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Getting the most out of your training routine



I’ve heard it said that with training, like anything else, quality is always more important than quantity.  But how does one get the highest quality training?  There are some methods that will help you make sense of the techniques you learn on a day by day basis and help you get more out of your training.

From what I’ve seen, most classes give us anywhere between one and 4 techniques, followed by a brief drilling session with that technique(s), and then there is time to roll.  The best way to incorporate a new technique into your repertoire of techniques is to really absorb and understand it.  Here’s a method that I’ve found that really helps me absorb new techniques:

  1. Make time to drill the technique(s) of the day.   If you really want to incorporate a technique into your game find a way to drill that technique either after class or before class the next time.  Maybe incorporate it into a sequence (for example if you learned a guard passing method, make a drill out of passing the guard using that method, then recovering the guard, then hitting a subsequent sweep, recovering guard and hitting the pass again etc…)  The more you actually functionally do a technique the better you will be at that technique.
  2. Taking step 1 a step further, once you feel confident with a technique, have your training partner start GENTLY resisting it.  By this I mean 50-75 percent resistance, they’re still accepting that the technique is going to happen but they’re not going to go easily.  The purpose of this is to feel where a technique can go wrong.  I always say: if I don’t know how a technique can be broken, I will be surprised when someone breaks it.  Encourage your training partners to try to break techniques with which you are already comfortable.
  3. Once you’ve become comfortable with a technique and know how it can be broken, try hitting it on people who are not on your level while live rolling.  This is a good use of newer white belts.  See how the technique works against them in live rolling, to get a feel for how someone with a lack of prior understanding will address the technique.  This isn’t a way for you to “bully” the lower ranks, merely a way for you to further ingrain a technique into your rolling patterns.  Do this a few times with a few different training partners…
  4. Try to hit these techniques on who are at an equal or higher level than you while live rolling.  If it works, you have successfully made a technique part of your game.  If you have perfect technique you can tell the other person exactly what you are about to do to them, do it in slow motion and they STILL won’t be able to stop you.

More important than learning new techniques is trying to learn the fundamental concepts behind each technique.  Very often when we learn new techniques we miss out on what makes the technique work, and understanding what makes a technique work both improves our likelihood of hitting the technique while competing/rolling as well as our chances of defending against it.

Learning these concepts is not as easy as it sounds.  Perhaps the most effective way to learn the concepts behind a technique is to figure out what the technique’s most crucial flaws are.  This is not something that you should do when you’re still initially learning the technique (In other words don’t do it in the middle of the class in which you are learning the technique.)  After you’ve drilled a technique to where you know it and can hit it while rolling, go back to the beginning and slow the technique down while drilling.  When you’ve slowed it down, ask your training partner to try to find their way out at each turn of the technique, analyze what available attacks you have off of their defense.  For every offensive maneuver there is a defensive one, and vice versa.  Just because a move can be defended doesn’t mean it’s not a good move.

A major aspect of any technique is how it prevents your opponent or training partner from using good athletic movements.  Maybe you over extend a limb, maybe you compress part of them in such a way that they can’t force their way out.  Learn these details of any technique and you will have learned the concepts behind that technique.

This is just a short explanation of a couple of methods that can be used to get the most out of your training.  What are some other methods you’ve found that are helpful?


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