The Four Stages of Competence Applied to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The “Four Stages of Competence” is a learning model of a new skill that can be well applied to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It can be useful to analyze the larger picture of our progress in learning the gentle art.

So, let’s get to them!

Unconscious incompetence

We have all been there! Initially, the students are unaware of how little they know or unconscious of their incompetence. They have never seen most of the techniques and don’t understand their value in combat. The length of time they spend at this stage depends on their eagerness to learn.

Conscious incompetence

Little by little, the students start to recognize their deficits and to address them. They become aware of the different positions and how they can be useful, even if they don’t know how to apply them correctly yet. It’s the classic “I-know-that-I-know-nothing” phase! The more they practice, the faster they will get into the next learning stage.

Conscious competence

Once the students have recognized their incompetence (previous stage), they consciously acquire a skill, then deliberately use it. At this point, they already know many techniques, but to use them still demands a lot of concentration. The brain holds the technique, but the body does not react automatically yet.

Unconscious competence

Finally, the techniques can be executed without them being consciously thought through. They have become “second nature” and can be performed easily. It’s official: jiu-jitsu is all over you now!

Sources: Jiu-Jitsu Times / Wikipedia

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