Jiu Jitsu Agility Drills

Jiu-Jitsu agility drills are important for one main reason: they let you actually use your jiu-jitsu game. Since even before Royce Gracie burst onto the martial arts scene at UFC 1, jiu-jtsu practitioners have claimed their art gave smaller individuals the ability to defend themselves against larger, stronger individuals. That's not because jiu-jitsu teaches you to simply out-muscle your opponents, but because it teaches you to be more agile than your opponent and to use your body's leverage against them. These are examples of agility drills that can help make your jiu-jitsu game more effective.

  1. Triangle-Ups. Triangle-ups are simply drilling the proper technique for a triangle choke without a partner. Start by lying on your back in proper defensive stance, hands and feet up, knees and elbows tight. Roll up onto your shoulders and extend your hips straight up and as high as you can, then triangle your legs. Alternate which side you triangle as you repeat the drill. Not only will this drill improve your triangle choke technique, it will make your overall back game more dangerous by increasing your hip strength and mobility (particularly because it builds your muscle memory to extend your hips off the ground hard when throwing up a submission attempt).
  2. Sprawl Drills. Practicing your sprawl constantly will, of course, make you more difficult to take down, but it will also increase your movement speed and reaction time, particularly in your hips.
  3. Bridge Drills. You will bridge to begin a wide variety of sweeps, escapes and transitions, so this is a valuable drill simply for that reason. But it also builds a lot of core strength and endurance that applies to other moves as well. For best results, alternate between an angled bridge over one shoulder, a straight bridge centered over both shoulders (roll up off your shoulders onto your head once you're strong enough), then another angled bridge over the other shoulder.
  4. Shrimp Drills. One of the most common movements in jiu-jitsu, the shrimp is used for countless escapes and offensive setups. It also strengthens your core and legs. Shrimping across the mat and alternating sides is a great warm-up before training as well.
  5. Repping. You've probably noticed a theme in the drills listed above—repetition. Muscle memory is critical to become an effective grappler. If you have to consciously think about how to perform a specific move when an opening presents itself, you will constantly be a step behind your opponent. If, however, you drill—not only moves, but portions of moves—so many times that you can complete them in your sleep, your body will perform them automatically. This, in combination with the increased strength and flexibility you develop physically, will cause dramatic improvements in your jiu-jitsu game.
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