Want to Win in MMA, Jiu Jitsu or Wrestling - Then Drill
It’s said that an Olympic Wrestler doesn’t use a single move in the Olympics unless they have drilled that move at least 10,000 times. Nothing is different in any of the martial arts. If you want to throw a Oomapolatta against a black belt you better have drilled that move a few thousand times, otherwise he’s just going to pass your guard for all your trouble. While there is no replacement for sparring and live grappling, drilling is twice as useful. For every hour spent grappling, you should be spending 2 hours honing your technique, speed, conditioning, smoothness and power in every movement.
Let’s not pretend that Michael Jordan’s first shot was over Bryon Russell in game 6 of the NBA Finals. He had completed that exact jump shot thousands, maybe even millions of times. He had played out that scenario in slow motion, in fast motion, in scrimmage and in game-scenarios enough times, that when it came time to execute jump shot it was entirely instinctual. This kind of instinctual drilling needs to take place in your jiu jitsu practices as well.
Every new technique starts the same. First the instructor demonstrates it, and probably makes it look effortless, and for your instructor it was, but it wasn’t always so easy. Every move starts with confusion and perhaps even frustration, then as you begin to develop the muscle memory the move starts falling into place, until you eventually reach the point where you can successfully complete the technique against beginner/intermediate grapplers. As you continue to drill the movement, the jiu jitsu technique becomes more fluid until finally, you don’t have to think about the technique, it magically flows into place.
Drilling allows you the ability to focus on your technique as well as your speed, and to repeat the move multiple times in a row. Completing the techniques over-and-over again, allows you to focus on any inconsistencies. Perhaps you throw scissor sweep from guard, but you forgot to turn your hip to the floor on your first try, retrying the movement immediately after allows you to refocus on that particular aspect of the movement until that issue is resolved so you can move onto the next aspect of the jiu jitsu technique.
Past this you should track the movements that you complete, and write them down. Take a journal to practice and write down each and every technique you complete along with an estimate of how many times you drilled it. This journal will prove tremendously vital to your progress. It will give you a game-plan going into every practice, and remind you of the techniques you already know. Tracking your drill-count will help you as you set forth on your goal. Try to drill every move you learn at least 100 times before you attempt to use the movement live. Drilling a submission 100 times will give you enough muscle memory to throw the submission against novice opponents. As you begin to enter the 1,000 times drilled range, you will find yourself successfully applying the submission against intermediate practitioners, and when you reach 10,000 on the same submission, you will find yourself winning money in a cage.
Whatever your goals are in a sport, the more you drill the better you’ll be. If that sport is jiu jitsu, just keep on drilling your way to the top.
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