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The 100 Repetitions Rule in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu...
Its all about the Reps!!!!
Here are some ideas to add to your BJJ training when you're short on time and training partners. Solo training might not be the most optimal training in Brazilian jiu jitsu, but if you put in a little time, effort , and imagination you'll be surprised how much you can accomplish on your own through solo training.
Driling your way to "No Mind"
Rickson Gracie once said that you would have to repeat a technique at least 100 times before you can fully absorb the move and use it in live training effectively. He also said that this was just the starting point in fully mastering a technique and your goal should be continual refinement of all aspects of Brazilian jiu jitsu.
Rickson Gracie and Royler Gracie Demo at pride.
Rickson giving a small taste of his intuitive flow in BJJ
Drill, Drill, Drill, and then Drill some more!
Any of today's top competitors will tell you that their high level use of Brazilian jiu jitsu comes from all the hard work they put into drilling moves over and over until they become reflexive. As a result of all this drilling it almost seems like they are floating through their matches as if asleep. Competitors like Rapheal Mendes with his use of the 50/50 Guard or his famous "Berimbolo" sweep, have drilled these positions and moves so much that their minds work on level of almost no thought, or as the old samurai of Japan would say "No Mind"
Since most Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners don't train full time, its very hard to get the high repetitions you need in order for new techniques to work effectively. Its also problematic to get a solid training partner that will allow you to train a move over and over again. Most of the time you go to class, learn two or three moves, rep them anywhere from 5 to 10 times, and then go home only to repeat the process the next night in class with a whole set of new moves to learn all over again.
Rafael Mendes v.s. Joel tudor
Here's Mendes gliding through his match with the great Joel Tudor
The Heavy bag...
So how does the average joe in BJJ get around this? Well here are some things that have worked for me:
The heavy bag has been my best friend in Brazilian Jiu jitsu training since the beginning of my BJJ career! He never complains, he's always there for me , and best of all he lets me do endless repetitions on him to my hearts content. One of my favorite drills on the heavy bag to do is the basic arm bar from mount. This is where you start mounted on the bag, place your hands in the middle of the bag, pivot your legs and hips and pretend that your grabbing an arm, then laying back for the finish.
Another great drill on the heavy bag is working S-mount switching. I will get in the S-mount position and start using my hip to switch back and forth, from left side to right. I usually do this for twenty reps for each side doing about three sets.
These are just a couple of things you can do with a heavy bag, if you use your imagination the possibilities are endless.
More Heavy bag training...
Here is some more ideas for you to fool around with when using the Heavy bag to drill...
If you think you can, you can....
Visualization is probably one of the most overlooked tools for training BJJ moves in the world. BJJ great JT "Spiderman" Torres is very well known for his mental training which includes mentally drilling moves in his head. I incorporate visualization when I have down time at work or when I get home from class to make sure I keep the moves fresh in my mind. You would be amazed how this can dramatically help your game. One thing to note when implementing this type of mental training is to make sure you make it as real as you can in your mind. Try to imagine the weight of your partner as you go through the moves. Try to imagine how it would feel to move your body while doing a technique. The more you involve your senses in visualization, the greater the results will be.
JT Torres in action
Stability ball for success...
Outside a real, resistant opponent the stability ball may be the next best thing. An example of this would be training the knee on the belly. Although I train this on the heavy bag too, theres nothing that's made a big a difference in this position than the stability ball. One thing I like to do is to my knee on the stability ball and hold the position for a set amount of time. I usually do five minutes on each side, rest, and then repeat for another three to five sets. Believe me not only will this help you keep the position better when you train against a real opponent, but your lower body will be well condition from this exhausting routine!
Another version for using the stability ball...
Shadow drill to your 100 reps...
Shadow drilling with no partner would be next on my list of solo training that has helped me. Shadow Drilling is akin to shadow boxing, but for a grappler this is a bit more difficult. Take downs are the easiest thing to practice when shadow drilling. Almost any take down can be used in shadow drilling. From the double leg to the hip throw, its really what you need to work on that will help you decide what take down to use.
Depending on my mood, sometimes I will just get on the floor and pretend like I am doing a certain move like the hip bump sweep on someone., other times I will try to imagine that I am actually training with someone and try to incorporate moves I want to work on into this imaginary match.
The most important tool you have to develop when your training solo in Brazilian jiu jitsu is your creative mind. The above suggestions just scratch the surface of what you can do when your life is not letting you get to class often enough. Solo training is definitely difficult when it comes Brazilian Jiu jitsu, but it's a good alternative to getting in the reps you need to take your game to the next level.
More ideas on Shadow driling
Here's Ken Primolo giving us some more great solo training drills....
Some great solo training tools...
This by far one of the best books on BJJ drills ever put out. In Galvao's book you'll find both partner and solo drills. Cant say enough good things about this book.!!!!!
Kesting does a great presentation of some really good fundamental drills for BJJ
Got more ideas on Solo training? Then we'd love to hear them...!
Some Solo Drills I like to do on the heavy bag and stability ball
Just a few drills that I do that have helped me over the years
So let me throw out a couple of drills that you may or may not have done before using either the heavy bag or the stability ball.
1)KNEE ON THE BELLY: Using the balance ball I train the knee on the belly position. I place me knee on the ball as if it was on a real opponent. Set the timer for anywhere from a minute to 5 minutes and hold the position. I can tell you that the lack of stability of the ball really mimics a resisting opponent. The more you drive your knee into it the more unstable it becomes. I then take a minute break and switch legs.
2) STANDING KICK BACK PASS: I use either the heavy bag or stability ball for this one. With the bag(or ball) in front of me, I place my hands on it as if Im fencing with an opponents legs, put one leg in front as if I have my leg between my opponents, then with the other leg Iean forward, kick my leg back up in the air, and circle it around my imaginary opponents legs to land it in the knee on belly position. I do this for anywhere from 10 to 20 reps each side.
3) CROSS-SIDES TO NORTH-SOUTH: With the heavy bag , I start out in the cross-sides position, switch to the scarf hold and switch to the north-south positon. I then switch from the north-south position to the cross-sides position on the opposite side. Again, I do this for 10 to 20 reps each side.
Try these out when a partner is hard to find...
ONE MOVE A WEEK...
Another way I've used in the past to drill a move to the point of reflex is choosing a technique to drill in class for a week. This could be anything you want. From submission to reversal to escape, it all depends on what you want to concentrate on in your game.
For the beginner this is a great way to get the basics down, for the more advanced this is a way to polish the moves you already know. I personally drill a combo of three moves a week, that way I develop more of a flow in the way I roll on the mat. One of my favorite combos to drill is triangle from the guard to arm bar to finishing with the omoplata.
In BJJ there is a never ending supply of combinations of moves, but the long and the short of it is that using this move or combo a week method will ingrain these techniques in your mind to the point of application without thought.
For my money Leohzino vieira , Marcelo Garcia, and Robson Moura are my all time favorites competitors to ever hit the mat. Vieira or his gymnastic style Jiu jitsu and unique techniques. Garcia for his Mike Tyson type jiu jitsu submitting all his opponents. Robson Moura for his incredibly dynamic style of Jiu Jitsu.
Now its your turn. Who is the best of the best in your mind in the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?