Drilling For BJJ 101

If you’ve been practicing BJJ for awhile, you’ve probably heard/used the phrase: “Drillers are killers”. Indeed, drilling for BJJ has been found to be effective by many students, especially in learning new techniques. There’s no better way to spend your spare time before and after class than drilling, helping you expand your library of techniques further than you could have ever imagined.

As wonderful as it may sound, the harsh reality is that not everyone enjoys drilling. After all, it requires constant repetition, which is definitely not as exciting as sparring. However, with the right mindset, drilling is undoubtedly one of the fastest ways to take your BJJ game to the next level.

Technical Drilling 

Technical drilling emphasizes on refining technique. With each repetition, your goal should be to gradually improve, making fewer mistakes as time goes by. When you are trying to learn a new technique or movement, or trying to understand a technique you’re struggling with in class, technical drilling is definitely the way to go.

Movement Drilling

Just like technical drilling, your aim with movement drilling is to improve your technique. However, movement drilling is more speed based, testing your cardio, speed, coordination and timing.


When you’ve decided on your purpose for drilling, you need to decide how you’re going to drill. There are two ways to program drills:


This type of drilling works best for technical drilling. You can choose to set a timer, but what is important is that both you and your partner get the same number of repetitions per side.
  • Choose the technique you’d like to work on. Because you and your partner will alternate, you can both choose different techniques. However, it is advisable that you choose the same technique to prevent confusion.
  • Do the technique at least 10 times each, 5 times each side.

Timed Drilling

If you’d like to work on movement based drills, timed drilling is your best bet. Timed drilling is done for speed, similar to interval training.
  • Choose a technique you’d like to work on and set a timer for 30 seconds to one minute. Your aim should be to do as many repetitions as you can in that timeframe.
  • Alternate with your partner – you’d be surprised at how breathless you’d feel even after just 30 seconds!

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is also known as the game of human chess.

If you feel like drilling is tedious, don’t worry. Read below for some tips on how to make drilling more fun:
  • Always have a goal in mind – As we mentioned above, you should decide beforehand which technique you’d like to work on. There is nothing more pointless than aimless drilling. By setting a goal for each drilling session, you’d be more motivated to get through it.
  • Pick the right drilling partner – You don’t have to pick your favorite training buddy or someone who’s a friend, you need to find someone with similar goals. This will help keep things efficient and straightforward.
  • Drill what you’ve just learned in class – There’s no better time to drill new techniques than when they’re still fresh in your mind. It’s also a good way to make sure you can incorporate them in your BJJ game.


In the game of human chess, where every advantage counts, plugging all the holes in your game and improving your techniques are goals that all students should have. There’s no doubt that a few minutes of drilling before and after class will help give you that advantage.


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