiu-Jitsu
Details and steps are fine, but sometimes we forget our body's ability to replicate movement and find answers. Have you ever seen a move in a fight and replicated it? Without any prescriptions, just letting your body replicate the movement... it works much better than you'd think, right?
I am not saying that white belts should disregard the prescriptive lessons that they usually get, but I believe that Jiu-Jitsu is like a language. Once you understand and internalize the language basics, you don't necessarily need to learn every possible word combination. You can use your understanding of grammar and syntax to formulate ways of saying whatever you want to say. Jiu-Jitsu is the same in many ways.
Finding Answers Yourself
I believe the most effective way of learning something is actually finding the answers ourselves, not just following a prescription. The best teachers steer us toward the answers and help us find them ourselves instead of just giving them to us. That's why the conceptual approach to teaching is so incredibly effective... because it gives you a universal tool that steers you towards the right way of solving a problem.
The End Goal Method: A Powerful Training Technique
The End Goal Method was introduced to me by Josh McKinney (from the I Suck at Jiu-Jitsu Podcast), and I believe it's one of the most powerful changes I've made in my training in the past year or so.
It basically works like this: You picture a final position you want to reach, and instead of only following a prescriptive approach (step-by-step way of getting to the position), you just try to get to the position from everywhere and anywhere. You have an end goal, and that's it.
The example that Josh usually gives is the Kimura or the Straight-Ankle lock. By focusing on getting to the position instead of just trying a specific sequence, we give ourselves the possibility of finding different answers ourselves.
The Benefits of Focusing on One Position
And if you focus entirely on one position/end-goal for a period of time, it becomes very easy to finally decrypt a position in its entirety. And that's what you want. You want to be able to use Kimuras from everywhere and truly understand how and where they can fit and be useful in your Jiu-Jitsu game. Not just to be able to finish a Kimura from XYZ position.
The first time I experienced this kind of training was after watching Eddie Cummings heel-hook most of his opponents in an EBI... I got obsessed with getting to the saddle (411, Cross Ashi, Honey Hole, Inside Sankaku, etc, etc.) and started trying to get there from everywhere. I made millions of mistakes, but I learned a lot and started to figure out how to get there from everywhere. I wasn't just trying backsteps or Reverse-X entries... I was just trying to get there. In the process, I gained a level of understanding of the position and how it fit in my game in a way that just trying sequences wouldn't have been able to do.
You've probably rolled with that guy who's always trying to get to a specific position from everywhere... Well, the trick is to do that, not just because it's the position that you're good at, but as a way of learning and soaking yourself up with all the variables and possibilities of the position.
Learning the Macro from the Micro
One of the most powerful things this method accomplishes is that by focusing on a small part of the Jiu-Jitsu universe, you actually learn principles and Jiu-Jitsu as a whole.
In "The Art of Learning," Josh Waitzkin explains the importance of diminishing the complexity of chess to be able to learn important principles and concepts more easily. Instead of learning chess using a complex position that includes many pieces, he talks about learning important principles from simplified positions like pawn and king against king. The same principle applies here. By focusing on a small piece of the Jiu-Jitsu game, you can learn important overarching principles in a simpler way.
How to Apply the End Goal Method to Your Training?
Pick an end goal position:
I'd pick a submission or a dominant control position. It can be any position. I'd say that the most important thing is that you find the position interesting and exciting. Motivation and enthusiasm are key to sticking to the End Goal Method and actually improving and enjoying the process.
Examples: Kimura, Achilles Lock, Back Position, Saddle, Reverse de la Worm Guard, Squid Guard, 50/50... Any position that opens up possibilities of finishing the match is good.
Invest the next 6 weeks to 6 months in getting to the position. This means that you try to get to the position from any position and do different things. For this period of time, the only way to measure your success in the gym is by getting to the End Goal position or by figuring out different ways to do it. Submissions don't count for this time period.
Josh McKinney on the End Goal Method:
You define what move you want to master, you repeat it in live rolling, you explore new ways to get there.
If you want to listen to Josh talk about the method, listen to episode #98 of the I Suck at Jiu-Jitsu Show
Boosting Your Progress: Watching Top-Level Athletes
Another thing I think helps a lot when using this method is to watch top-level guys playing the position... If we stay with the Kimura example, you can watch Vagner Rocha or Ethan Crelinsten (matches before 2019)... You'll see how they get Kimuras from freaking everywhere!
They're not just using a single sequence; they're getting them from every possible position. Just watch, but try not to make it prescriptive (don't try to learn their specific system); watch and enjoy. Exposure is a powerful tool.
If, by any chance, you are thinking about picking the Kimura, here’s a great Kimura highlight video I found online that might motivate you and get you excited:
Free Tracking Template:
Since this is very conceptual, it's hard to include any images and animations. I think the best way to give you as much value as possible is to give you something so you try the end-goal method for at least one position…so I created this worksheet so you can apply the method with more structure and you can be more conscious about your efforts and progress.
Here it is!
End Goal Protocol Template
If you need help using the template, just let me know.
That's it for this week's post. Thanks for reading!
As always, please let me know what you think about this post and how I can best help you improve at BJJ!