Bridging The Gap

You just learned an awesome new triangle setup or guard sweep in class. You knock out 20 reps in drilling and can’t wait to catch your training partners in rolling.

Only it doesn’t exactly go as planned and your opponent postures up and easily passes your guard.

Hey! That wasn’t supposed to happen!

The problem is that there is a huge gap between drilling techniques with a cooperative partner and trying to apply it against a fully resisting opponent in live rolling.

How do you bridge that gap? I have two suggestions for you to try.

1) Progressive resistance

There are degrees of resistance in drilling, as anyone who has ever had the misfortune of trying to drill a new technique with 100% Resister Guy will know.

The truth is after you understand the basics of the new move, you are going to need to introduce some level of resistance to the drilling to make it more realistic.

This is where a good training partner is invaluable. The first step up from passive / cooperative drilling would be for your opponent to stiffen their core and limbs to mimic a live opponent. Now your body must move differently to fit into the position. Then, progressively increment the resistance. First, try 25% resistance, then 50%…and so on.

Finally, move onto positional sparring where you have defined rules that state you reset after a position has been lost or the technique is successful.

2) Move up from lighter and lower-experienced grapplers to heavier and more experienced ones.

Royler Gracie says in his book “Gracie Submission Essentials” that the best way to introduce a new submission in your game is to try it against a lighter and lower experienced (white belt) training partner. This will give you the greatest chance to control the position and work out the bugs.

After that, move up to a heavier white belt. Once you have more confidence, try it against the lighter blue belts that you can find. And so on.

Many a promising BJJ technique has been discarded because the initial attempts in live rolling were unsuccessful and you decided to go back to what you know works.

Try these bridging techniques to help you add new moves to your game.


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