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Brazilian Jiu-jitsu /

MMA Drills

Created by Jim Troth

BJJ Explanation
Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is a sports/martial art, which is basically wrestling, with the
addition of submission holds (chokes, arm bars or arm locks, leg locks, etc.). A
contest is won by forcing the opponent to surrender by the application of one of
these moves. Some jiu-jitsu, judo and other grappling events can also be won by
scoring "points" by throws and other techniques. Since the advent of the "Ultimate
Fighting Championships" and other similar events over the past several years on
pay per view cable, the popularity of this sport has massively increased. This is due
in part to the success of fighters in these events with high levels of submission
grappling skills.

The goal of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is to cause your opponent to give up or "tap out".
The tap out signal, where your opponents uses his hand or foot to tap on the mat
(or on you), is the signal that he concedes the match. A “tap out” can also be given

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is based on technique and leverage not brute strength. With
proper technique it is possible for individuals to defeat much larger opponents.
Matches between equally sized and skilled opponents can at times be like a chess
match in that each person has to be aware of and ready to defend the possible
consequences of each technique that is or may be attempted or applied. It is
common among skilled BJJ players that techniques flow from one to the other as
each player counters the others technique and performs a technique of their own.
Use of the Drills

The Drills in this ebook are to be used so as to help the BJJ student/instructor have
a variety of drills to use during class. Some drills are for conditioning, others work
on specific positions. These drills will also help provide variety to the classes.
Having variety will help prevent burnout and increase student retention and student

Play with the drills and change them if you want to. It depends upon your
creativity and skill level. It will be hard to do the semi submission flow drill with a
new student who knows only a few techniques, it is best with more advanced
students. Same with the lights out drill, a certain amount of experience is needed
for the student to find the drill useful. Who’s the Man is a good drill for any skill

Practice at home/anywhere often. Below is a picture of a training area I made in

my garage using some sort of packing material for a mat. Call business in you area
for sheets of foam, etc that you might be able to use. It was inexpensive and
provided hours of valuable mat time. Try teaching a few people, this not only
reinforces what you already know, but also challenges your knowledge when you
are asked to explain things.

BJJ/MMA Drills

No need to do more here than to list the obvious ones such as sit-ups, pushups, and stretching.
These can also be done but the following will add variety and fun to the workouts.

Run and grab – as everyone jogs around the room warming up, the instructor calls out a
number, three for example. Everyone must then quickly get into groups of three. Whoever is not
in a group of that number does 10 pushups while everyone else resumes jogging.

Elbow escapes - Practice elbow escapes across the floor. Race others but use good form.

Sit-outs - Squat down with your hands and feet on the floor. Shoot your left leg straight out
towards the right side of your body. Your chest should turn towards the right and your right arm
should come off the ground. Keep your right foot on the floor and balance on it and your left
arm. Next, switch from this position to the same position on the opposite side. Slowly increase
your speed.

Body Drag - Lie flat on your stomach. Reach out with both hands and drag yourself forward. Do
not use your lower body, let it just drag. Move up and down the mat. This drill builds strength
and endurance in the upper body. If your mat is sticky it is really hard.
Pushup Fighting - Two people assume a pushup position facing each other with their heads
almost touching. Use your hands to sweep the opponents hands, shove him, or push down on his
head so as to make his body contact the floor.

Alligator walk – staying on your hands and feet, crawl across the floor in the manner that your
right foot and right hand end up near each other when you bring your right foot up and your left
foot and left hand are apart. When you bring your left foot up next to your left hand your right
hand advances forward. Stay as low to the floor as you can.

Rocking Chairs – using your abdominal muscles to keep yourself curved while lying on your
back, rock back and forth head to feet. Do this for a period of time such as two minutes.

Ball Balance – Using one of those large inflated exercise balls, balance yourself on your knees
as if you were in someone’s guard. Work up to two minutes. This will help improve your
balance and base, making it harder for someone to sweep you.

Core strength balance – Using one of those large inflated exercise balls, lie on the floor with
both of your feet/legs on top of the ball. Straighten your body and have only you shoulders on
the floor. Slowly take one leg off the ball and take it off to the side. The goal is to not fall off
the ball. Switch legs. This will work on your core muscles that help stabilize your body.

Striking Drills

Speed Drill - Have your partner hold a focus mitt for a punch. Starting with your hands down by
your side attempt to strike the pad while your partner tries to prevent this by moving it down. Do
not telegraph. Relax a few seconds between each attempt. For a variation, attempt to touch your
partners’ chest lightly but fast while they attempt to block.

Survival Drill – With gloves on. Defending person has their back near a wall. Partner is allowed
to punch the defender anyway and any amount that they want to. Defender cannot strike back.
They can block of course, but the defenders main goal is to shoot in and get a takedown on the
striker. Defender gets to defend the take down. After each takedown/attempt defender returns to
the wall quickly till his time is up, one minute.

1, 2, 3 Drill – wearing gloves, you and your partner take turns throwing 3 punches in
combination while the other is to block the punches. After the 3rd punch is thrown the defender
may then immediately throw his 3 punches as the other is now the defender. Work in using
Smother – your partner is the aggressor, standing in a fighting stance just out of kicking range
moving around. Whenever he decides he will move into and try to strike with his hand to your
head. Your goal is: as soon as you think he is going to move in, you are to move into him
blocking his striking hand as you simultaneously strike with your other hand. Be sure to recoil
your hands for when you advance to his throwing 2-3 punches. This is based on trapping skills.

Patterns – Practice blocking, slipping and bobbing and weaving against a preset combination
that a partner throws at you. For example partner throws a jab, cross, then hook combination.
You block, block then bob and weave. Pattern can then start again. You could also end your
blocks and evasions by loading up a strike yourself and landing it on a focus mitt you partner is
wearing instead of gloves.

Grappling Drills

Turn Over Drill - One person assumes the "turtle" position. The other person crouches or kneels
next to him. The top man attempts to turn the bottom man onto his back while the bottom man
resists. Switch positions when the bottom man is turned or after about 30 seconds. For a variation
the top man tries to get in his hooks and/or the bottom man tries to escape to the guard position
or to a sweep the top man.

Lights out – Try rolling with your eyes closed. This is a good way to increase your sensitivity to
pressure and movements

Who’s the Man – one person begins as "the man" and picks a ground position. His opponent has
one minute to improve his position or to keep "the man" from improving his position. The
winner becomes "the man" and a new opponent comes in. If the man stays in he is to not keep
starting in the same position twice in a row. As time passes it become harder for "the man" due to
fatigue vs fresh opponents.

Football – using a marked off area or goal lines. Starting on the knees, each persons goal is to
cross the goal line behind their partner. Ignore submissions for this and focus on sweeps that will
get in the desired direction.

Turtle Spin - One person assumes the "turtle" position The other person sprawls out on top with
his chest on the bottom man's back. Without using his hands, the top man spins around while
keeping his chest on the bottom man. Switch directions when signaled by instructor. Instructor or
bottom person may also give signal to quickly put in your hooks or to roll the bottom guy over.
For a solo drill try practicing this on an exercise ball.
Cowboy - One person attains "mount" position. The bottom man attempts to throw the top guy
off or to escape. The top mans goal is to stay in the mount. No submission are allowed. Go for
one minute then switch. For a variation do the same but from the turtle position with hooks in.

Flow Drill – create a pattern to practice an escapes and body movement. For example: starting in
the guard, pass the guard to side mount. Partner then elbow escapes putting you into his guard
again but he then performs a belly sweep putting him in your guard. The starting positions are
now reversed. He will pass guard to side mount. You will put him into your guard and you then
sweep him. Many combinations are possible using submissions and counters to them to keep the
action going. Try to flow from position to position smoothly without stopping.

Semi- submission rolling – with partner take turns applying submissions, after each submission
is applied (very lightly) partner then does the escape and it his then his turn to perform a
submission starting from the position he ends up in. This is a good way to practice the
submissions and the escapes as well as changing positions with a very low risk of injury.

Tag Team - Divide the class into two evenly sized and skilled teams. Have each team face each
other in lines about 10' apart. One student from each team meets in the center of the mat. When
the instructor signals, the students start to grapple, they can use any sweeps, throws or
submissions. If a person gets tapped out they are out of the game and the next person from their
team in line steps into the game. The fun part is that at any time the students can drag the other
guy over to their line and tag hands so they can switch places with a teammate. The game
continues until all players of one team are tapped out or for a time limit!

Weight lifting Suggestions

I took an old worn out gi, trimmed it so that all I had left was the collar/lapel and I use it now
instead of a bar for when I do lat pulls or seated rows.

Grappling Tips
1. Technique is more important than strength. Leverage replaces the need for brute strength.
2. Superior position is more important than submission holds. You cannot get a submission
without having position first.
3. When rolling with less skilled people practice your newer/less proficient techniques.
4. Do not apply submissions until your position is secure.
5. Do not be afraid to give up on a failing technique. Move on and save your energy.
6. Your body should be relaxed. Do not use more energy than is necessary. The fight might be a
long one!
7. For offense, space between you and your opponent is bad, unless you are deliberately
creating space to set up a technique.
8. For defense, space between you and your opponent is good, unless you are being set up for a
9. Don't give up your back. Face your opponent.
10. Don’t stick your arms out all over the place so you can be submitted.
11. Control your breathing. Save your energy.
12. Beware of multiple attackers, hidden weapons, eye gouging, biting, and other strikes.
13. Don't forget to strike, apply pressure point attacks, eye gouge, and bite your opponent if
necessary. Not appropriate for use during sporting events of course.
14. To grapple, use your whole body. Be sensitive.
15. When in a neutral position, do not commit until you are reasonably sure that you can gain the
advantage without putting yourself in danger. Immobilize your opponent as best as possible.
16. Avoid risky techniques that could put you in danger.
17. Manipulate the movements of your opponent by using feints or false openings.
18. Do not rush needlessly. Give yourself time to rest and simultaneously tire out your opponent
by putting your weight on him, especially if he is bigger/stronger.
19. Practice with people larger, smaller, and the same size as you.
20. Practice with people better, worse, and the same level as you.
21. Practice with all types of fighters. Learn how to shoot on (and clinch with) all of them.
22. It's not good to grapple in a multiple attacker situation unless you have a few friends around
to back you up.
23. Don't be afraid to tap out in practice. Avoid senseless injuries. The “Tap” is one of the best
techniques for practice. It prevents injuries. USE IT!
24. On the street, tapping out might not be an option for either you or your opponent.
25. Learn as many submission holds as possible, but concentrate on the basic ones.
26. Condition yourself physically and mentally. Grappling is an exhausting activity.
27. Practice while wearing different types of clothing
28. Help your training partners improve this will force you to get better.

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