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How To Flow In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
How To Flow In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
The concept of flowing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is often over looked. Many of us when we go to train think that it is all about fighting as hard as we can in order to get good at dominating an opponent and nailing a submission. But the high level professional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitors and teachers know that effective training is not simply all about training as hard as you can and being your best. Yes, there are times when it is right to roll hard and go beyond what you thought you were physically capable of. But there are equally important scenarios where a flow roll, or a more playful style, is the best approach. Ultimately, learning jiu jitsu comes down to learning how to be playful. Anyone can fight with jiu jitsu, but not everyone knows how to be playful with jiu jitsu. This is where the concept of flow rolling really comes into play.
Flow rolling can be one of the greatest tools for learning and exploring jiu jitsu. This is a perfect time to explore new technique and concepts. Flowing is the art of movement. By focusing on the movement during your flow rolls, you will dramatically improve your game.
So what exactly is flow rolling in the context of jiu jitsu? It is actually pretty simple. Flow rolling is a less aggressive, more playful style of rolling in which you try to synchronize your movement’s with your training partner’s movements. The idea behind flow rolling is to train the “flow state” of jiu jitsu. Flow state is when movements come out of instinct rather than making a conscious effort to perform a technique. Flow rolling is just as important as a hard roll. Most people think at only two levels: light roll, or a hard roll. But rolling is actually a gradient of different levels. You can still flow roll and use strength. Flow rolling is all about focused on quality of technique over dominance or aggression as you work towards hitting that flow state from any position you move into.
Flow rolling is not looking for the fastest submission either. Often times, when you watch two high level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu players flow roll, you will not even see a submission. Or if it is there, the BJJ player simply moves away from it, even allowing their partner to move into a more dominant position. Really the idea is to keep moving. You are exploring what movement patterns you know and finding new ones. This is part of what makes jiu jitsu fun! By being playful you are opening yourself up to the discovery process, in which you will either find new ideas or have moments of epiphany. I get excited just thinking about it! This is considered by many to be one of the best ways to develop your game.
Flow rolling is also a great way to expose weaknesses in your game. This is a concept that is often overlooked, especially by new and inexperienced BJJ players. A big part of learning jiu jitsu is accepting and acknowledging your mistakes. In jiu jitsu, you learn by failing… over and over again. There are lessons in your failures. It is a natural part of the learning process. To deny this would be absolute stupidity. Flow rolling not only opens you up to learning new moves, it opens you up to flaws in how you approach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or grappling in general. What’s great about a flow roll is that you can try the same thing multiple times in rapid succession. Struggling to pass the guard? Try it a few different ways to refine your technique. Flow rolling gives you the feeling of what works and what does not.
Let us take a look at Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu’s take on flow rolling. If you have been around the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu scene, you will already know that Cyborg is a man who needs no introduction. Roberto de Abreu Filho (also known as Cyborg) is a 5 times World Champion Ultra Heavy weight Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) fighter currently living in Miami United States. He grew up in rural Brazil and is affiliated with Nova Geracao. Abreu is active and highly competitive in BJJ, with multiple titles including gold medals at the 2010, 2011 and 2012 IBJJF No Gi World Championships. He also won the coveted ADCC Absolute title in 2013. Cyborg uses flow rolling his training to great advantage. Check out this video below.
Cyborg is infamous for is "flow" approach to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Cyborg always flows like water. Here, Cyborg discusses his philosophy on jiu jitsu flow. Check out the video below:
In conclusion, if you are not flow rolling you should be. Flow rolling has many benefits to add to your training routine and is the best way to learn to be “playful” with jiu jitsu. Remember, the way to have a long and healthy career in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is to learn how to be playful. Why risk suffering an injury from going hard all the time? Incorporate flow rolling into your training regimen to help with the longevity of your BJJ career. Use flow rolling to learn the flow state mind. And use flow rolling to be a great training partner! A lot of times you will find other training partner’s in class who would rather flow roll than have an aggressive match. This is a good thing! By agreeing to flow roll with your training partner, and actually doing it (rather than taking advantage of his ‘light roll’ and smashing his face to bits), you establish trusting, reliable partners to learn jiu jitsu with. The next time you find yourself training on the mats, do not be afraid to ask your partner to flow roll. It does not make you look weak, or lazy, so get over that if you truly feel that way. Knowing how to flow roll is a big part of being a good jiu jitsu student with a long career ahead of you.