The Jiu Jitsu Times Weekly Challenge: Don’t Be a Stand Up Comedian

For the sake of safety within the training room, the jiu jitsu culture has accepted the practice of starting rolls from the knees.  This practice has generated a culture that very often shies away from standup battles, and even at the highest level of competition we’ve seen butt scooting become the norm.

This week’s Jiu Jitsu Times Weekly Challenge is a challenge that I’ve personally taken upon myself within the past few months to improve my own standup game: when possibly start at least one roll every session on your feet.  If you’re a guard puller, work on an aggressive guard pull that sets up potential submissions, but generally try to be more aggressive than you normally would be standing up.


This challenge will force you to think of your game as a complete package.  If your training partner doesn’t want to get into your guard, simply sitting down isn’t going to be a smart option.  This challenge is not meant to be an insult to guard pullers, but rather a way for us to reevaluate exactly how it is that we deal with opponents when standing up.

I wrestled in high school, and am fairly comfortable when standing, but for the longest time I found that even my guard pulls required a certain margin of error in my opponents’ responses.   I have tried to make a habit of starting standing as often as is possible and it has changed how I treat the standup game.

If you are inclined to wrestle/use Judo, chances are lack of practice of wrestling/Judo coupled with your jiu jitsu has led you to wind up in people’s guards.  Doing this exercise will help with that.  If you know how to set your grips correctly you can simultaneously take down and opponent while passing their guard.  If you’re a guard puller, chances are lack of practicing your guard pull has led to bad guard pulls at tournament.  A bad guard pull can mean that you’re open to getting your guard readily passed or, worse yet, allowing your opponents to have access to submission entries.

By practicing your stand up, whether you’re a guard puller or a takedown artist you can expose yourself to the various ways a match that starts on the feet can potentially go right or wrong for you.  If you neglect doing this, you WILL wind up in bad positions against opponents who do it.  For this week’s challenge, do not veer from your normal preferences, if you like guard, pull guard, if you like takedowns, work on those, but do either one from standing, not from sitting on your knees.

This exercise may not be possible during a packed rolling session, and that’s okay too.  Stay around for one more roll after your class is over if you’re allowed to.  And if that’s not possible, we’ll have another challenge for you next week!

What do you think if this week’s challenge?  Do you already use this exercise to better your jiu jitsu?  Or is this a novel idea for you?


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