Nobody Likes Drilling Sweeps

sumi-gaeshiDrilling is about doing something 50, 100, 500 times. When you do something 100 times, the little unpleasant aspects get magnified.

There are techniques where my drilling partner does nothing more than put their body in the correct position, provide the correct resistance, and maybe move their arms and legs in a certain way. There’s not much strain on them, and their body never has to hit the mat. A good example of such a technique is the x-pass or almost any guard pass.

On the other hand, there are techniques that do require the partner’s body to get some air time and hit the mat. In judo, it’s throws, in bjj, it’s sweeps. The basic butterfly sweep, for example, seems innocent at first, but when done a lot of times with good technique can put a lot of impact strain on the partner’s shoulder.

As you can probably already tell, I have a seemingly excessive concern for my drilling partner’s well being. Part of it has to do with my nature. But mainly, it’s just a fact that the less pain involved in drilling the longer you can drill, the more willing you will be to drill, and the more likely you are to be in a good mood while drilling. I all for working hard and working through the pain, but if you don’t have to, it’s much better. Work smarter not harder.

This is why I’ve drilled guard passing much more than sweeps. But that slowly has to change. While I play the butterfly game a lot in training, there is no substitute for drilling.

There is no deep insight in this post, just some thoughts. I often struggle with techniques that may be painful to my training partner. From day one, I loved the idea that jiu jitsu has a large number of techniques (e.g. chokes) that could painlessly defeat somebody going 100%. The problem is that there are techniques that do cause pain on their way to submission, everything ranging from armlocks to neck cranks to certain versions of arm-in chokes to wrist locks to calf crushers. That’s effective beautiful jiu jitsu as well. I continue to struggle with finding a place for these techniques in my game and my personality.

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