A Reader Question: A beginner wants to come in late to class and skip the drilling go straight to the rolling.

“I’m brand-new to jujitsu. I have only been a class four times now the one thing that I find is that
every time that I drill I don’t do well and it seems like my partners don’t want to drill with me
because it does it takes away from their learning.
Now I do like to roll and I am thinking would it be OK for me to come in late to class and skip the drilling go straight to the rolling.
I do a lot better and I feel like my opponents learn a lot more about themselves whenever they’re allowed to roll with me even though I’m a beginner.”

Jiu-jitsu Times: We understand your enthusiasm for wanting to do well as soon as possible but skipping drilling and going straight to rolling is not the best strategy.
In fact, I would recommend the opposite!

More drilling (with partners of similar experience level) and less free rolling at this point.

With less than 1 month of training in bjj, you likely don’t yet have a solid grasp of the positional hierarchy of jiu-jitsu:
Rear mount
Knee on Belly
Side control
Half Mount
Guard TopGuard Bottom
Turtle Top / Turtle Bottom
Half Guard Bottom
Side control Bottom
Knee on Belly Bottom
Mount Bottom
Rear mount Bottom

Question: Do you understand what you should be trying to do from each position?
Do you have a solid escape, submission, control and counter from each of the positions?

If the answer is “No” then rolling is unlikely to be very productive in terms of LEARNING bjj.

Instead of using technique, you will be trying to survive and be operating on pure instinct in the roll.
Sure, you can get a good workout!

But you won’t be using your class time in the best way to IMPROVE your jiu-jitsu (which should be the main purpose of training).
Some academies do not allow new students to roll until they have a couple of months of classes behind them.
If you joined a boxing gym, it is unlikely the trainers would allow you to step into the ring your first week.

Fundamentals must come first.

At the very beginning stages of bjj, your concentration must be on 2 things:
1) Learning which moves to do in each of those key ground positions “What should I try to do when I get here?”.
2) Drilling and repeating the correct mechanics of those fundamental moves until they become smooth.

If you want to do some live rolling – “positional sparring” where you have a single objective (ex. pass your opponent’s guard) would be much more beneficial at your experience level.

In parting, no less an authority than ADCC Superfight Champion Andre Galvao says that your training should be 60-60% drilling!

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