BJJ Training Methods: The Importance of Drilling & Situational Matches

23 Apr

As a jiu jitsu fighter, you are only as good as your training. The more you train, the better you will become, right? Yes, this is mostly true, but what about HOW you train?

Training the right way can make a huge difference in your Jiu Jitsu game. Here’s an example…


Ok so lets say Joe Schmoe trains in his basement with a friend or training partner every day, does a bunch of tough live rolling, maybe for an extended period of time. Sure, Joe will get pretty decent over time…

Now lets say his buddy, John Smith, was to train every day at a well-respected Jiu Jitsu academy with high level instruction, wide varieties of training methods, and top-notch training partners of all skill levels.

Between Joe Schmoe and John Smith, who do you think will improve their jiu jitsu game faster and with more efficiency?

Here’s another example:

The Atos Jiu Jitsu team, lead by world champion Andre Galvao, is one of the best teams (among quite a few others) for a number of reasons:

Just a few members of Team Atos


  • The team is made up of multiple high level black belts and many highly skilled belts below them
  • The team does many different training circuits as well as the typical live rolling and drilling
  • The team trains often and each member has similar goals and objectives in mind

This is why Team Atos is so successful. All three of these factors directly tie into how the team trains.

Drilling, Drilling and More Drilling:

A Jiu Jitsu class doing some drills

If you are doing more than enough live rolling during training and not supplementing your jiu jitsu with some drilling as well, this will create a weakness in your game. it is super important to balance both drilling and live rolling, as they are both equally as important as each other.

World champion Andre Galvao, who I mentioned before, released an instructional book called “Drill to Win“. His book is a favorite of mine and a great example of how drilling can improve your jiu jitsu game.

If you were to never drill any techniques, certain areas of your game that may already need improvement will suffer even more. Bad habits can form and affect your techniques if you don’t incorporate drilling into your training.

Drilling a new move or submission can turn the technique from something you learned a few weeks ago, into something that you’re hitting on everyone at your academy.

Lastly, your techniques will connect more fluidly during live rolling if you take the time to drill them. This is due to good ol’ muscle memory.

Varying your Drilling:

When drilling a technique, your training partners’ resistance level can make a difference. If it’s a new technique, it’s usually good to drill it slow in order to understand the fine details and nuances of the technique. Once you are familiar with it, your training partner can add resistance in order for you to get comfortable using the technique in a live rolling situation.

Varying your training partners can make a difference as well. Everyones style is different, and one persons reaction may not be the same as the next persons’ reaction. If you always drill with taller or larger training partners, try switching it up and training with smaller or faster people.

Situational Live Rolling:

Situational rolling/matches are also a very important method of training. Isolating a certain part of your jiu jitsu game and exclusively working on improving that area through different situations is extremely beneficial.

If your top game is strong, but you are not so proficient off of your back, then situational rolling will help you.

Here’s an example of Situational Rolling:

Work a situation with a training partner where you are on bottom in open guard, and your opponent is standing trying to pass your guard. If you are able to sweep your opponent, then you restart in the open guard. If he passes your guard, you will   restart in the open guard again.

Situational matches like this will help improve certain parts of your game, therefore making you a more well-rounded grappler or jiu jitsu fighter.

Taking the time to add drilling and situational live rolling  to your game will benefit you massively. By varying your methods of training, you will obtain proficiency and mastery in your jiu jitsu.

If you are interested in the different training methods of high level jiu jitsu fighters, my good friend and coach Daniel Faggella got the chance to interview world champion Andre Galvao and ask him about his training methods. If you are interested in specific training methods and more ways to skyrocket your game, Coach Dan also interviewed the Mendes brothers on improving ones’ jiu jitsu.

Both are great articles and I highly suggest reading them!

Best of luck in your training



One Response to “BJJ Training Methods: The Importance of Drilling & Situational Matches”


  1. BJJ Training Tips from Andre Galvao and Fredson Paixao | The Science of Skill in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - April 29, 2012

    […] emphasized BJJ drilling strategies, and that he uses this Judo mentality to drill literally every area and position of his game on a […]

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