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BJJ DRILLS
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BJJ DRILLS

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has a high level of intensity, and competing at local tournaments can leave a student way out of their depth. This is why all students of the art, including world class black belts, will put in a significant amount of time to drill their technical proficiencies. 

What this article covers:

Having natural skill, and athleticism will only get a student so far, it takes a considerable amount of hard work, dedication, and continuity within their training to improve. Students will need to drill takedown maneuvers, guard passing, sweeping mechanics, submission techniques, technical escapes, and a series of different bjj warm up drills. If a student can be consistent with these principles then they will build a strong foundation within their game style. 

Jeff Glover is a legend on the BJJ scene and he's joining forces with BJJFanatics.com to share the drills that helped him sharpen his grappling skills!

bjj drills

There are many different types of drills that can help students, from drilling techniques, to bjj movement drills. All students need to balance their time equally, and not skip any important exercises. Building a core strength is also important, and many of the arts drills are instrumental in developing a formidable postured base. Students will also need speed, and dexterity, so utilising high repetition with a low impact on the body is vital, and this will help with overall skill, and with developing an ability to train for longer. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is all about longevity, and these are fundamental aspects that all students need to live by. 

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THE IMPORTANCE OF DRILLING IN BJJ

There are many important reasons for drilling in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Warm up drills are crucial for a student, because this will increase their heart rate, which will enable a smoother blood flow, and help the oxygen reach the muscle systems. Warming up will activate a student's muscles, and will help with the connection between the nerves, and the muscles, and this can only result in a more effective movement system. Warm up drills in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are notorious for building up a core strength that all students need for a long term purpose. One of the most important factors of the warm up drills is that all of the movements replicate different scenarios that a student will face during a match. This is why repetition of these types of drills are evident in how vital they are for helping a student improve exponentially.

Drilling techniques during a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training session is another crucial element in building up a good game style. A common mistake that students will make is they will learn a technique, and only practice it two, or three times with their training partners, and then just wait for the next technique to be taught. Maximising time on the mats means to drill repeatedly, as many times as possible, and this is so the student not only has a comprehensive understanding of the technique, but can fluently use the movements they have been taught. This is the only way that a student will be able to utilise this movement in a real fight scenario. The drilling portion in a BJJ training session can also help students that are fatigued, or injured, as they will commonly not want to roll out of self preservation. So working on different techniques can still help them to improve their game style, even though they may be somewhat incapacitated.

Once a student has a decent understanding of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu they will begin to use their time wisely on the mats. This means that instead of always rolling to the submission they may ask their training partners to drill some of the techniques that they have learned. This may be to work on a move they are unsure of, or to enhance their ability to use a move they already know. Another important aspect is to use drilling games, as a way to improve their ability at different factors like passing the guard, sweeping an opponent, escaping from positions, executing submissions, or securing takedown maneuvers. Drilling different aspects of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is extremely important, and the students that put in the time will ultimately see the benefits.

WARMING UP FOR BJJ

Warm up drills in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be extremely daunting to a new student that first walks in the academy doors. Quite often a beginner is shy, and unsure if they are even capable of doing the warm ups. This is because the warm ups have intricate movements that use dexterity, flexibility, tenacity, and core strength. It usually takes a while before a beginner can build up their attributes to a level where they feel comfortable to execute all of these specific warm up drills. Usually the warm ups will begin with dynamic movements like light running, side stepping, and hip rotations, this is so the student can get the blood flowing. Once the student is warm, they can move into some static stretching just to limber up and activate their muscles. 

The next phase of the warm ups involves a more strenuous series of movements. This includes warming up the legs, and the knees, by doing dynamic leg exercises like lifting the legs up and down, side to side, and circling them to warm up the joints. The neck is also warmed up extensively by moving it up and down, side to side, and circling it. Usually this workout will also incorporate core strengthening exercises like crunches, sit ups, side sit ups, hip raises, and other specifically targeted core movements. All of these types of workout exercises will differentiate depending on which academy a student trains at, and because most instructors will have their own strategic systems, and their own ideology that they follow.

The last part of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu warm up will consist of line drills, and these are specifically functional exercises that mimic certain aspects within the BJJ arsenal. These drills include push up walks, crocodile walks, level changing knee walks, bear crawls, forward rolls, backward rolls, granby rolls, hip escapes, hip inserts, sit throughs, and break falls. Some instructors will implement bjj partner drills like inverting, and moving from one leg to the other, or going through a sequence of positional controls in a fluent motion. No hands arm bars are a good drill, as they can help to develop a student's understanding of the different body movements needed to execute this type of submission. There are other drills like pummeling, which is a stand up contest where two students will fluently practise their entries into the under hook, as they battle for a body lock control. Students can also utilise arm dragging drills, where they will practise entries into different takedowns.

CAN YOU DRILL ALONE

Drilling techniques in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is always better with a real life training partner, but this may not always be possible. Doing jiu jitsu drills at home can be highly effective, if the student knows what drills are beneficial. There are many different solo drills that can help a student master their craft, when they are away from their training academy. Training with functional movements specifically designed for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is far more effective than the tedious, run of the mill weightlifting workouts. Utilising drills like the rock and lift, enables a student to rock back and forth, while kicking their legs up in the air. This is a good way to practise a student's lift for their sweeping capabilities. This drill can be even more evolved, as the student will rock back and forth, and begin using the s-sit by bringing their shin across their body, while shooting their other leg backwards. 

Using the rope pull drill is another highly effective method of solo drilling. This technique is similar to the s-sit, but instead of shooting their leg backwards they will use it to step forward planting it on the mat in front of them, as they use their hands to pull a pretend rope. This drill will help students to be able to get up off the mat during matches. Escaping the hips, or hip shrimps are crucial to any student's game style, and this is a great solo drill which is used to escape from side control, or the mount, and will help students regain their guard more effectively. Students can also use a reverse hip shrimp, which is called a hip insert, and this is the other half of the hip escape. Traditionally a student will use a hip shrimp to escape from a control position, and then use the hip insert to thread their legs into a guard position. Combining these two elements as a solo drill can help a student build up a fundamental defensive base they can rely on.

Rolling is always a great solo drill and a student can incorporate both forward, and backwards rolls into their workout routines. Using rolling in a real grappling situation, will always help a student escape out of danger, or roll into an advantageous position. Granby rolls are also extremely important, and a student will fall sideways onto their shoulder, before activating their core, and lifting up into an inversion position, before rolling across their shoulders, and back over into a seated position. This technique is crucial to learn if a student wants to be able to execute technical movements from an inverted position. It is also important to learn, so that when a student is stacked onto their neck, they are comfortable enough to escape from the danger. Having a good inverted position also means that it becomes increasingly hard for an opponent to pass the student's guard, and the granby roll is the beginning of this evolution.

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IMPORTANT DRILLS TO WORK ON

There are a multitude of different drills that students need to learn, and working with a training partner will only fast track a student's growth in the sport. Beginners will commonly seek out other beginners to drill with, but if they have the courage to ask a higher belt, then they will only reap the benefits. Drilling with a higher belt will benefit a student extensively, and this is because of the knowledge, and experience that they have. Rolling to the submission is not always the most effective use of a student's time on the mats, so they should be utilising certain drills that can help them learn faster, and get more repetition in. The sweeping and passing drill is great for this, as it requires two students, one to start in the closed guard, or the open guard, and the other to start in a top position. The guard player will only try to sweep their training partner, while the top game player will work on passing the guard. When either student achieves their objective, they will reset, and start again. This type of drill is extremely versatile, and will help a student build exceptional skills at a faster rate, and it also takes a considerable amount of energy, so they are not short of high intensity training.

This drilling method is a great resource for all students, and there are many different versions that can be applied to their training systems. Students could use a maintaining mount, and an escaping back to guard game, or they could even pick a submission, and lock it on their training partners, as they look to defend and escape the position. There is an unlimited amount of drills that can be utilised by students, and all they need is to think outside the box a little, and have faith in the process. Students could even pick just one submission, and roll with the aim to only attempt that submission. The beauty of this drill is the opponent knows what is coming and can work extensively on defending, and escaping, and the student will learn how to efficiently master their submission, even when their opponent knows what's coming.

DRILLING TECHNIQUES 

One of the most important factors of training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is drilling techniques. All Jiu Jitsu instructors will have a technique portion of their class, where the instructor will teach a few different techniques. Students of the art will pair up and practice these techniques, as the instructor walks around the mat and helps each individual pair. A good academy will usually have more than one instructor, whether that is more than one black belt, or other lower ranked belts like brown belts, or purple belts helping out. One of the common mistakes that students will make is they will only practice techniques a few times, rather than putting in an extra effort of work. Students that understand these principles will go further in the art, and become more in tune with how the flow of Jiu Jitsu should go.

Jeff Glover is a legend on the BJJ scene and he's joining forces with BJJFanatics.com to share the drills that helped him sharpen his grappling skills!

jiu jitsu drills

An important concept about drilling techniques is not to go too far down the rabbit hole. This means that because of the complexity of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, one maneuver can lead to a countermeasure, and then that can lead to another countermeasure, and on and on it goes. It is important to stick to the technique they have been taught, and learn that aspect fundamentally, before they expand too far. Learning a specific technique will always have other avenues of variation, and ways to defend, and it is important to know how to link all these techniques together. Good instructors will teach a series of movements that flow together, rather than one specific technique that has no link to the next technique. Because of the availability of online content there are many techniques that students can find, and drill. The most important factor is for each student to stick to their belt rank when they are learning techniques, for example a white belt should not be trying to berimbolo into a leg entanglement position if they are lacking in the fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu like breaking a guard, or passing the guard.

If you enjoyed this piece, consider checking:

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