No Days Off: Improving Your Skills At Your Own Rate

The sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a tricky beast to tame.  For an art form that has been around for decades, it never seems to stay in the same place for too long.  Every year there is always a new technique, a new training method, a new grappler, etc. coming onto the scene, causing the BJJ world to take notice.

A progressive sport, it’s hard to truly stay on top of your Jiu Jitsu game on a monthly basis unless you are totaling some serious mat time throughout your week.  Missing even just one night at the gym can cause you to take a step back, while your teammates take a large bounding leap forward.

The importance of mat time can never be understated.  It’s where you sharpen your craft, and become better no matter how you look at it.  As a coach myself, I urge all of my students to make it to the gym every night they are scheduled too.  While it doesn’t happen with everyone, we do have a solid core group of guys that will make it to the gym no matter what.

Granted, by no means am I throwing dirt on those who can’t make it; things happen, and take you away from the mat, it’s understandable.  But for those nights—and we all have them—where making it to the gym isn’t practical, there is always a solution; solo drilling.



Fine Tuning Your Grappling Game

Even when we do get mat time, there are certain things we don’t get to pay much attention to for a few reasons.  When working on a move, it’s easy to think about the final product and getting the tap—or transition, pass, etc.—because it’s just the nature of the gym.  While it’s good to focus on the final product, it’s easy to look past the little details.

Without noticing, our hands may not be placed correctly, we could be leaving too much space between our opponent and us, the possibilities are endless.  At a live rate, it’s difficult to slow it down and focus on these details.

However, when drilling on your own, suddenly the move itself becomes more of what you want it to be.  The finish will be there, you know that, but now you can slow it down and really focus on the nitty-gritty details.

The fluidity of the movement becomes the top priority, allowing you to perfect the move. An example of one such move is the armbar and I demonstrate in this article how to drill it properly on a grappling dummy, another great solo drilling tool.

No Rest For The Wicked!

Overall, solo drilling is fantastic on many levels.  Not only does it keep you going, and in shape, but the all of a sudden the moves become much more effortless, and that transcends into live situations. I wrote an article on Science of about solo drilling that might interest you if you are serious about improving your BJJ game.

As everything begins to fall in place, the sport becomes that much more rewarding, and it’s even better knowing that you put the extra time and effort in to see the results.

Hard work pays off…so why take days off?  Get to training!

Dan Faggella

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