Two gadgets to help you train more efficiently for any age or belt rank

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Drilling with a timer keeps you better on track. Physical timer or app works great. / Photo by Erin Herle

The great thing about Jiu-Jitsu is that you don’t need much equipment to train. If you have mats, a training partner and a mode of learning, you can practice the gentle art.

But sometimes using some gadgets or optional avenues can help you get more knowledge and practice even more efficiently. Here are two very easy pieces of equipment to facilitate your Jiu-Jitsu training and how to use them:

A timer app

These days you have many available products that allow app downloading. Usually this can be in the form of a phone: Android, Windows, Iphone. If not, you can use a computer like a PC or Mac or any kind of tablet like an Ipad, Kindle, Nook, etc. There are tons on the market. Locate your app store and download an application that lets you use a timer. An app that controls sets of time allows you to:

  • Organize timed rolls or sparring
  • Manage your repetitions for drilling specific techniques
  • Set how long you want to work with someone for specific training
  • Design a circuit training of exercises, solo drills or both

Some of the highest rated apps for example are: Timer+, @Timer, Interval Timer – For Fitness and Workout, Impetus Interval Timer

Tip: Put the time  of your set to 2:00 or 3:00 with an interval time of 0:10 to 0:20. If you are using a circuit training, know which moves or exercises you want to add into the routine, set up whatever equipment you need and then keep your interval time and set time rather low. If you’re focused on drilling a move, make it a longer set time to make sure you’re able to get enough repetitions in and lengthen the interval time so your partner has enough time to prepare for his/her moves.


While we always recommend you seek out an instructor and/or Jiu-Jitsu academy, it’s never a bad idea to do your own research as supplemental training. Accessing YouTube through an app or via the website, you can scour an endless amount of Jiu-Jitsu resources. Use YouTube to:

  • Upload your own matches from competitions to share with friends and family, as well as for review now and then to know what you need to work on
  • Watch matches either of future opponents, teammates, or high level guys to learn some new tricks and stay up-to-date with the competition scene
  • Learn techniques from other practitioners. There are some unqualified people who upload these types of video so be aware. To be sure, either know who is teaching and their credentials or just refer to our GRACIEMAG channel for plenty of moves taught by the most technical and experienced black belts in the world

Tip: Make an account and use the “watch later” function or create a Jiu-Jitsu playlist and add the videos you like so you can refer to them later. Separate drills and techniques from notable matches. Do your research to know what you want to study. Never supplement your academy’s training routine for YouTube videos and never assume that what’s you’ve learned online makes you an expert. Watching matches is a great way to see what the experts are using and along with their tutorials you can bring the information to your next class and talk about it with your instructor.

Blending the two resources

Once you have your app and you have an idea of what you would like to research, you can take a move or concept and drill it with the timed sets under supervision of your instructor. Using these two together have helped some of the best competitors and practitioners better understand the art they love.

Check out this sample GRACIEMAG technique video to get you started:

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