The Value Of Specific Training

Francesco Gazzola / Flickr Creative Commons

I have been able to observe a trend in BJJ that I believe is responsible for the rise in the level of BJJ. That trend is the rise of drilling. Drilling is beneficial because it allows you to get many repetitions in of a move in a very short time and it sharpens your fast twitch reflex for certain positions. There is another method that many schools use in order to sharpen their skills that I also believe is very helpful, but receives less mainstream attention. This method is what at my school we call “specific training”. Much like the idea of drilling we start in some position (a guard, mount, the back, etc), but instead of just doing the same move over and over we roll from that position, and work on certain moves rather than just working to change the position. I think this type of training is very beneficial for a number of reasons and here is why.

  • It helps both partners– Both practitioners can learn from this exercise since one person’s goal is to escape and the other seeks to submit or advance position. So, both practitioners are working on drilling a specifics set of moves.
  • More Realistic– While drilling can make you super sharp, specific training can make you understand the positions better. Let’s face it sometimes the one move you drilled may not work, and you will be forced to work something else. In specific training the goal is not just a single move or set up, but rather a series of them, and if one doesn’t work, you move on.
  • Usefulness– I believe that the best thing about this type of training is that it can force us to sharpen our weaknesses. It can become rather easy for an upper belt to simply avoid their weak positions, but if we are forced to start our training in these positions then maybe they will stop being a weak point in our game?

Do you ever do specific positional training at your academy? What are your thoughts on the idea? For me, I believe it has helped a lot and it’s something I will continue throughout my journey.


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