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What’s More Beneficial? The 6-minute round Or the Marathon Roll?

What’s More Beneficial? The 6-minute round Or the Marathon Roll?


It’s that time again. Class is over, the mat is open, and we’re scanning for partners to continue our training with. The live training portion of our BJJ session is always something we look forward to. It may give us a little anxiety at times, but that’s good for you. Feeling those feelings and overcoming them is a healthy process. But how are we spending this time? Do you prefer to take part in several rounds, or are you a marathon roll BJJ player?

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In my earlier days of training I almost always preferred the marathon method of live training. I’d grab a partner (most of the time, a familiar one) and we’d roll for sometimes 45 minutes to an hour. As I progressed in my training and became influenced by higher level practitioners, I started to lean towards the idea of multiple 6-minute rounds, to vary the situations I was putting myself in.

What’s better?

Ultimately, it’s your choice, but here are some things you’ll to keep in mind. When you consistently roll marathon rounds, you tend to rehash the same situations over and over again. You may find yourself stuck in a loop. This can be helpful when trying to solve a particular puzzle, but can also become mundane and unproductive. This is especially true if you are consistently conducting your marathon rounds with the same person. I do find however that the idea of extended rolls will assist you in cultivating better endurance, and it will teach you to control your breathing, in order to last the duration of the encounter. But alas, this also may be the biggest detriment of this type of training. It creates no urgency. I’ve heard Professor Tom DeBlass speak about the 30 second rule. If you’re in a position for more than 30 seconds with no results, it’s time to move on. Think about how many of those 30 second chances you can squander, and turn into 3-5-minute opportunities to rest and stall during a marathon session.

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6-minute rounds, or something in the vicinity do not allow for any laziness or inaction. 6 minutes isn’t an eternity, but if used correctly allows for plenty of time to work. It creates this important sense of urgency to get things done. This will also allow you to make your way through several training partners. Over the course of an hour, you’ll encounter different skill levels, sizes, levels of intensity, and various styles. All of these factors can be incredibly beneficial to your progression.

In conclusion, I believe that shorter rounds with multiple partners should make up the bulk of your live training. Most of my marathon rounds these days happen organically, and when they do I really enjoy them, but I prefer them to be a less frequent part of my live training. Make your way through the crowd and gain experience with the shorter rounds, but don’t ignore the marathon roll completely, throw one in every now and again for a different live training experience!

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