Okay, it is officially a very weird time in our existence. While the entire world is acting like something out of a movie (with a good reason), most people that train BJJ never really worried much. Because, as long as you can go to BJJ, everything else is going to work out just fine. Well, the pandemic spread of the new Covid-19 Corona virus sure put a stop to that. Currently, there are very few BJJ academies that are open across the globe. I expect that to change soon too. While we’re not going to fall into a zombie apocalypse (hopefully), we have tough times ahead, times when we can’t go and do what we love the most – Jiu-Jitsu. However, all is not lost, with BJJ home drills coming to the rescue.
The current situation with this virus is no joke. People shouldn’t’ spend time together as hard as that might be for some of us. That effectively means that BJJ, in just about any form is completely out of the question. I guess this is the oen lat time when no-touch martial arts experts can make a few bucks. Jokes aside, the situation is serious, probably more because we can’t train, rather than because of the viral outbreak affecting the world. And, since training with a partner is completely out of the question, solo BJJ home drills are just about the last thing we have at our disposal. Luckily, there is a bunch of them to choose from, meaning the mandatory two weeks of isolation do not have to be boring at all.
Revisiting BJJ Drills
First, let’s see why we have to stay at home. In case you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a virus out there infecting almost everyone and killing quite a few people in the process. The virus is dangerous only to the elderly and chronically sick patients, but anyone can transmit it to them. So, currently, in order to protect ourselves, we are advised to use social distancing. That means staying at home unless absolutely necessary, not gathering in groups, and maintaining a safe distance between people at all times. In addition, all schools, gyms, theaters, malls, etc are closed down, and most travel is suspended. If we keep this up for a couple of weeks, we’ll end up on the other side of this outbreak, safe and ready for grappling.
In the meanwhile, though, our BJJ obsessed minds are having a hard time coping with the fact there’s no training. Apart from the first few days when our bodies were grateful for the rest, every minute until the end of isolation is going to be torture. But it doesn’t have to be. This is a great time to brush up on some much-needed BJJ drills.
When I come to think of it, drilling in BJJ is somewhat of a lost art. Apart from a few competition originated gyms, not many places in the world really dedicate time to drills. Particularly no when it comes to beginners, who I’d argue need BJJ drills the most.
Luckily, not all Jiu-Jitsu drills require a partner and an instructor to stand over you. It is quite easy to keep learning or polishing your Jiu-Jitsu even when you’re stuck at home. Moreover, you don’t even need mats to execute most of them, although having a mat area would be helpful. BJJ home drills are something you can do in the space you have available in our home and still ensure you keep learning and progressing in Jiu-Jitsu. After all, you can’t just watch BJJ DVD instructionals and not do anything.
BJJ Home Drills To Do In Isolation
What can you do when you’re stuck at home and there’s no one to drill with? BJJ home drills are the obvious answer, but how do you set them up? What kind of drills do you do? The first and obvious answer is that you’ll need to stick to solo BJJ drills unless you’re blessed to live with a significant other, or family member that trains. IN terms of how to set your drill up, the question is, what are you looking for from a drilling session? I’d suggest breaking things up in two major categories – specific technical drills, and conditioning drills. Organize them in separate days and you’ll easily avoid boredom until this outbreak is over and we can go back to choking people out.
First up, let’s talk about a few BJJ home drills that are really done solo. The first one you absolutely have to do is the hip escape. In an article in the future, I’ll explain why I think the hip escape is the only defensive movement you’ll ever need in JIu-Jitsu. For now, Just stick to your hip escapes. Do them with both legs, with e one leg, going on your shoulders, rolling away, etc. Basically, do every shrimp variation you know of.
Of course, the technical stand up, bridge and Granby roll are the trio that usually follows hip escapes. They’re all integral moves of Jiu-Jitsu and can be fun to drill, particularly if you organize them as a routine rather than going for reps on each.
Chair sits, standing guard openings, sit-outs, penetration steps, etc. come next. These are movements that help you obtain or maintain top position and can still be done as solo BJJ home drills. Once again, tying them with all the other basic drills is easy, leaving you with a very cool looking routine.
Finally, not being able to train with a partner doesn’t mean you can’t figure out how to do partner drills. Have a chair? Perfect, you don’t need anything else. You can use a chair to do loads of guard passing drills, like X-passes for example, and/or shin circles.
Furthermore, a stability ball, if you have one, will do you a world of good. Ther are so many BJJ specific drills you can do with one that you’ll most likely end up with an abundance of drills.
Of course, if you want to go crazy, you can always enlist the help of your dog for drilling as well. Yeah, dog Jitsu drills exist and they can be extremely fun!
Apart from BJJ specific drills, you can opt to go more down the conditioning road. If you haven’t got access to a spot with mats or a soft surface, you’ll probably better off doing more general BJJ home drills rather than hip escapes and break falls. Once again, there are plenty of options.
The best possible option, by far is Ginsastica Natural. There are many routines you can do, and the movements are a combination of gymnastics, BJJ movements, yoga and animal movements. It is a unique combination created by a Brazilian named Alvaro Romano, and something that Rickson used a lot in his fighting days.
Another, more laid back option is yoga. Yoga for BJJ comes in many varieties so you can actually choose which qualities you like to develop. From flexibility, through balance to isometric strength, yoga is the perfect way of moving through space in a similar fashion to\ BJJ, only without a partner.
Bodyweight conditioning yet another option for BJJ home drills. While both yoga and Ginastica Natural are done with just your own body weight, you can always go the more “traditional” route. Pushups, pull-ups, dips, squats, tumbles, handstands are just a few great exercises that you can organize any way you want in order to get a great workout.
Instructors Having The Last Laugh
The funniest thing about this viral outbreak (as serious as the situation is) is that people will finally start doing BJJ warm-ups. Instructors everywhere will be laughing as people finally turn to those same movements they’ve been trying to avoid so hard. From jumping jacks to bridge break falls with technical stand-ups, it seems there’s no hiding from BJJ warm-ups now that they’ve become the only way you can train Brazilian Jiu-JItsu.
I certainly hope that so much drilling (we do have at least a couple of weeks left of this insanity) will make people appreciate BJJ warm-ups even more. The alternative is that people will start hating them even more. In that case, we’ll have to start thinking of new and exciting ways to warm-up for class. Whichever way you look at it, it is positive!
The bottom line is, we need to stay safe during the Covid-19 outbreak. To achieve that, we need to stay at home. We should all follow the official guidelines and safety measures. However, as grapplers, we also need to keep our sanity. So, instead of going into a withdrawal crisis, get your daily dose of Jiu-JItsu by utilizing BJJ home drills. At least until we can get back on the mats again.