Live rolling is the king – that’s why we try so hard to learn our moves. It’s not easy. Often classes start with a warm up, a new technique, some drilling and then rolling – rolling might start from a position that opens possibilities to use the move taught just a few minutes a go. This was the way it was done at the club where I started and in most seminars I have attended. The challenge is that we hardly remember the technique, and the opponent knows what we are trying to do.
“Take what your opponent is giving you!” says Rafael Lovato Jr. Yeah, right. What does it mean? For the most parts it means that move / execute when your opponent is trying to better their position. Taking what the opponent gives means, we need to know where we want to be, not so much which technique we are going to do.
There are different ways to drill and roll. I like to think that the first step is just learning the move without resistance. Just be a grappling dummy and let your friend move you or react as you have been told to. No games. The second phase is drilling. Your opponent can increase resistance and find new answers. It’s still drilling or positional sparring for learning and the goal is to get to know your opponent’s responses. The final step is free rolling. The goal is to use your technique against a resisting opponent when they can do all the moves they know. You’d think it’s easy after drilling it so much, but no. If you are lucky, you can pull a technique once during a roll. (SBGi calls this I-method http://aliveness101.blogspot.fi/)
Kyle Sloan, a judoka, pointed out that rolling slowly helps you find new opportunities. You need to experiment and register opponent’s reactions. After you know your move is working, don’t do the same move over and over again. It’s time to find something new to play with. That’s how we learn more. https://youtu.be/kyeDij715Lc?t=37m45s
“See your opponent as a skeleton”. “Watch a movie.” says Pedro Sauer. One advice is to look at your opponent just as a skeleton. Not a monster wearing a black belt and 20 kilos extra muscle – it’s just a skeleton. When you are learning opponent’s moves, your mindset can be like watching a movie. Just be curious. If you’re late, tap and start to watch another episode. There is no losing in bjj – only a lucky submission now and then, and a lot of learning. When you tap, it means that your friend has done a good job.