What’s The Best Type Of BJJ Training?

If you could create the optimum training experience, what would it be like?  Would you roll all the time?  How much of the time would you spend repping techniques?

I will list several different training methods and list their benefits and weaknesses:

1.  Repetition of a technique and variations:

You have to do this when you learn a new technique.  Very few have the visual memory to see a technique and pull it off in live rolling without ever having repped it.  The drawback is this training does not develop one of the most important aspects of Jiu-Jitsu: timing.

2.  Repetition with resistance and flowing into variations of the technique, or counters to their counters:

In my opinion, this is one of the best methods of training.  People that do this often become very good.  People that don’t would be much better if they did it!

The drawback is that you are focusing so strongly on one aspect of your practice that you are not spending time on the other areas.  Rolling is in one sense a review.  In a 5 minute match you may find easily yourself in 10 different positions.

3.  Regular rolling with someone lower rank than you.

This develops your offense, and is a great opportunity to try techniques that you are not as proficient with.  It also builds confidence.  If there is a large difference in skill level, there are less injuries.  If your game lacks relaxation and flow, this type of training will develop it.

The drawback of this are that you won’t develop great defense.  And a lot of this type of training can develop arrogance / false confidence.

4. Rolling with someone higher rank.

Develops your defense, but will not help your offense.  It can hurt student’s confidence, except when they see over time that it takes their partners longer to tap them.  It is also good because you will be exposed to more advanced techniques, and you’ll have a lot of  correct behaviors modeled for you.  One of the most important is the ability to stay relaxed and explode when necessary.  You will learn this without even realizing it.  You will feel your advanced partner doing it.

5. Rolling with people close to your level:

This is an important type of training but there are the most injuries here than anywhere else because there is a constant fight for position and submission.

All of these types of training have their place.  And in an average night, depending on your rank and what school you are in, you will probably roll with someone below your level, at, and above your level.  You will probably rep techniques and depending on the teacher, you may rep with some or full resistance.

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In part 2 I will reveal what is in my opinion, the absolute best type of training.


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