JiuJitsu Lab: How to Get the Most Out of Position Training

I’m a firm believer in position training. If you’re not familiar with it it goes something like this: you choose a position, let’s say guard. You put your partner in your guard to start, and have them attempt to pass you. You work in a way that maximizes your opportunities to try techniques. This means instead of sitting with your legs clamped shut (closed guard) open up and give your partner a chance to attempt more passes. You don’t want to spend your time working a thigh strengthening exercise. Once your partner passes you reset the position! If you manage to sweep them or finish them with a technique, reset the position!

Jen and Susan work guard defense and passing

The Jiujitsu Mat is your laboratory, and not all your experiments are going to be perfect successes, but, you will learn something from each attempt and your sweeps armlocks and chokes will improve the more you play with them. Playing is the key word, and it’s different from trying to win. If you focus too much on the goal of a win you are likely to waste your time trying to force or power through moves that you’re already familiar with. This means you’re not expanding your jiu-jitsu vocabulary!

In time you can train other positions. Try half guard, but don’t spend all your time clamped shut! Keep moving! Keep trying to escape, or set up chokes or sweeps! Then move on to full mount! This can be daunting but it’s a terrific exercise for both participants. The person on top should try to finish while the player mounted should be trying to escape legs or roll.

You can then practice back take working for a choke or other positions like seated guard, or side control escapes. Set a timer and work!

Remember to Have fun and try to provide plenty of opportunity to play!

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