Judo Training Methods For Bjj

D'Aquino AUS vs Chevalier NCL

Meet Matt D’Aquino, a judo Olympian and third-degree black belt in judo.

Studying judo for over 23 years, Matt has also competed in BJJ and has a deep understanding of training stand-up for both judo and BJJ tournaments.

read also: Hole In The Standup Grappling Skills In Many Bjj Schools

Jiu-jitsu Times asked Matt about how jiu-jitsu guys can utilize some judo training methods and apply it to their BJJ training.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: Matt, is the way judo classes are conducted significantly different than the way most BJJ schools train? What might be the most significant difference between the way judo and BJJ are taught?

Matt D’Aquino: I think the main difference between BJJ and judo schools is the amount of drilling done. During nearly every practice a judoka will perform anywhere from 200-500 repetitions of a throw each and every lesson. However I very rarely see this sort of repetition done in any BJJ class.

Another major difference I have noticed is the lack of gymnastic style movements incorporated into the BJJ warm up. Often at judo, our warm ups include forward and backward rolls, handstands and cartwheels just to help increase our athleticism, spatial awareness, and coordination.

On the other hand, what I really like about BJJ schools is what I like to call positional sparring. For example, let’s start in half guard and if I pass or you sweep me, then we reset and start again. I love this style of training as it helps gain a deep understanding of the position you are sparring in.

I wish us judoka began implementing this sort of training into our own training.

All in all, however, these are just training methods. In terms of the actual teaching of judo and BJJ, I actually think they are taught the exact same. Every instructor teaches the technique broken down into small chunks to make it easily digestible for your students.
They also try to teach the scenarios into and out of each technique to ensure you know where the technique fits in the overall grappling game.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: What judo training methods (ex. uchikomi, sute geiko) can BJJ guys benefit from?

Matt D’Aquino: I think the best training method a BJJ guy can benefit from is the uchikomi aspect of judo. Which is the drilling a technique over and over again, although I encourage people not to just drill a move, but drill a sequence of moves. For rather than drilling a sweep from guard, why not drill a scissor sweep to mount, to Kimura, to straight armbar. This way you are drilling a sequence.

Another might be butterfly sweep (opponent stands up), into X-guard, into X-guard sweep, into ankle lock.

So the biggest key when drilling is to not drill a move in isolation, but to drill techniques that flow together. Now at the beginning of your BJJ journey, you might have to drill a move in isolation, but over time you gradually add in another aspect of the flow. This way you are drilling PLUS getting the situational awareness of the moves that surround that initial technique.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: How should BJJ guys approach their stand-up live sparring? Many students are apprehensive about the potential for injury. What specific advice do you have to get the most learning from stand-up grappling?

Matt D’Aquino: Every single match should start standing full stop. At my club, we start each and every match standing, unless the mat is too full in which case we start on the ground. But if you are scared of being thrown, then there are a few ways you can do stand up while minimizing the risk of injury.

1- You need to know how to land a breakfall. Most people get injured in judo because they don’t know how to do a breakfall. So learn how to do a backward and side breakfall.

2- Most injuries occur when people are resisting a throw. So if you let someone throw you, then you are less likely to get injured.

At my academy there are two ways in which we incorporate BJJ into our classes. First off, you can choose who does the takedown when you roll. So at the beginning of your roll, either you or your opponent performs a nice, controlled takedown and as soon as you hit the floor, the match begins. This will help you not only be more comfortable with being taken down, but also help you understand the transitional aspects of the fight game.

Another way you can incorporate takedowns with a lower risk of injury is to start standing but both you and your opponent agree that the level of intensity during the stand up aspect of your roll is only at 50%. Then when you hit the mat, the intensity then increases to however much you like. But during the stand up aspect, the fight is at a lower intensity. This way the chance of injury is super low.


Jiu-Jitsu Times: If a BJJ guy wants to add some judo training at an open mat time or at the end of BJJ class, what training methods would be the most effective use of their training efforts?

Matt D’Aquino: I think this question is answered in the last part of question 3. Choose a takedown that you are good at or want to work on and drill it. Then slowly add movements and techniques to the technique.

For example you might like to drill a double leg takedown. So do 20 double legs. Then do grip break into double leg, then do grip break into double leg into side control. Then do snap down into double leg into side control. Then do snap down into double leg, (opponent sprawls) into guard recovery. This way you can add to the initial movement and now your initial double leg has 4-5 entries into and out of it equaling 15 or so movements.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: How can BJJ guys who want to learn more stand-up grappling find out more information about your training resources?

I have a ton of resources that will help BJJ guys improve their stand-up game. One is my Takedowns for BJJ package that can be found at www.bjjtakedowns.com and the other is my No-Gi Takedowns DVD package that is coming out in a few months time. I’m actually recording it at the moment.

I also have a ton of grappling related material on techniques, strength and conditioning and more at my website beyondgrappling.com


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