Be honest – how often are you actually in the habit of drilling on regular basis? Drills are a huge part of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and there is an actual good reason for that. In fact, there are several good reasons for employing a BJJ drill (or 14) into your weekly training schedule. The problem with Jiu-Jitsu drills, though, is that people do not like to do them. The moment you try rolling, you get hooked to the adrenaline rush of chaotic “fighting for your life”. Once you know that is in store, you are less likely to really focus on repetitive motions in the form of drills during training. Well, it is something you have to do, so you better try and find a way!
Training by incorporating drills is not just a methodology that is common to BJJ. It is something that has been used for ages in other combat sports, and particularly grappling martial arts. Even in BJJ, drilling is something that has proven to be important and effective from the early days of the sport, all the way to the modern days. However, there is a catch – ask someone to do a BJJ drill for an extended period of time and you will either get excuses after a while or a sloppy, slacking version of what that drill should look like. That, in turn, leads to ineffective drilling which basically equates to time wasted.
The BJJ Drill To Kill Philosophy
The BJJ Drill To Kill philosophy is something everyone has heard of. Coaches are repeating it, there are youtube videos titled like that, and there are even entire books that focus on that methodology. And yet, people simply hate to do drills. That has to do a lot with the repetitive nature of drills, but also the way coaches portray them.
In most cases, people approach a BJJ drill like any other sports drill in any other sport. You set up with a partner, you clearly define what you will do, and if there is going to be any amount of controlled resistance, and then you go. The idea is to do as many repetitions as is humanly possible. The goal is to develop a “knack” for the movement, i.e. muscle memory by repeating it so much it becomes second nature. In certain cases in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, drilling like this does make sense and can be just as effective as it is boring.
While drilling does help you with movement patterns, it won’t do you much good in BJJ if you only do it that way. The other person when you roll or fight will not behave the way you like. In fact, you can be certain of two things – they will try to oppose you, and they will very rarely if ever move or be still like your drilling partner. That doesn’t mean that drills won’t work and that we shouldn’t do them. WE should just perhaps re-organize the ways in which w set them up so that we get maximum efficiency as a result.
Drill Smart, Drill Hard, Drill Fast
The one thing that really does kill the desire to do drills among students is when coaches presenting them like teachers present tasks in primary school. Whenever someone says you have to do something that is boring, even if you know it is good for you, you will resist doing it properly. Everyone knows drilling is important but nobody want to do BJJ drill after BJJ drill in a repetitive and boring fashion, So, you have several options
First off, you can turn drills into controlled resistance kind-of-sparring rounds. People have a task to do and get to play around as well. next, you could opt for scenario-type drills that include both training partners. Alternatively, you could organize speed drills. These types of drills will save you time, keep people engaged and still yield measurable and obvious results.
#1. Swingin’s Armbars
First up, a BJJ drill you probably know pretty well. From closed guard, you set up so that your partner’s arms are gripping your collars. Your partner should have their arms extended and grip firmly – they are your pivot point. The goal for you is to open your guard and swing one leg so that you use the momentum to spin sideways and end up in an armbar position. then, you use your other leg and immediately swing to the other side, relying on momentum to keep going.
#2. Kimura Situps
This is a pretty straightforward and simple BJJ drill. Your partner will have their arms on either side of your hips, while in your closed guard. Your task is to sit up while twisting, looking to establish a quick Kimura grip on one arm, before going back on the ground and preparing the same thing on the other side. The goal is to keep alternating sides without rest for an allotted period of time.
#3. Koala Sweep Situps
This is a highly interesting drill and that I doubt anyone will grow bored of. Basically, it involves you sitting up from open guard, and going straight into a koala sweep configuration with your legs, posting with the arm, and tightly gripping one of your opponent’s legs. It is a highly useful BJJ drill to develop coordination and speed in executing this sweep, ora follow up single leg takedown.
#4. Swinging Ashi Garami (Single Leg X)
Leg locker or open guard player, this BJJ drill is a must! It is one of the core drills that even Danaher himself teaches to leg lockers. Your task is simple – get into an Ashi Garami from the bottom, against a standing partner (AKA Single Leg X Guard) and make sure you have grips on both ankles or the bottom rim of both Gi pants. The mechanics work similarly to the armbar from the closed guard drill and are based on the momentum you generate when swinging from side to side.
#5. Bolo Is Life
One for all the Berimbolo and inversion lovers out there. Start off in a De La Riva guard with your partner standing with their legs wide apart. Your goal is to do a Granby roll. During the full inversion moment of the movement, your aim is to place both your feet between the partner’s knees. This will help anchor you during the full Bolo, helping you end up in a De la Riva on the other side. And yes, this drill will help your Imanari rolls too, if you prefer leg locking to Bolo-ing around.
#6. Shrimp Recovery
One of the movements you will do every time you step on the mats, guaranteed. As a bonus, this is a speed BJJ drill where your partner needs to actively engage as well, which makes it both fun and challenging. Your partner will be looking to drag both your ankles to one side, stepping to pass your guard. Yoru’s goal is to frame with the arms (an arm on each shin), shrimp away, and use your leg to recover open guard.
#7. Double Leg Drag
As far as speed drills in Jiu-Jitsu go, this one, along with the following BJJ drill are pretty much the “A” and “B” of drilling guard passes. Your opponent will be on their back, legs bend at the knees, and ankle raised off the ground. Your goal is to place strong grips on the Gi pants, mid-level at the shin, and use them to drag both legs to one side of your body, as you side step to the other. The word “speed” is actually imperative here and not just a description!
#8. Single Leg Drag
The single leg drag works pretty much like the double on, but you’re focusing on only one leg. This one is a bit more complex, and you should really master the double leg version first, in order to really make this one count. You will only be able to move to one side when doing repetitions, so plan that you will need double the time to cover both legs.
#9. Toreando Movement Drilll
The Torreando pass is one of the most utilized passes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Not many people realize that it is the initial movement that pins both legs to the ground that makes or breaks this pass. that is precisely why the Torreando pass BJJ drill focuses on this portion only. The starting position is the same as with the double leg drag, only you will aim to plant both feet of your opponent firmly on the ground. You then use this position as a p[ivot to shift your entire body sideways, thus getting into the perfect angle to pass.
#10. X Pass Flow Drill
Another BJJ Drill that requires you to turn your brain on and can be challenging, thus making it interesting. The X pass requires you to do some funky side to side and then front footwork in order to get past the legs. The starting position is the same as the other drills above, and the ending position is knee-on-belly. A highly useful ability to develop with this drill si going backward from knee-on-belly so that you can switch to the other side and keep the drill flowing.
#11. Shin Pins
Simple is best, and that is true for both guard passing and setting drills up. In this case, you’re aiming to cross your handstand grip at ankle level and inside the knee. As you do, you will both pin the shin of your partner to the ground, and pivot your body to the side to get a passing angle. Basically, this is an application of the monkey solo BJJ drill.
#12. Side Control Retention
One of the hardest things about side control top is staying in control. For this drill, you start in top-side control, and your partner will turn into you looking to underhook you with their far arm. Your task is to sue their movement to switch sides. First up, you’ll press their head into the ground so that you block their initial movement. Then you use the same grip as a pivot point as you move your legs in a semi-circle over their head ending up in side control on the other side. Similar to the shrimp recovery drill, this one requires your partner to actively participate at all times.
#13. Knee On Belly Switch
Very similar to the previous BJJ drill, only done from the knee-on-belly position. Your partner’s tas is to turn towards you, trying to push the knee of their belly. You will use that movement to step over their head, and use a backstepping motion with the other leg to end up behind them. As they turn to their back to avoid back control, you jump straight into knee on belly, and the drill can continue to flow.
#14. Hop Over Pass
A very amusing and challenging BJJ drill to do, but an extremely useful one against people that are wizards at guard recovery. You star at one side of your partner’s hip. You will place the top of your head on the mats, using the near side arm to grip around the waist of your partner. Then you will balance on your head, skipping over with both legs on the opposite side. The head is going to follow so that you can drill in a flowing manner.
Speed drills are a great way of not getting bored with drilling while focusing on getting better at one of the most important reasons for doing BJJ drills in the first place – speed. Moreover, you don’t have to go for reps and there’s no time for partners to start talking during training. Simply introduce them into your warmups, or a special session of their own and set them up for a time.