Rolling slowly can create some interesting transitions you might not otherwise find

Are you starting out Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, getting tapped left and right even though you’re trying your hardest to do well when you roll at class? This little bit of BJJ advice may be exactly what you need to take your game to the next level: try slowing down.

This advice is very counter-intuitive for many. When you are first presented with this fantastic martial art we call jiu jitsu (or BJJ), one of the main attractive points is that you get to roll right away- trying out your techniques on a fully resisting opponent, who is simultaneously trying things out on you. Some say that jiu jitsu is like chess, and to a certain extent it is; but it’s even more than that. You can even use speed, strength, and other physical attributes in order to accomplish your objectives.

I’m telling you right now that if you are always rolling at a fast pace, you are missing the big picture. Here are three huge reasons why:

1.  When you always move quickly, you are seldom going to process anywhere near all of the information that you’re presented.  

Sure, you’ve drilled certain moves dozens of times in class.  That’s certainly a necessary component to understanding BJJ.  However, during live rolling, you are presented a possibly infinite number of small variations on every single scenario that you’ve drilled in class.  Take the time necessary for your brain to answer the question:  What was different in how my partner reacted?  What should/could I have done differently?  Above all else, why did this happen?

2. If you always roll fast, you will simply beat certain training partners just because you’re moving faster than they are. Congratulations, you’ve won the Gym Olympics for the night! But remember that your objective isn’t to tap out your partners by whatever means necessary. Your objective is always to figure out how to tap your partners.

In many cases, your slowest moving partners are going to be your most technical partners.  This means that they have a great deal to offer you in terms of intelligent resistance to the techniques you’re trying.  This is incredibly important in understanding BJJ!  You have to let your partners show you what they have to offer in order to maximize the benefit to training.

3.  Your training partners will appreciate the attention to technique, and they will also learn more.

Put in very simple terms, if your partners progress, you progress.  If your partners are learning your game, it will force you to adapt and learn new tricks, or refine the existing tricks.

The paradox:  by slowing everything down, you will dramatically speed up your jiu jitsu evolution.