Most guys at our gym will always choose an hour of sparring over an hour of drilling or specific sparring. Sparring is good, don't get me wrong but drilling also has its place. I'm a strong believer that you should repeat something 10,000 times before you can say you have mastered it. Take mount escapes as an example. When I end up mounted during sparring, I usually try to bridge them off regardless of their position and weight distribution. In my mind I am feeling the clock tick down and the opponent up on at least 4 points or more for the mount. This stops me from thinking clearly and not engage my mind and body together to apply a correct technique. I am not in the moment. However, if you put this in a scenario where you say to you partner "My goal is to escape, yours is to submit me during mount". It condenses everything you are doing to a single act. It allows me to have a deeper focus on exactly what I am doing. The goals are clearly defined and that's all I need to concentrate on. I like to think of this as "funneling". Funneling my energy for one specific task. I don't care about what happens after I escape. It doesn't matter if I am submitted because we just reset and I get to go again. Eventually, doing this 100s of times, I will improve the escape. This is in comparison with sparring, where you might get into a certain position maybe once or twice in that night. Add that up over a year and tell me that specific training will not improve your BJJ.
I wish our lesson was split like this:
1 self-defence technique
1 escape technique
1 submission and 1 counter to the submission
1 sweep and 1 counter to the sweep
So a typical lesson might look like:
- Guillotine self-defence x 20 (2 variations of takedown - knee tap/pick up and slam)
- Side control escape to reguard x 20
- Armbar from side control x 20
- Armbar defence/escape by stacking x 20
- Hip bump sweep x 20
- Sweep prevention by raising the hips and pass x 20
For 6 rounds at 4 minutes I would have everyone practice side control defence while the other person goes for the armbar we just learnt.
Set each round to 4 minutes so you get 30 minutes including 1 min to switch/rest.
Free sparring in the remaining time.
Doing it like this would cover all your bases. You would learn an escape, a sweep and a submission. The more closesly related the techniques are the better. For example, a person can escape from side control and reguard then apply a hip bump sweep. He could also prevent the hip bump sweep, pass to side control and submit with the armbar. This would get the student to think about linking techniques early. There is method in my madness.
K-sensei came back from Taiwan last night and said that filming wasn't allowed during the Caio Terra seminar. Pity, because I would have liked to see what it was like. Apparently, he taught dela Riva in gi and reverse dela Riva in nogi. K-sensei had just got off the plane and came to the dojo. I watched him spar with Matt and afterwards touch his mouth checking for blood. Miura-san (aka Tsunami) caught K-sensei in a gorilla arm-twisting technique that caused him to tap from a wrist lock. Jiu-jitsu is harsh! I also trained side control escapes with Miura and his pressure is super good. He does the 100 kg side control, on the balls of his feet. He told me that he waits for me to breath out then times it to push into me so that I cannot take a full breath. I felt it and it was not fun!
Sparring time: 6 x 6 mins = 36 mins