For many Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu students, sparring or “rolling” is their favorite part of class. In just a few minutes, they see the results of all the hard work they’ve put into training. They also get to put their mental and physical strength to the test and see how they stand against their teammates, all in one session. What’s not to love about it?
Today, Evolve Daily gives you 5 tips to take your BJJ sparring to the next level. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced student, all these tips are definitely applicable!
1) Don’t choose the same partners.
We all have our favorite partners we like to spar against. Maybe they’re closer to our size or maybe they don’t go “too hard” on us. Whatever the case may be, we should keep our sparring sessions interesting by choosing new partners. Doing so will be more of a challenge, which is the whole point of sparring in the first place.
Tip: Without thinking, choose the first available person you see on the mats!
2) Don’t be afraid to lose.
Yes, winning feels great but so does learning something new. And we won’t learn anything if we keep on winning. Why? Losing exposes all the holes in our game – from our bad posture to our insistence on going for fancy submissions (without knowing what to do next). In turn, this gives us the chance to consult our instructors or teammates on how we can fix these mistakes and turn them into moves we can add to our arsenal.
Tip: Roll with someone at a much higher level than you. Not only will he help you identify your mistakes, but he’ll also be able to help you out properly.
3) Don’t lose focus of your mission.
The best BJJ practitioners always have a mission. They know that there are just way too many techniques out there for them to master, so they focus on perfecting just one technique at a time. Whether it’s learning how to leg drag or sweep from the spider guard, they keep working on a technique until they get it right.
Tip: Give yourself a weekly mission and stick to it. Make sure you try it at least once or twice during sparring sessions. If you’re not sure about the technique, consult your instructor!
4) Don’t forget to link your techniques.
For BJJ students, the depth of their technical knowledge determines how well they will do in each spar. The more knowledge you have, the more you can anticipate what your opponent will do. Thus, by linking your techniques, you still have a way to finish your move even if your opponent tries to counter it.
Tip: Establish a series of techniques and try it during your next session. Always anticipate that your opponent knows what he’s doing so you know which move to try next.
5) Don’t lose track of your points.
If you’re looking to compete, you should start keeping track of how many points you’ve racked each time you spar. In case you didn’t know, the point system is as follows:
Takedown (2 points)
Sweep (2 points)
Knee On The Belly (2 points)
Passing the guard (3 points)
Full mount (4 points)
Back control (4 points)
Near pass, serious submission attempt, etc. (advantage)
Keeping track of points will help keep you on your toes, as well as sharpen your strategic mind under pressure.
Tip: If you have a BJJ notebook, you can use it to keep track of how many points you’ve accumulated during sparring.
There’s no doubt that sparring makes you a better BJJ practitioner. There’s no other way to get that back and forth connection with an opponent and continuously challenge yourself and your skills. So go on, put our tips to the test in your next sparring session and see how well you do!