The Purpose of Sparring and Rolling

The purpose of BJJ Sparring is to safely try out your techniques against resistance. This is not the same as fighting and I’ve found that people who are overly competitive in sparring usually make very limited progress in their training. Sparring rounds need to provide realistic resistance without being too competitive. One factor which makes BJJ so effective is that students can spar relatively safely and can try out the techniques in a realistic manner not long after learning them. This gives the student feedback about whether they were practicing the techniques correctly,

Safety

As with any activity related to training, there’s no point in doing it if it can’t be done safely. All techniques need to be executed in a controlled manner. As a student you should use only techniques that you know and understand. Also, focus on techniques that your partner also knows and understands. Don’t try to catch your training partners with ’Trick’ moves that they haven’t seen before and which haven’t been taught in class. Training partners may not recognise the danger and might not tap or may react unpredictably.

Safety Rules

Apply all joint locks in a slow and controlled manner rather than jerking them on quickly. Make sure you give your training partner enough time to tap out even if that means they might have time to escape the submission attempt.

For all choke techniques make sure that pressure is actually being applied in an even manner to the neck rather than just cranking on the neck or jaw.

Move in a controlled manner rather than jumping around or swinging your hands, elbows, knees, feet and head into your training partners.

If you are heavier than your training partner avoid driving your weight into your partner or using your strength or weight advantage to muscle your way in or out of positions.

Avoid sparring in an overly competitive or intense manner

Make sure both your training partner and yourself understand the techniques which will be allowed

How to Start the Round

Its important to avoid wasting time in your training. One of the biggest wastes of time in BJJ training is to spend too long wrestling from your knees in an unrealistic situation. There are two options to get around this, first both partners can start off from standing position (however this is usually not suitable for injury prone beginners), The second option is to just start on the ground in a more realistic position, for example, one partner on bottom closed guard or open guard and then go live from there.

Have a Purpose

Have a few techniques and strategies in mind to work on during the round. For example, this could be one submission or sweep from guard or certain type of guard pass. I’ve found that its usually counter productive to tell your partner what you intend to work on as they will often feel obliged to let you do your technique which defeats the purpose or even worse they may try to block your attempts completely. It’s also a good idea to have a few options for what you want to work on just in case you can’t get to the position you need to get to to work on your chosen techniques.

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