Rolling With No Time Limits

The most common practice at BJJ schools is to set the round timer for five minutes, grab a partner, and roll.

Since the standard round in MMA is five minutes and the white belt IBJJF matches are also five, it is the standard. With only five minutes on the clock, you can roll at a high pace.

I have always enjoyed rolling for no time limit. Apart from the fact that when I am having a good roll I just don’t want it to stop, there is another reason. I believe that it helps us develop more efficient technique.

Look at it this way: when you know that you may be saved by a buzzer when the round ends, you can use a lot of energy in escaping and scrambling. When you gas out from your exertions, just hang on to the end of the round.

Tapping out due to exhaustion before the end of the round because you did the “two-minute Hercules” is considered bad form. Don’t use 100% strength and then tap out as soon as you get swept to the bottom!

When you are rolling with no time limit you must be efficient with all of your movements. If you are going to use explosive strength you will fatigue quickly and find yourself drowning in oxygen debt.

I recall listening to Marcio Feitosa of Gracie Barra talk about how Carlos Gracie Jr. preferred to roll without time limits. “That is when you see the real jiu-jitsu technique come out.”

Grandmaster Helio Gracie’s jiu-jitsu relied on tight defense, tiring the bigger opponent, and waiting for them to make a mistake. He conserved his energy and dragged his opponents into deep water.

The primary benefit from rolling with no time limit is that you will need to be efficient with every movement, not relying on speed or explosive movements, which rapidly drain your gas tank. Instead you will be more sensitive to timing, recognizing opportunities to escape and advance positions without utilizing power.

Next time you roll, try with no time limit and see how your strategy and jiu-jitsu must adapt.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here