One time, after I showed my students a way to break down the turtle and take the back, all of them went to their respective corners and started to repeat the movements.
Some of the students helped correct each other when the movement didn’t feel right or the partner had forgotten one of the main points of the technique. Unfortunately, several students tried the move two or three times each, and then sat on the mat chatting or, worse still, trying to leg lock each other – a position completely unrelated to the subject of that class.
I just shook my head and asked rhetorically “Is this making an effective use of your precious training time?”
These guys were just wasting their time and I wager that if I asked them to demonstrate the move the following class, they would scratch their heads in bewilderment.
Drilling movements is super important when you are looking to add it to your game. So, how do you drill properly?
You need to drill in progressive steps as you gain confidence and understanding of the movement.
Here is how:
You need a cooperative partner at first.
Everyone has gotten paired with the guy who is resisting 100% on the first repetition when you are trying the new move. If you are one of these people, you need to chill out!
I never understood why the “resister” did that. When you do not yet have a solid idea of where each limb should be positioned, you need a cooperative training partner to help you get in some repetitions.
You need to bust out some serious repetitions
Repetition is the mother of skill.
Can you imagine going to a boxing class, being shown a jab, throwing five jabs into the heavy bag, and then confidently announcing, “Okay got it! Show me the next punch”?
The idea is ridiculous, but that is what the students in the opening example were doing. It is going to take a whole lot of repetition to inculcate that movement pattern into your muscle memory so that you can execute it smoothly and precisely in a match.
Progressive levels of resistance
Now that you can perform a few creditable repetitions and understand what you are trying to accomplish, you try to introduce some “aliveness” to the drilling. Ask your partner to introduce 33% resistance. Then progressively add more and more resistance until you are mimicking real rolling conditions.
But don’t start out with 100% resistance!
Drill the move to the point when you are tired.
Drilling the movement until the point that you start to fatigue will reveal where the move falls apart. It is one thing to perform an armlock from the guard when you are fresh and can spin easily and smoothly on the bottom. It is quite another thing to try the same move when you are tired and lying flat – dragging your body, creating friction while too tired to lift your hips!
This is valuable information because this is how fatigued you will often be when trying to execute the move in live rolling! You need to recognize where the move breaks down and ask yourself, “How can I perform this movement most efficiently so that it works when I am tried?”
Here is a tip: aim for a goal of 30 – 50 repetitions on each movement to accrue enough to start wiring the move into your muscle memory.
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