There are many ways of running a jiu jitsu class. You might start it with a warm up or you might not. You might show the same set of techniques every day for a week or you might switch it up more often than that. You might force everyone to be quiet or you might create a more relaxed atmosphere. You might do positional training or you might not. If there’s a training part of the class you might run it as an open mat where everyone pairs up themselves, or you might pick the pairs. You might strongly encourage everyone to get through a fixed set of training sets or you might let people sit-out or leave when they choose. You might start the training from the feet or from the knees or give people the option. And so on…
There are positive and negative aspects to all of these approaches. I’ve trained long enough (which is not very long) and visited enough schools to know that there is no one perfect system. I believe any approach can be made to work by a student for any goal. Some might be tougher than others, but if you’re willing to experiment, evolve, and work together with your training partners and coaches, the sky is the limit.
All that said, I really enjoyed today’s afternoon class. There were probably 40 or so people. All we did the whole time is drill. 5 minute rounds each person. Three simple backtake techniques. Over and over. We weren’t allowed to talk, ask questions (unless we absolute had to), have lengthy philosophical discussions. We were told to drill and everyone did just that. I felt like a book nerd who got to spend the afternoon at the library.
That’s exactly the approach I like when I drill outside of class. I’m lucky to have a close group of excellent drilling partners from white belt to black belt, and the freedom and support from the school to drill to my heart’s content.
By the way, my favorite sight on the jiu jitsu mat is killer brown belts or black belts drilling. It’s rare, because they’re already good enough to where when they roll, they’re basically drilling. But it’s not the same thing, because the amount of reps you get in a focused drilling session is much higher. Anyway, whenever I see people drilling outside of class (especially the higher ranks) I’m inspired to work even harder myself.