5 Grappling Tips on How to Drill Techniques for Mat Success!

September 13, 2009

Ask The Wise Grappler:

“I bought the last product you had out [21 Mat Laws of Grappling]
and you talk about drilling being very important (I think it’s
Point #3). Can you explain drilling to me? I know it sounds like
a dumb question but another proverb says, ‘A wise man can learn
more from a dumb question than a fool can learn from a wise
answer.’ Do you drill a move, a position, a series?”

The Wise Grappler writes:

¬†Well, there’s a long and short answer to that question and I’ll
give them both to you.

The short answer is yes, you drill a move, position, and technique
until the moves become mechanical and can be executed without
thinking about it, like you tie your shoelaces or even breathe.
You’ve been doing both of those activities for so long that you’re
no longer aware of the fact that you do them without thought,
especially the breathing part!

The long answer on how you drill the moves, techniques, and
positions until they become mechanical and reflexive have been
captured and broken down in the following 5 key points:

1. Drilling the Technique Right – This mean having the mechanical
motion, grips, body position, correct breathing pattern, and proper
visual alignment so that you can see the “mat battlefield” to know
when your opponent is vulnerable and susceptible to the technique.

2. Drilling to Execute the Technique Quickly – Now that you know
how to do the technique right, you have to master doing the
technique quickly before the window of opportunity closes on you.
Just because you can do the technique on a willing partner, that
won’t guarantee that you’ll execute it with the same sense of
urgency during a live match.

3. Drilling the Technique under Stress – Just because you can do
the technique right and fast, that doesn’t mean that you’ll do it
under a “live” (stress) situation and you have to account for that
as well. You need to apply your techniques at different stages of
successfully locking in the technique (etc. 30% applied, 50%
applied, 70% applied, etc.) and have your partner fight out of it
at different levels of resistance (30%, 50%, 70%, etc.).

4. Drilling under Common and Uncommon Scenarios – Every technique
should work under ideal conditions, but will your technique hold up
when you’re tired, your opponent’s sweaty, your opponent is (or
isn’t) wearing a gi, you’re injured, you develop a cramp in your
arm or leg, etc.? That’s why you need to drill those techniques in
common or uncommon scenarios that are likely to occur, especially
if you’re competing. You should RARELY encounter a situation for
the first time during a competition. If you do, your training plan
has holes in it that need to be closed.

5. Drilling with the Technique Failing – This mean that we’re
expecting to execute the technique in such a way that it’s not
effective enough to submit or gain a dominant position on our
partners and we’ve thought out the common “mat tendencies” on what the opponent will do to resist. Once you’re able to determine the
tendencies and integrate that into the drilling, that will allow
you to account for your opponent’s ability to counter and fight off
your triangle attack… but walk right into your armbar attack.

Also, you need to keep in mind that this is just the top layer of
what I call my “OG Drilling Tree” and that each one of these five
key points has multiple subsections underneath it. But for now, I
think this will give you enough insight to modify your training
plan to start implementing these points immediately.

I’m going to shoot a video on this topic soon that should clarify
any points that I’ve missed in this response, but I hope this