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The Power of Drilling



There are several popular sayings in jiu jitsu about drillers being killers. The reality is that even if you yourself are not a fan of drilling techniques, you can’t deny that some of the biggest, baddest names in the sport of jiu jitsu avidly drill their techniques. They do it sometimes in lieu of rolling, and the affect is tremendous.

What makes drilling so powerful? How does drilling help the budding jiujiteiro take their game to the next level? Here are 5 reasons to drill your favorite techniques, positions and concepts…

1.Drilling fosters muscle memory. When you do the same move over and over again, you begin to naturally find that move when you are near the position from which you most commonly drill it. The more you drill the more you’ll understand the ins and outs of a move, but you need to do more than just drill the move. You need to go for it when you’re rolling. Simply drilling without going for a move while rolling will not yield great results.
2.A way to keep you training. If you’re anything like me, you try to train as often as possible. And while this is great for your jiu jitsu, it may not feel so good in the morning. Every day. Drilling is a fantastic alternative to hard live rolling that gives us an opportunity to practice the techniques we want to get better at without the rigors of standard hard rolling.
3.It fosters creativity. Drilling doesn’t have to mean merely doing the same move over and over again. A creative driller will find new and fun ways to drill techniques, positions and concepts and can make drilling a fun part of the training regimen. Don’t let your drills be boring, instead find new and fun ways to make them interesting. Work with your training partner to devise different methods, look up fancy low percentage moves online and drill those, just have fun with it.
4.Drilling exposes weaknesses. When you roll, you will naturally seek to do things that you are good at doing. When you drill, you can focus on things you are not necessarily good at doing and find out just how not good at them you actually are. Once you’ve exposed what you’re not good at, you can use drilling to get better at it. It’s kind of the opposite of a vicious cycle. It’s a positive cycle, drill, expose weaknesses, drill to improve on those weaknesses, then expose new weaknesses.
5.Drilling gives you a way to train with people who are not as good as you. There is nothing more frustrating for the new guy than to get torn up rolling day in and day out. Drilling is one way to mutually improve your game AND the other person’s game. It’s a way for people who are starting to understand jiu jitsu to help out people who are not quite there yet. Simply being a good dummy for a drill helps teach someone the right things to do.

Drilling isn’t for everyone. There are other kinds of learning methods like conceptual rolling, flow rolling, situational rolling and others, but if you haven’t tried drilling yet you’re possibly missing out on a very potent tool in the jiu jitsu hardware store. Many of the best in the world drill on a very regular basis because it has brought their games to where they are now.

For best results find a training partner who is of a similar body composition (height and weight) who understands how to drill, and start coming up with methods and game plans for drilling routines. Once you start to feel confident in drilling as a training method start teaching other people how to do it. I would argue that no single move, technique or concept is more important than the understanding of how to drill.

Perhaps one of the best techniques to drill is guard passing. Because of the nature of the guard, the only way to get really good at passing is to drill it on a regular basis. Check out this video of Bernardo Faria teaching a guard pass

If you like Bernardo Faria’s game you should check out his 4 DVD set in which he covers his favorite submissions. Try them out and incorporate them into your drilling routine!


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