Strategy For BJJ Open Mats – BJJ Fanatics

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Do you have a strategy going into an open mat, or do you just show up and go with the flow?  

Some things I noticed today as I looked around the open mat at my academy. I noticed the Professor came in with a plan, much like some of our best competitors and teammates I would consider to be tough.  

Let’s start at the beginning. The first thing I noticed was that these guys came in and had a structured warm up they did on their own. Often times I think the warm up is overlooked and seen as a burden, or unnecessary, which couldn’t be more untrue.  The warm up is crucial to preventing injury, and should be taken seriously.

The next thing I noticed is these guys have a plan.  They know what they are going for from the moment we slap hands, and likely have a plan b, and even a plan c in most cases.  It seems that this is a crucial turning point in the jiu-jitsu journey. Developing your “game” as it’s called. It’s easy to go in and slap hands during an open mat and just see what happens, but the question is, is that really making you any better?  

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Are you developing a new skill? What are you doing to add to your game? It’s important, especially for the practitioners that get limited mat time or live training time, to ask these questions and have a plan. Is today a day that you work on escaping from a spot that you find yourself getting into too often?  Or maybe today’s plan is to attack takedowns. Communicate your plan with your training partners and get them on board with your plan so they can help you in live training and or drilling.

Finally, the other thing I noticed is these guys were strategic about who they rolled with and worked different techniques with each.  For example, bigger stronger guys are more focused on technique when rolling with a smaller or less experienced grappler, while when rolling with someone more skilled, and or stronger they were able to work on techniques like top pressure, knee on belly, etc.

The point is, to maximize your time on the mats during live training, have a plan.  What’s your warm up?

What specifically are you working to improve today from an offensive perspective as well as defensive perspective?  What is your goal, and how do you plan to measure if it was a successful live training session?

If nothing else, try adding a few drills to your warm up and pick up a video instructional on your favorite submission, and your worst defensive position and get to work learning all the ends and outs of these spots, giving you tons of material to work during live training.  

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