Organize your own jiu-jitsu drilling class, part 1

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All you need is a place, like-minded training partners and a timer / Photo by Erin Herle

By Erin Herle

Sometimes classes aren’t enough to refine your technique. A lot of training can and will be done during scheduled classes at your academy but in order to really do your homework and solidify techniques, you must drill the moves repeatedly. Many athletes run into problems when organizing drilling sessions becomes difficult. Do you have partners? Do you have time? Do you have a location? Do you have a routine?

Getting started is the hardest part but with some guidance from Gianni Grippo at Renzo Gracie Academy NYC, you can organize your own Jiu-Jitsu drilling classes. Established after he returned from winning his fifth world title at the Long Beach Pyramid in July of 2011. As he reached the higher levels he knew he had a need for focused, consistent and technical training. He filled the need by gathering like-minded individuals at his academy and organized his own classes.


Here are some tips for how you can organize your own specific Jiu-Jitsu training:

What you need: Location, Like-Minded Individuals, Timer

Plan a location

If necessary, clear any permissions with your instructors or facility owners. You may have to designate the mat time beforehand, ask for space every time or if you’re lucky, you can block the space and time for a regular basis. Should you be unable to gain access to your school, consider buying mats and training at a garage or home base. There are many options.

Find interested candidates

Part of running your own class is the benefit of choice. Choice for where, when and especially who. If you have a certain standard for who you want to train with, make your class entirely invitational. You can add restrictions or you can make it an open class. Remember that if you are a higher belt, you may spend a lot of your time teaching than training should you allow lower belts or beginners.

Have a lesson plan

If you want to run your class similar to the way your instructor organizes classes, it would be limiting your opportunity. Save the type of training you do in class for just that — your scheduled classes. Use these drilling classes to make sure you are working on what you feel is lacking. Plan a lesson plan each time that designates how much time is spent on each aspect. Remember, you can warm-up, drill, spar, focus on submissions, competition aspects and anything else.

Use your time wisely

Designate how much time will be spent on each type of training. Make sure you spend a good amount of drilling and specific situation. The lesson plan you write should have a set time or amount of reps so that no time is wasted. Don’t take too many breaks and when there are breaks, plan them ahead. Try to let everyone know the lesson plan before the class starts, that way everyone knows how to pace themselves and what to expect.

Be consistent

Try to set a date and time that works best for everyone. Start a public or secret group on Facebook purely for your members and make sure communication is open. Make it a democracy, allowing suggestions that way everyone can feel they are gaining something of this type of opportunistic and unique training. If you want to switch the schedule for who is running class, organize one-on-one last minute drilling sessions, create a group calendar or anything else to stay organized, these can all be accomplished through Facebook.

Most importantly, know that you are in charge of your own training regardless of how you see it. How much appreciation you have for the art, how much energy you put forth in training, how much dedication you place on the lifestyle, it is purely your own doing. Create your own training atmosphere, start today.

Part two has lesson plans for your convenience!


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