Drilling: How To Get the Most Out Of It

Drilling is a common method for learning and refining techniques in jiu jitsu. While drilling is not complicated, there are a few concepts and fundamental aspects that once understood, will help you get the most out of it. Here are a few suggestions I would make based on my own experience.

When you are the one drilling the technique:

Ask questions and make sure you’re getting it right. The way you drill a move is the way you will execute it when rolling. Don’t drill bad technique. If you’re confused about a move or sequence, ask your coach for clarification. Ask your training partner for feedback.

Use proper positional fundamentals when setting the move up. If your drilling a back take starting from half guard knee shield position. Make sure your knee shield is strong and you’re using good frames so as not to get flattened out. In live rolling you’ll never pull the move off if you’re constantly smashed and flattened out every time you’re in bottom half guard.

Finish the move. If you are drilling a sweep, don’t settle for just knocking your training partner off his base, follow through until you are in a dominant position. If you’re drilling a pass continue until you’ve secured side control or knee on belly and are setting up the next transition or submission. If finishing the move is not a part of your drilling, you will find yourself constantly in live rolling “almost” getting the sweep or pass.

Experiment and pay attention to detail. Let’s look at the scissor sweep. Will gripping the sleeve at the wrist or elbow work best for you? When gripping the sleeve at the wrist, does a pistol grip, or a pocket grip work best for you? Does it work best for you to have you shin across your partner’s torso parallel to the floor, at a 45-degree angle, or something in between? These are just some of the details of one move that need to be looked at and experimented with. Drilling gives you the best opportunity to do this.

When playing the role of Uke, or, “the one who receives the technique”

Apply the appropriate amount of resistance. The only thing worse than having a training partner simply fall over before you’re even half way through setting up a sweep is when they go into full lockdown “you’ll never sweep me” mode. Initially you should apply enough resistance that your partner must do the technique correctly but no more. As you progress and train with more experience training partners the level of resistance will increase slightly.

Think about your defense and counters. The key here is think about your defense and counters. You are not actually trying to prevent your partner from completing the move or counter them. At a bare minimum, when your training partner drills a sweep or pass, assume the correct defensive posture including frames and hand positions as they complete the move.

Provide some feedback for your training partner. I never presume I’m qualified to tell others (especially those at, or above, my rank) how to do jiu jitsu, but I’m more than comfortable providing simple feedback like “when you gripped behind my elbow I felt like the technique was stronger than when you grabbed my sleeve at the wrist”.

This is not an exhaustive list or a list of the most important…. It’s just a list of things worth considering to help you get more out of drilling.

Train hard. Train smart. Get better. 

By Joe Thomas Find more articles by Joe Thomas here

Production Now and Production Long Term


Recently while listening to Steven Covey’s audio book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People I was introduced to the concept of P/PC Balance, or Production/Production Capacity balance. The idea is that we need to strike a balance between the amount of energy and focus we put into production right now, and the amount of energy and focus we invest in doing the things it takes to ensure we will continue to see production in the future.
In business, it is necessary to invest in capital improvement, employee compensation, training, surplus inventory, etc. One could shift their focus entirely to production, ignoring the need to reinvest and restock inventory, and for a short period see a dramatic increase in production and profit. This of course, would ultimately lead to the failure of the business.
This concept is applicable to almost any pursuit in life including Jiu-Jitsu. There are things you can focus on to see results right now ie. going to class, attending seminars, participating in tournaments, studying video, etc. and then there are things off the mat outside of the dojo that must be attended to for continued progress in Jiu-Jitsu long term. There must be a balance between these two areas of focus.
Maybe the most important off the mat investments we can make is in the maintenance of our bodies. One does not have to be a health nut or stud athlete to be good a Jiu-Jitsu–but if you do not take care of your body, your pursuit of Jiu-Jitsu will inevitably come to an unfortunate end. Spending additional time and money on quality food and meal preparation will not make you better at Jiu-Jitsu today and spending an extra hour a week stretching/doing yoga will not make you better at Jiu-Jitsu today… but these are the kinds of investments that will allow you to pursue Jiu-Jitsu long term. Also, along these lines, when it comes to training Jiu-Jitsu sometimes less is more. Training 5 plus days a week will most likely result in rapid gains–but for many of us it will also result in over training which leads to nagging ongoing overuse injuries, fatigue, and burnout.
For many people, having your family in your corner is a key element in the long-term pursuit of Jiu-Jitsu. I know that’s true for me. My kids are grown, but I still value and need the support of my wife. I strategically choose which classes I’m going to attend so as not to be taking away too much time from her. I could just go to class whenever I wanted with no regards to her, but it would only take a few weeks before I got the “it’s me or Jiu-Jitsu” ultimatum. It’s easy to jokingly say “I sure will miss her”, but the reality is my Jiu-Jitsu would be, at least temporarily, derailed. So making sure that she gets the time she needs is ultimately an investment in my ability to progress on the mats long term.
I’ve seen young people struggle to balance their pursuit of education and career with their pursuit of Jiu-Jitsu. I’ve known a few who put some things on hold to train Jiu-Jitsu. That might be fine if you’re one of the few people who have a legitimate shot at being a top-level competitor or successful gym owner. But for most of us, Jiu-Jitsu will be a lifelong part time hobby that requires ongoing financial investment. Putting your career or education before Jiu-Jitsu now may put you in a position in 10 years to comfortably afford to travel for tournaments, attend seminars, and take private lessons with high-level instructors.
Each person’s Jiu-Jitsu Journey is different. The off the mat investments that you need to make may be completely different than mine, but the fact remains, you will need to invest in “production capacity” if you want to continue to see “production” or progress.

Read more great articles by Joe Thomas here

Epi 31 Developing Talent with Daniel Coyle

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesand Stitcher radio

Daniel Coyle Talent Code

Daniel Coyle is a New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code and The Little Book of Talent.  He is one of the leading authorities on developing talent.  He may not be a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but his ideas about how to practice can help you understand how you learn.  The methods he has found could help catapult your game to the next level and beyond.

We start off with these basic definitions:

Talent Hotbed– A place that has an unusual amount of extraordinary performers.  These places can be studied and we can learn about their different training techniques.

Muscle Memory– This is a not a real thing, all your muscle is controlled from your brain.  Muscle has no memory.

Myelin– When you build new skills they are insulated by a myelin sheath.  This sheath gets thicker as you practice and push yourself.  The thicker it becomes the faster and easier your connections become.

Deep Practice– This is the sweet spot when you are putting a lot of myelin between your connections.  People who continually put their selves in a deep practice learn quickly.  An example of this would be sparring with someone who is a little better than you.

 

We talk about:

  • The class structure of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • The difficulty of learning in a group setting
  • The learning environment that is created by leaving your ego at the door
  • Having the high intensity of a BJJ workout with a safe environment is a great place to grow
  • The best way to give feedback is to ask questions
  • Why it is important to design a training environment that forces people to ask questions
  • The large benefits to all of the students of having colored belts help teach techniques
  • Why you should be careful about the 10,000 hours rule
  • Quality of training is far more important than quantity
  • Why in some of the talent hotbeds they don’t spend all day practicing
  • The Bruce Lee quote “I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times.”
  • How YouTube has effected learning BJJ for good and bad
  • The better you get the more important the fundamentals become
  • Building fundamentals is like building a tree in your brain.  Make the trunk of the tree strong, so you can add things on to the tree.  With a strong trunk you can add things quickly and easily.
  • The survival zone, and why no learning happens in this zone
  • Some advice for a student who is competing for the first time
  • What is going on the mind of a top competitor?  Turns out that it is not much
  • The science of group success is a project he is currently working on keep your eyes open for this my friends

 

Quote of the week– “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle.  This quote was presented by Ryan Hall.  If you missed Ryan’s interview with us it can be found here. Episode 30.  In an amazing coincidence this quote is in the first few pages of Daniel Coyle’s book The Little Book of Talent.

Article of the week “Starting BJJ: What to Expect on your First Class”.  From Grapplearts.com

SponsorFujisports.com If you are looking for a great first gi you cannot go wrong with the AllAround Gi.  It is a high quality gi and has a very good price.  Save 10% off your purchase at Fujisports.com with the coupon code “BJJBrick”

Links

Daniel Coyle’s website

The Talent Code

The Little Book of Talent