You could understand the mechanic and know the names and variations of each and every technique of BJJ, but if the body doesn’t move the way it needs to it will never work. Albeit it’s quite the mental challenge to figure out why something works and how it combines with other things, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is ultimately a combat sport. Your body needs to do things almost on its own. Even with this fact, there’s a lot that you can do by thinking things through. Do what makes you better. Throw out what has you hitting a plateau. The single most important thing that builds muscle memory and movement intelligence is drilling. Drill to kill. J
We give you 5 of the best drills to pave the way to making you a better BJJ practitioner.
Linear warm-ups are done before every training session for a reason. We use them all the time. We call them movements, but you could really go as far as calling them techniques. In fact, they’re the building blocks of technique.
Often associated with the mount escape, the hip escape is a powerful motion that uses the hip to move both your opponent and yourself. At the gym, you’ll see even little girls do a 100 kilo pelvic lift. It’s an integral part of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and connects to a massive number of techniques.
The butt scoot is another vital piece of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Do many, many of these. Experiment with stiff arming a collar to retain guard. Beware the armbar.
The shoulder roll will protect your neck. It turns you into a human ball. Stacking you will be next to impossible. It connects with armbars, triangles and many sweeps.
Wrestling Drills for BJJ
The baseball slide is a useful motion that combines with the butt scoot. It gets you out of sprawls and sometimes sets up takedowns as well: armdrags, superducks etc.
The wrestling shot will turn your legs into tree trunks. It’ll also add another weapon to your arsenal: the knee as a base.
Advanced Guard Specific Drills
Solo Spider Guard Drill
This one is a really good drill because you can do it on your own. Whenever you play open guard, you’ve got two options. Attack the legs, or attack the arms. Spider drills using the belt will give you the dexterity needed to play spider guard. Don’t overextend. Feel the belt out. See if you can stretch it with your legs almost fully extended.
Leg Weave Combination
This is the second choice. Opponent stands up. You’ve opted to go for the legs. You’ll need a pair of legs to drill this, meaning you need a partner. There are four leg entanglement guard drills you can combine. If you’re already a blue belt this is probably one of those things you should do before each training session for 20 minutes or so.
Single X Guard
Grab heel. Shoot leg inside on same side. Use heel grip and thigh to pull heel in. Raise hips. Put heel on hip and hook opponent’s other leg thigh or butt. Switch sides. Repeat 20 times or until core feels like bursting.
In a similar entry as the previous drill, grab heel. Shoot leg inside. Use heel grip and thigh to pull same-side leg in close. Hook the same leg from the inside, or the far hip in a traditional X-Guard. Latch on a butterfly hook on the far-side leg. Switch sides. This builds hip mobility and leg dexterity. Repeat until core feels on fire.
Reverse De La Riva
Underhook leg with inside side arm. Hook leg from the inside with your underhook-side leg. Use underhook to spin under. The bottom side of your knee gives you your partner’s back, AKA the Dragon’s kiss. Partner turns to face you. Switch sides. Repeat.
De La Riva
Another leg entanglement guard, this one is an outside attack. By outside, we mean you attack your opponent’s leg laterally from the side, not between the legs and inside. Grab a heel. Your heels or balls of feet make contact with opponent’s hips or thigh. Doesn’t matter. Lift hips using heel grip and heel contact. Turn body 90 degrees so only one shoulder has contact with the ground and is looking at the ground. Shoot heel-holding-side leg from the outside and hook the far leg. Partner turns to face you. Do the same thing with the other side. Repeat.