To Speed? Or Not To Speed?

During my journey in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a lot of people come to me and ask how they can execute moves faster. You see, they are very impressed by the way top fighters/competitors move so quickly from position to position and want to know if I have a drill series to help them speed up their game. When one sees top fighters like Marcus Almeida (Buchecha), Rodolfo Vieira, and so on look smooth and quick, they wonder if there is something that they can do to get that kind of speed. Well, there is!

                                                                            cliff; You can try to jump and reach the branch on the other side and probably fall, or you can walk around the long way to get to your destination for sure. In Jiu-Jitsu you should always prefer the safe route until you are sure that when you jump you will reach that branch.

The best way to improve speed is simply to practice the technique many times. That would be the BIG secret to gaining speed. We often tell our students that they need to come to the academy, learn techniques and practice them before, during, and after training. Mat time is the single most important thing you can do to add speed to your game. Because speed of the consequence of consistent repetition. Not wild explosive movement. If you make the right decision at the exact right moment, trust me, it is going to look fast. So remember; fast, correct, decision-making will shed a lot of more nanoseconds from your game then mirror repetition alone. So as I once heard one of the  Gracie's say when someone asks how fast they should go... "Only go as fast as perfect technique will allow."

While a lot of speed and skill does come from natural ability there are rules that can help you speed up your game. My favorite drills are repeating a particular motion several times with a partner until I get the move down. Then little by little I continue the repetition while accelerating the pace until I can do the move very fast without hesitation. For instance, you can do an arm bar from the mount or the guard, or a guard pass, or a sweep several times from side to side. If you repeat the move correctly, after a while you'll be able to gain speed with each training session. At our academy we teach several drills, both basic and advanced that can help you to become more skilled in specific positions.

Now there is one problem, however: simply knowing how to do a move fast will only help you in that particular instance, with that move or series of moves. If you just rely on that alone, you will look very fast when the opportunity to use the move arises, and then the rest of the time may look completely lost! I have seen many students who like to explode from position to position without rhyme or reason - and without proper technique. What I want to point out is that simply moving fast, without the proper technique and corner decisions, is worse than moving slowly and correctly toward the right solution. It is like you are at the edge of the 
"While a lot of speed and skill does come from natural ability, there are drills that can help you speed up your game."
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