BJJ is a long journey and the power of repetition is of utmost importance for improvement.
The two videos that we share today are the two most influential videos that we believe there are on the subject.
Repetition In BJJ With Keith Owen: Tapping 10,000 Times
The first is Keith Owen who talks about tapping 10,000 times on his way to becoming a black belt. The video is from 2009 (Skip to the 2:40 minute mark to get into the meat of it). We don’t always think of tapping as a form of repetition, but Keith strongly argues its importance. I have seen firsthand the effectiveness of a willingness to tap for safety and the punishment of those who do not follow this process experience. I have discovered that the first 5,000 taps or so are pretty easy to get as a white belt, however, the next 5,000 are harder and harder as we improve.
Keith Owen talks about his BJJ background, tapping 10,000 times on your way to black belt and injury management in jiu-jitsu.
Repetition In BJJ With Eddie Bravo: Magic Drills
Another video (from 2007!) is Eddie Bravo who talks about the magic number of repetitions in BJJ. This video helped me not to feel frustrated with the new moves and thinking about focused drilling. One repetition at a time will eventually accumulate that “magic number”. Why wait? Start drilling right away and collect your numbers.
The concepts in these two videos combine to form a recipe for improvement.
See related article: –> Solo Drills To Improve Your Guard
Then we have a video from Chewjitsu, which focuses more on the technical aspect of drilling.
Do you need to drill techniques for a certain number of repetitions in BJJ or should you focus on just setting a timer and performing the technique for as many repetitions as possible during the duration?
We can all agree that performing the technique over and over again until it feels 100% automated, requires little thought and can therefore be used with less physical energy.
But what is the best way to go about it?
Nick Albin from Chewjitsu shares some of his ideas in this video. The fun part about this is that some of the things he has come to believe, based on training for almost 20 years, coincide with a lot of what science has found in relation to motor learning.
The basic idea is to initially focus on performing a small number of repetitions in BJJ (3-10) of the BJJ drill or BJJ technique. This allows the BJJ practitioner to perform the technique and set the movement and take a break between letting go of his partner or getting feedback from his coach.
Once the movement is set, that is – the movement feels smooth and doesn’t require a lot of conscious effort – he then moves on to time-based drilling.
This is for 2 reasons:
- The first is because we have to perform hundreds and thousands of repetitions. So tracking the number of reps is just more than we can care about. If you want to log your BJJ repetitions… let your partner count.
- But the second and the most important reason is to remove any other focus in our mind other than performing the BJJ drill or technique we are trying to use. If we focus on “how many reps have I done?”, this will take away a focus from our drilling. Also, if you set a timer, make sure it’s a round timer that will alert you when the required reps are achieved, so you don’t have to follow it while drilling.
Nick usually sets the timer for 30 seconds to 4 minutes. Shorter movements that can be performed at a faster pace are done in a shorter time, while longer movements and technical chains will take longer to get a comparable number of repetitions in BJJ.
Bottom line: round timer is strongly recommended; use it and see the difference it makes in comparison to counting the drills.