Depth vs Breadth of Knowledge part 2

Kroyler’s Pro-Tip on Breadth vs Depth of Knowledge part 2

Last time we discussed Breadth of knowledge this time we will explore Depth of knowledge.

What is Depth of knowledge?

Refer to the last episode for a full definition, however short and simple definition is shallow  knowledge implies you understand the technique very superficially, meaning you can follow the steps to a technique andare capable of pullingthat technique in a roll.

Furthermore,Depth of knowledge implies knowing all the intricacies of each step of the technique, all the minute details, the reason why they are all relevant and why they are all necessary, understanding how each of those details come together, the timing of the technique, where that technique fits in the flow of the fight, all of the variations and modifications that can be performed, all of the set ups into and out of the specific techniques.

So,the question becomes how deep should our knowledge base be?

Should we spend our precious training time in going far into the rabbit hole of a technique and potentially miss out on learning other techniques? Or should we forego true understanding in hopes of being “well-rounded”?

Much like last week,Depth of knowledge does not inherently equate toNarrowness of knowledge, andShallowness of knowledge does not inherently equate to breadth of knowledge. This can betrue,but it isn’t always necessarily true. You see all the time black belts that have a specific attack pattern that they have achieved the deepest levels of understanding in it, yet you would never assume that the black belt isNarrow in knowledge even though it can happen, as not all black belts are created equal.

The same you would never assume shallow knowledge implies breadth of knowledge as a blue belt may haveShallow knowledge and yet you would never assume them to have breadth of knowledge.

Generally speaking, focusing on Depth of knowledge will lead to high levels of expertise in certain aspects of the fight and jiujitsu, meaning you could have a purple belt that has a black belt level Depth of knowledge in leg locks and back attacks. Meaning their expertise in those 2 positions may far exceed a black belt who hasn’t studied thosespecificpositions as much. Thus, leading to a purple belt outperforming a black beltshould they arrive in those specific positions. However, that can also be detrimental to a blue or purple belt that has spent so much time on 1 or 2 specific positionsthat he has a shallow  understanding in other areas. Because if they cannot achieve those specific positions due to their opponents being better well-rounded overall, then their entire expertise goes unused in the match.

If we keep to the example above, if the purple belt that is an expert in leg locks and back attacks, gets stuck in the bottom of side control by someone morewell-rounded that may not have his depth of knowledge, but may have a overall deeper knowledge, the blue-purple belt may not be able to find a way out of the bottom or come out on top at the end of the fight.

The pro of having Depth of knowledge in a technique is that should you take the fight to where your knowledge far surpasses your opponents knowledge level, you will always come out ahead.

The cons are very simple,in order to achieve Depth, you must use your limited time and focus it in a few positions, meaning you may find yourself lacking everywhere else.

Meaning what? Meaning if someonetakes you out of yourgame orprevents you from getting into the specific positions you are an expert in, then you are left with nothing but your limited shallow  knowledge of every other position.

To simplify:

Pros:  you can create niche areas of your game where you can outperform just about anyone evenhigher-level belts

Cons:  you may never have the overall knowledge required to get to you niche area.

I hope this is all making sense with Paul’s horrid reading…

So, which is better Depth or Shallowness of knowledge?

Furthermore, from last episode,which is better, Narrowness of knowledge or Breadth of knowledge?

Before I answer understand that bothBreadth and Depth of knowledge are organic and change over time as well as they are relevant only to you and who you compare to. To my white belts I have what seems to them to be total and complete understanding of jiu-jitsu. However, when I compare to my instructor, well Stambowsky makes me feel like I’m sure my white belts feel…yet I feel that the gap between his knowledge and mine is bigger than my white belts and mine…. Just blessed to be able to learn from him…

Nonetheless I digress...

Well, I am a perfectionist when it comes to jiu-jitsu, it is my addiction.So,to me, we should strive for bothBreadth of knowledge andDepth of knowledge, meaning learn everything that you can. All the new and old techniques. And then study them to an infinitesimal detail and completely understand them all. I don’t believe in settling for less.

Remember we are all in this journey together and not a single soul on this planet knows all of jiu-jitsu. That infinite number of techniques and their details are what make this so incredible addicting. Knowing that you are on an endless path of knowledge keeps you humble, keeps you learning, which in turn keeps you growing and improving.

The moment you settle for a specific amount of knowledge, Depth or breath, you have settled in your path, and you have accepted your current place as the destination of your journey. Meaning you are no longer exploring, no longer growing, no longer improving.

Then there’s always the argument of well I started late in life, or I only train x amounts of days a week, how could I ever learn everything as you described above… Well the truth is no one will ever learn all of jiu-jitsu.The point here is to strive for perfection and continual improvement, and to not set a limiting goal.


Now if the question is how do I then create or develop a “game” that’s going to work for me? Well we can discuss this in the future.

Kip Dice