Can you get a good grasp on Jiu Jitsu without rolling? This seems like a pretty easy question to answer, right? I mean, seriously, how can someone learn weight distribution and pressure without being in the grind day in and day out? There is technique, drilling, flow rolling, and even positional control. How can you learn when to place your weight just a little more this way or that if you don’t have someone testing your base and throwing you off?
This is a topic I’ve seen discussed lately and I, for one, question it’s strength. First things first here, I would never discredit any school for what they do or how they practice Jiu Jitsu. Lord knows there are a million different ways things are done! But honestly, how can someone say “I’m a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu” if you don’t roll and test yourself every chance you get??
Here’s my answer….. YOU CAN’T! How can someone honestly believe that they will know exactly what to do when the time comes when they have never been put there? They can’t, that’s how! If you don’t know where to apply pressure or release pressure you won’t be able to complete the move. It doesn’t matter if you’ve drilled the techniques a thousand times, If your body has never felt it then it won’t know how to react! I’ve been to schools that primarily focus on “what if’s” and “self defence” so much that they never roll more than once a month. My opinion, you’re wasting your money!! If it’s easy, it’s probably not doing you any good.
In closing, to roll or not to roll? ROLL as much as you can!! You might be that occasional, full time, or even just a 2 class a week kind of student but you need your mat time. If you take the time and effort to learn the moves, then you need the time to learn when to implement them. When you feel it the first time and successfully land that armbar or lapel choke, it’s going to feel so much better than it does when drilling! Even if you’re just in it for self defence, you need to know how it feels when someone grabs your neck! You owe it to yourself to be ready for everything.