Which do you prefer?
When it comes to training jiu jitsu you will find that there are THREE camps when it comes to these two aspects of training.
- People who love to drill, but dislike rolling/sparring.
- People who hate to drill and only want to roll.
- The people that do both.
When it comes to your training, the ultimate goal is to get better.
Every single class that you come to is an opportunity for you to improve on what you were working on the previous day. You should push yourself in your training, whether it’s going all the way down the mats during line drills, getting extra reps when you are drilling techniques or doing one live sparring round at the end of class.
When you roll/spar, you are going to be tested as your partner looks to pass, sweep, submit and control the round as you look to counter their moves to stay ahead. You’re going to be put in uncomfortable positions and over time you will become more comfortable in those positions as you gain the confidence in the techniques you have to escape from those bad positions. During your rounds, you are going to see if you really know what you are supposed to be doing in various situations.
The downside to rolling is that you are at a greater risk of injury.
Drilling on the other hand will improve your knowledge of the technique as you break down the small details that make the technique effective as you build the muscle memory to execute the move. As you increase the muscle memory through the drills, you will be building a solid foundation as you fine-tune the movements of the technique.
Rolling is the heart of what makes jiu jitsu work. When it comes to rolling, you can start off in a bad position or a neutral position as you work to secure a submission. These rounds can be intense, so make sure if you are dishing it out that you are also prepared to take it as your teammate looks to control to situation. Having a good knowledge and feel of your teammate will help you determine how “hard” you should be going.
Injuries take time to heal, so you want to make sure that you’re not in full tournament mode when you are training with your teammates. Both of you should be able to walk out of the school and be able to work the next morning.
You will also discover what you need to work on as not everything will go as planned. You’ll miss submissions, have your guards passed and get swept. Make notes of these missteps and focus your time on cleaning them up.
What a perfect segue into why you should spend quality time drilling the technique!
When you start out, drilling will help you learn the steps of a single technique. You’ll understand why you move a certain way as you build your foundation by breaking down the details of the techniques. Having the correct form is key to improving the techniques that were failing you when you were rolling.
As you drill, you and your coaches will be able to easily identify a bad technique that may have been missed during the rolling portion of your training that could have been viewed as your partner simply countering or defending your technique.
The downside of drilling is that it simply isn’t realistic.
While you are building muscle memory, if you spend too much time on the drill, you will miss out on your ability to react to what your teammate is doing.