Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling style of martial arts known for its ground techniques and submission holds. A typical class structure for Jiu-Jitsu consists of warm-ups, the technique(s) of the day, and, last but not least, sparring (or rolling).
Drilling techniques are necessary to refine and become more efficient with them. And sparring is also important in testing your skill and technique against live resistance. It is the only martial art where you can regularly spar at maximum intensity. That is jiu jitsu's true advantage.
Some coaches or gyms really emphasize the drilling while others emphasize the sparring. And if you are a new practitioner, you may wonder how important sparring is in your practice, and how sparring fits into your progression as a Jiu-Jitsu player.
In this article, we discuss the importance of sparring and how it fits into your Jiu-Jitsu goal.
Advantages of Sparring Sessions
Live sparring sessions provide tremendous benefits and growth to your Jiu-Jitsu skills. As a white belt, the struggles from sparring with a black belt or even a blue belt could be frustrating. You feel like they have magical powers that allow them to predict your movements and flow flawlessly between techniques. But truth be told, it is due to the years of sharpening their technique, broadening their skills and discovering the finer details in sparring sessions that allows them this capability.
General Overall Benefits of Rolling/Sparring
- Learn new nuances to techniques as your sparring partners resists and attempt to counter them.
- Know how to distribute your weight and apply pressure at different angles.
- Be able to feel and predict your training partner's movements.
- Learn how to recognize people’s strategic patterns.
- Increase your ability to grapple in a calm and controlled manner instead of being reckless. As a result, this will allow you to spar for longer periods of time and exchange techniques with fluid movements.
How Sparring Improves Your Offense
- Improves awareness for finding submission openings and timing its applications.
- Allows you to experiment on resisting partners.
- Enhance your ability to chain different submission techniques together based on the teammate’s reactions.
How Sparring Improves Your Defense
- Be able to stay calm in bad and uncomfortable positions.
- Get better at tapping to submissions before unnecessary injuries occur. Know when you are caught and be able to understand that you should concede to your opponent rather than letting a joint lock attempt go pass the threshold dictated by the human body.
- Learn how to find pattern in your teammates' game and how they chain submission techniques together.
- Improve your ability to create openings and scrambling opportunities.
- Observe adjustments needed for escaping submissions.
Even though “winning” or submitting your training partners feels amazing, there are greater lessons that could be learned from these sparring sessions.
- First, it provides the ability to simulate real-life scenarios that cannot be replicated by simply drilling Jiu-Jitsu techniques.
- Forcing yourself into uncomfortable situations will grow your game.
- Gaining the respect from higher-level partners normally results in them giving you tips on particular techniques or adjustments that are not discussed in class.
- Sparring with your friends and teammates is an opportunity to experiment, learn, and have fun. Save the nerve-racking behavior and stubbornness to tap for the competitive tournaments.
I truly believe that sparring is a must if you are physically capable and not injured because of the positive impacts it has on your learning curve. At the end of the day, we all share the common goal of being better at Jiu-Jitsu every time we step on the mats.
Remember, if you are going to spar, you should always have a mouth guard. Accidents happen quite a bit during Jiu-Jitsu sparring. MMA Life recommends the Shock Doctor mouthguard , but there are other good ones out there.