Photo: Erin Herle

Photo: Erin Herle

Since my last blog post where I talked about how and why drilling was an important aspect to my training, I’ve received a lot of questions. Many have asked exactly how I organize my drilling, whether or not I do resistance, or if I set my drilling on a certain number of reps or do I have a set time. So now, I’m here to answer the questions and give the full layout of how I like to drill over a full week period. Now keep in mind that I am only sharing my way I prefer to go about my drilling sessions and I am not going to try to put it above anyone else’s method of drilling. There are endless ways that one can organize drilling, this is just the method that has clicked for me so far. And also keep in mind, even to this day, I’m open to adjusting my drilling routine if I find that something may work even better than the method I had before. But finally, lets get to it.

As I stated in the last post, I always have three drilling sessions planned per day for Monday through Friday and on Saturday’s I schedule two drilling sessions. In each session I always focus on drilling something different so that I continue to stay sharp in all aspects of the game. In the morning session, starting at 11:15am, I focus on guard and for one entire week I focus on one specific guard with three to four variations. For example this past week I focused more on my de la riva sweeps and berimbolo variations both when my opponent is standing and sitting in double guard pull. Now in the coming week I plan on focusing my attention more on the spiderguard going into the single-X and X-guard positions. In the afternoon session, which starts shortly after training at 2pm, I drill what I feel like needs more work at the time. Based off of how training went that afternoon I may either work on my guard passing or my guard. I will also leave the afternoon session to try new things as I’ve now used the session for drilling takedowns on no-gi days. Then finally at night starting an hour before second training session at 6pm, I focus on guard passing solely. There, like when drilling from guard, I will focus on a specific guard to pass and work three or four variations. In each drilling session I like to have each technique I drill connect with one another and have them all branch off each other.

Consistently drilling the berimbolo was the key to it working in the absolute at the New York Open. Photo: John "Ric" Ricard

Consistently drilling the berimbolo was the key to it working in the absolute at the New York Open. Photo: John “Ric” Ricard

The way I got to this method was from a lot of trial and error. In the past I would only drill guard passing for an entire month, in all sessions, and then a month of guard play. I felt as though I were limiting myself and that although it’s good to have specific goals to work on, I should still be open to training all positions at any time. From there I broke it up to where I am able to stay focused on and set a specific goal for each position.

In my drilling sessions I don’t ask my partners for “resistance” per say, but we always make sure to keep a solid base and not just flop when the driller performs a sweep. Also, once a competition is coming up, in the afternoon drilling sessions I will do more speed drills doing half of the round focusing on getting each detail correct then the second half going all out speed.

When I drill I prefer to do my sessions for time, as it’s hard for me to tell what the proper number of reps would be. In the morning and night sessions before my two training sessions I will drill for approximately one hour, and my partner and I will drill 10 x 3 minute rounds each with each of us able to drill what we have planned for ourselves. Then in the afternoon session after the first training of the day, my partner and I will drill for approximately 40 minutes and do 6 x 3 minute rounds each. If you haven’t noticed by now, I like to keep track of how much time I spent being productive on the mats, so ideally I like to be drilling back-and-forth for anywhere between two-and-a-half to three-hours a day. I have come to believe that the more time one can put in, the better.

The Jiu-Jitsu Journal

The Jiu-Jitsu Journal

One thing that has gone against my theory of drilling as much as possible comes from those that don’t have enough time to spend three extra hours on the mat drilling. Check out the tips given to those who cram for time in an article on the Jiu-Jitsu Journal blog here.


So, although it is not necessary at all to copy the schedule I have if you can pick up a thing or two to implement when organizing your drilling than I will feel like this post was a success! Also, if you have further questions, feel free to ask here or on my facebook page. Talk to you all again soon. Osss!

Gianni Grippo
Marcelo Garcia Black Belt | English Major at Montclair State University | NJ/NYC
  • JP

    Great Article, thanks for sharing.
    I start taking the drilling sessions serious about a year ago and it change everything!!! i wish i start doing it earlier.

    August 5th, 2014 18:56

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