Dec 02

A Conceptual Blueprint for Preparing to Teach

A Conceptual Blueprint for Preparing to Teach

If you teach or want to teach, you have to do more than just regurgitate information. The best instructors create experiences that are rarely forgotten.

You might’ve even had such experiences yourself, especially if you’ve been training for a good amount of time. It’s in those moments when you pay absolute attention because you made the decision that the information was extremely relevant to you.

The question is how do you create such experiences when you teach? To answer that, I want to offer you a suggestion.

I recently read a book called As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have It Stick. It focuses on the many different aspects of effective communication, and for some odd reason, it just happens to be well-written too.

One section of the book focuses on a conceptual blueprint for preparing content. We can apply that to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu instruction, but let’s start with defining the blueprint itself.

The Conceptual Blueprint

At a fundamental level, there are three components in the blueprint:

  • Outcome – Define your outcome. What do you want to achieve?
  • Relevance – Find the relevance. Why should they care?
  • Point – Clarify your point. What’s your message, in one memorable phrase?

Those three components can then be expanded into an outline where you write out the following information:

  • Who will be in your audience.
  • The outcome you desire.
  • The knowledge you want your audience to learn.
  • How you want your audience to feel.
  • Reasons why they should care
  • The central message in one clear statement.

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Application

Now we’re going to use that conceptual blueprint to outline a class, just as an example. Let’s get started!

Who is listening?

  • BJJ Basics Students (Mostly white belts)

Step I – Outcome: By the end of this class, they will….

  • Understand the concept of the triangle and how to effectively finish it.

In order to achieve this they need to know:

  • The four stages of a triangle choke as a foundational concept.
  • The importance of attacking with the hips.
  • How to control angles and posture in the position.

In order to achieve this they need to feel:

  • Confident that they will be able to master the submission in time.

Step II – Relevance: Why should they care?

  • Because the triangle is not only a submission, it’s also an effective position where you can launch many attacks.
  • Because the concepts you learn from developing an effective triangle can applied all over the place.
  • Because the triangle can be found in all kinds of positions.

Step III – Point: What’s your message in one sentence?

  • The triangle is a strong submission that can be used in many effective attack sequences and loops.

Give It A Try

I highly recommend As We Speak. It’s worth studying because effective communication is valuable in all areas of life. I only showed you a small sliver of what you could learn.

I just wanted to give you an example of how knowledge can be applied.

It’s entirely likely that you may read this book and focus on something entirely different then apply that knowledge in a way that I never imagined. That would be a wonderful thing if it happened.


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  1. Natan


    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been routinely helping out the teaching staff at my academy (which may or may not become permanent) and have been having difficulty here and there with the pre-teens/teens in our fundamentals class. The difficulty isnt coming from explaining and/or demonstrating the technique, but rather in keeping a group of kids engaged that just want to spar and try that inverted reverse flying gogoplata they saw on YouTube rather than strip all the layers off the sit-over sweep.

    Defining the outcome and point has never been a problem, its finding the relevance. I’ve been trying to offer up examples of the when, why, and how of what we’re teaching is applicable to a particular person’s game. For example, “Last time we rolled, Billy, I caught you with X. Remember that little wrinkle I showed the class yesterday? Thats your way out.” It’s a poor example, and one thats only applicable on an individual basis, but similar to the approach I’ve been using. I need to find a way to express that relevance to the whole class, or at least the group of kids I’m mentoring.

    I just downloaded As We Speak and will be digging into it over the next few days. Thanks again.


    p.s. Is the link in this post an affiliate link? If I had known that prior, I would have gone through here. Next time!

    1. Kenneth Brown

      I hope that the book helps you out. If nothing else, you’ll definitely learn some methods that may help you become a more effective communicator. One thing that I have been doing lately is taping myself when I teach in order to notice the little things I’m doing unconsciously that may effect the delivery of instruction.

      As far as affiliates goes, yes there are some here and there to Amazon and Budovideos. It’s mentioned on the About page. You should read it.

      Oh, and I don’t envy you for teaching kids. That’s a whole different animal.

  2. The Ghost

    Great write up, it really got me thinking about how to communicate differently. I like the systematic approach.

    1. Kenneth Brown

      That’s the goal. It’s a suggestion that may inspire you to innovate and improve.

  3. Nick

    Being a full time instructor I always like picking up new reading materials that could provide helpful insights into teaching and my Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I will definitely go check this book out. Another cool book to check out if you haven’t already done so is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Very cool book. When I read it I gained insight into the formation of habits, how to understand our habits and how to change them. The cool part is you can use this to adjust habits that aren’t conducive to your goals in life and you can also use the principles to changes your habits on the mat. By habits on the mat I mean your rolling and techniques. When you think about it, when we drill we are merely setting up habits that are trigger by triggers. When someone pushes up on your chest from the bottom of mount like a bench press then you they have activated the trigger to go for armbar.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing the book info!

    1. Kenneth Brown

      One of the concepts that has influenced me a lot is that practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes habits. So that book sounds like it would be relevant to my interests. I’m going to check it out, and I’ll probably add it to my reading list.

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