What Is BJJ Drilling?

BJJ training is made up of 3 main parts, warm-up, drilling and sparring. It is time to break down the concept of drilling in Jiu-Jitsu, why it matters and how to do it. Let’s go!

What Is BJJ Drilling?

BJJ drilling is the process of practicing techniques over and over again with a training partner without resistance. Typically, you start in a specific position and then perform a technique demonstrated by the coach.

The way that BJJ training is structured is that the coach will show you techniques in front of the class. Then after he has finished demonstrating you will partner up with one of your classmates and perform the shown technique. This practice is known as drilling.

During drilling you will perform the movement over and over again usually for a set period of time. For example the coach may show an armbar from guard and then you are expected to perform this exact movement until the coach tells you to stop.

Why BJJ Drilling Is Important?

Drilling in BJJ is important because it allows athletes to learn and practice new techniques without having to deal with resistance. It is also effective at increasing an athlete’s speed and fluidity.

Drilling is a fundamental aspect of BJJ. Drilling follows the principle of you have to walk before you can run. An athlete can not be expected to perform a brand new technique in a match or in sparring if they have never practiced it.

Drilling simplifies BJJ by removing resistance which makes it easier for athletes to practice techniques. Drilling is the first step of learning a BJJ movement and once an athlete can perform a technique correctly during drilling they are ready to start performing it during sparring and under resistance.

Drilling also allows BJJ athletes to practice a particular movement over and over again. During a match or in sparring you may only end up in certain positions a handful of times, limiting your ability to practice moves. With drilling you only focus on one small aspect of BJJ allowing you to get in lots of reps increasing your skill acquisition.

Another important aspect of drilling in BJJ is that it is highly effective at improving an athlete’s movement quality and speed. It is normal when BJJ players are first learning a move to perform it slowly but as they become more confident in their technique they speed up the process. By performing hundreds and thousands of reps BJJ athletes can turn themselves into lightning quick submission machines.

How Do You Drill In BJJ?

To drill in BJJ you should perform a particular technique over and over again. You should start slow and slowly increase the speed. You can also ask your partner to increase the resistance once your technique is solid.

  • The first step to drilling in BJJ is determining what technique you are going to practice. If you are taking a class the coach will choose the techniques for you.
  • The next step is performing the technique slowly and focusing on performing every thing correctly. Don’t worry if you forget a step just try your best and you will eventually get the hang of it.
  • Once you start performing the move correctly you can start increasing your speed and being more explosive. Remember to still be safe with your partner and not crank any submissions and give them time to tap.
  • If you feel like your technique is rock solid you can ask your training partner to offer some resistance. Resistance makes performing the move more realistic and will get you prepared for sparring.

Here are some tips on how to be a good drilling partner:

  • Establish who will go first and how many reps you will perform – During drilling it is common to perform 2 to 3 reps and then alternate. Some training partners like performing more or less so its best to figure out your ideal pattern.
  • Only resist if asked by your partner – The status quo in BJJ drilling is not to offer resistance and only to do so if explicitly asked by your partner. There is nothing more frustrating then trying to learn a new technique and then having your drilling partner resisting like its sparring.
  • Don’t be a dead fish – While you shouldn’t offer resistance you also shouldn’t act like you are made of paper. You should give the correct reactions and make your training partner move you to perform the technique.
  • Remember the technique – It can be frustrating if you are constantly stopping and pausing training to ask how to perform the move. This stopping and starting can limit the amount of reps your training partner can perform. Most training partners will be patient with you especially if you are a beginner but try your best to remember how to perform the technique.

How Often Should I Drill BJJ?

Drilling in BJJ should be performed every time you train. To increase your BJJ skill rapidly you should be drilling 5 to 6 times a week for an hour each session.

Drilling is the most effective way to learn new BJJ techniques and also polish your existing techniques. Due to this drilling should make up a large percentage of your training and should be included in all of your training sessions.

Drilling in BJJ is multi-purposed it can be used as a warm-up, for cardio development and also for skill improvement. As it has so many benefits you should be drilling as often as you can, ideally 5 to 6 times a week for an hour.

The ideal BJJ session would look something like this:

  • 30 minute warm-up
  • 1 hour drilling
  • 30 minute sparring


Now you should know exactly what BJJ athletes mean by drilling (practicing techniques repeatedly with a partner who is offering no resistance).

You should also understand its importance (learn new techniques, increase speed and fluidity), how to do it (start off slow, and gradually increase speed) and how often you should be performing it (every training session, ideally 5 to 6 days a week). Remember drilling is the first step to BJJ mastery so you better start now!

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