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BJJ Flow Drills


A drill in which the partners grapple together (relatively) slowly, working gently and methodically through a series of positions (or in free grappling as well) to study sensitivity in balance, efficiency and body mechanics.

There are two forms of these drills: one in which both partners are resisting/struggling equally, and those where one partner is in "studying technique" mode, while the other is in "attack/defend" mode (a bit like the sh'te/uke relationship in Aikido partnered study). In this second mode, a flow can be designed which begins with a given positional relationship (e.g. bottom position with partner rear mounted) and then work until the roles are reversed, at which point they switch "study" and "defend" modes. A useful way of training this is to start with zero or near zero resistance by the "attacker/defender" and then to add a small amount each time the goal position is reached and the roles are switched.

Submissions, if included, are not held, but merely "flowed past", as if implied.

Example Drill: Mount-to-Mount


This drill or game begins with the first player mounted by his/her opponent. Initially zero resistance is given, just a body to work with. The player advances using slow, smooth, controlled BJJ technique, using one or more reversals or passes from the mount to arrive at an intermediary position (e.g. top or bottom of the guard or half-guard), and then advance again to ultimately arrive on top in the mounted position. The roles then switch with the bottom become the "player" and the top one the "defender". Each time through again, the player in the "defending-the-top" role adds a tiny bit of intensity and resistance, making it progessively more difficult for the player to advance positions. Play this through four or fives times for each player role.

Downloadable PDF of the Flow Drill map below.


The basic version is to learn the flow of the drill as a game or training exercise. Further ways of running the drill can involve giving a specific focus to core competencies and key ideas: e.g. 1) Flow Drill studying minimum use of force (maximum relaxation, sensitivity to balance, maximum mechanical advantage for when tension is used..). 2) Flow Drill studying exact placement of hand and foot-holds, and of strong, deliberate and coordinated move sequences from body placement to body placement. 3) Blindfolded, etc...

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