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Three Modes of Rolling

Three Modes of Rolling

Each Mode Has Its Place In Our Training...Know Them All

For most people, rolling is the most exciting and pleasing element of Jiu Jitsu. There is nothing more fun than rolling for an hour even though it is an exhausting task. In fact, many students attend more open mat sessions and skip normal class, although I don’t recommend this.


Rolling is also the best way to consolidate your improvement and attempt new techniques and transitions. It can provide physical feedback about what you are good at and what you need to improve on. With that being said, it is important to understand the different ways of rolling and what the benefits of each are.

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The first is what is commonly known as flow rolling. This light form of sparring is when two grapplers attack and defend at 10-20% capacity. This is a very fun exercise in testing one’s ability to transition quickly. Flowing is also helpful because you can add new techniques in while your partner is barely defending. If you are injured, this is probably the best way to roll.


The next level is moderate intensity rolling and this is pretty much the norm of what most grapplers do in a given rolling session. Grapplers give around 60-80% of their ability here and are more reluctant to allowing people to attack them. This is a great way to improve without having to exhaust one’s self fully but also try hard enough to simulate a competition.


Finally, the last level of rolling is full blown hard rolling. Here, grapplers will give 100% of what they have every match to the death. This form of grappling isn’t for everyone, but it’s necessary for those who wish to be successful competitors and competent in self-defense scenarios. It is probably not recommended that one does this all year long as our bodies need time to recover.


The three levels of rolling, light, moderate, and hard, all have their time in place. They all need to be performed but appropriately depending on the circumstances. One should always be wary that the person they are rolling with is in agreement on the level. If one grappler getting ready for a tournament goes 100% against an injured student wanting to flow roll, it would lead to a bad situation, so always be judicial of who you are rolling with.

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