10/8/08

Jiu-Jitsu Flow Drill

At Roseberry’s, we’ve always called this “Slow Jiu-Jitsu,” but it’s really more widely known as a flow drill. It’s utilized in various sports to help with movement, timing, breathing and numerous other reasons depending on the sport.

For Jiu-Jitsu, one of the main reasons I use it is to teach students how to move in order to better understand body mechanics. The drill helps one in understanding how to move their own body, as well as understanding how their partner’s body moves.

It’s not about strength or speed. It’s about utilizing proper techniques and movements. It’s a cooperative effort between you and your partner. When you feel your partner off-balancing you, you go with the flow. When you off-balance and sweep or reverse your partner, he goes with the flow.

While performing at this pace, without forcing a position, neither you nor your partner will be able to apply a submission. You can momentarily establish the hold, but there’s no application. You simply transition out of it and continue with the drill. Another method is to flow without any holding whatsoever.

This is a fantastic way to teach students how to not use their strength. As it is with many new students, this is a huge obstacle to overcome. When I first begin to teach a new student how to do slow Jiu-Jitsu, they often seem a bit perplexed. However, it doesn’t take too many sessions before they begin to realize the benefits of this type of practice.

Slow Jiu-Jitsu helps you to understand how to regulate your breathing. It teaches you how to think through various positions. Imagine if the only way you learned Jiu-Jitsu was to take part in the typical class, watching the demonstration and then drilling the movement. Then you move on to the next demonstration and kick out the reps. Next you’re on to live grappling, fending for yourself in trying to put all the movements and techniques in the right place. Now imagine a period of time dedicated to slow Jiu-Jitsu. This is where the real learning begins for many students.

The flow drills help them work through difficult problem areas, such as how to transition or escape. Sometimes I think of it as simple line of code, if this then that. What happens when I move this way? Am I blocked simply because my partner’s body is in the way or is this the correct path? If I move this way, will I affect my partner’s balance? If I push or pull or roll or tuck or extend, how does this affect my movement or my partners? What avenues of escape are available to me from various positions? The possibilities are endless.

When first learning how to practice slow Jiu-Jitsu, one student may be using strength, simply because he doesn’t quite understand the concept just yet. I’ll just tap on them and remind them to dial it back. Some students pick it up right away, while others need more time to feel comfortable with it.

As usual, I’m including a video with a nice flow drill demonstration to give you a better understanding of the concept.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - CHAMPIONS - Monteirao and De La Riva

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