I see a lot of people who, when they roll, are so focused on winning that they exhibit sloppy technique. They try to move fast as to overwhelm the other person. Perhaps my favorite aspect of jiu jitsu is the fact that if timed correctly, technique can be done slowly and still is effective, even against someone moving fast.
The next time you roll, try to do everything half speed, and try to still make it work. It won’t be easy, and you WILL fail, but you’ll learn a lot about your technique. If you do this on a regular basis, you’ll find that as long as you time things, and effectively predict the other person’s movements, you’re able to do your techniques relatively slowly and still make them work.
I throw a saying around a lot “slow is smooth and smooth is fast” what does this actually mean? When you do a technique slowly, you can focus on executing every step of the technique, every single little minute detail of the technique becomes apparent. Yeah if you rush a technique you may be able to catch someone, you may even catch them twice or three times, but if you rush the technique you won’t catch it on someone who has seen it before, and they will know which step you’ve missed and capitalize on that hole.
Doing a technique slowly allows you to do the technique well, but it also forces you to time the technique properly. Slow down, especially when drilling and rolling, as it will elevate your skills. This sort of training will be discouraging, you will experience failure more than if you were to try to blitz people, but when it comes time to move quickly, each movement will be so much more precise and intelligent because of how you slowed the technique down.
I have teammates who are much faster and more aggressive than I am, and it can be frustrating to deal with their constant attack, but when I apply slow and precise techniques at the right moments I can stymie their attacks. It is far more difficult to constantly attack than it is to wait for the other person to attack improperly and apply a technique slowly and leisurely. The more you do this the better you will be at it.
Doing techniques slowly will also make you aware of other options you may have. For example, in doing my arm bars a certain way I found entries into certain sweeps and leg locks that I would have never noticed had I insisted on doing them blisteringly fast. It’s also safer as you will give people more time to tap to your submissions if you do them slowly. It does, however, enable your training partners to escape your submissions, so you’ll have to tighten those up a bit (another benefit to slowing down.)
For anyone out there who has tried this out: have you experienced a greater level of success by slowing down? If you have never done this before the next time you roll with someone at or below your level, slow down to ¾ speed, if they still can’t stop you, slow down to half speed. You’ll find that this opens up a whole new outlook on your jiu jitsu game.