5 Ways to Stay In Grappling Shape During the Covid19 Lockdown
Before we get started here, just a quick shout out to @mattrattbjj for perfecting this complex technique in the photo ....and now, on to your regularly scheduled article.
The Covid19 situation affects everyone, but one group of people that are more affected by it are martial artists, and, more specifically, grapplers. Grappling, whether it’s judo, wrestling or jiu-jitsu require other human beings for proper, complete training. No matter what you think about the virus, the effort to stop it and your role or risk in all of this, if you are a grappler your ability to train is down to nothing…
As a lifelong grappler, I have spent hours thinking about ways to grow without a training partner. While it is extremely difficult, there are some methods that I’ve been able to come up with. Here are 5 of those methods:
- Work on your strength and conditioning. This means running, this means lifting weights if you don’t already. It can also mean doing yoga and band work. One discipline closely tied to jiu-jitsu is Ginastica Natural, another that can greatly help with footwork is capoeira, which while it is often done with other people can in theory be done alone. Your body doesn’t have to soften during these dire times, so don’t just let your hard work done on the mat to shed pounds and become stronger go to waste. Spend this time to let training and competition related injuries heal while building muscle groups that will help you grapple better. You may not sharpen your existing grappling skills but you’ll be in better shape when you come back.
- Running/hiking/walking. Road work is a critical component of many athletes in many sports’ routines. I speak for myself when I say I hate running, and would rather just have another human try to wrestle me to the ground and pin me, but you can absolutely build stamina running. Hiking and walking similarly build stamina and force your body to work. One method I’ve been trying is running in intervals: I’ll walk one block, run one block and then jog the next, only to repeat the process. And then I do the same thing heading back. Doing this gives me the feeling of competing, going through a division ramping up, then partially cooling down only to have to ramp up again.
- Tape study. Tape study is no joke. There are a couple of ways that I like to study tape. For starters, I’ll select potential future opponents and will break down their strengths and weaknesses, mapping their most effective techniques and then finding instructionals on good counters to those techniques. In doing this I am making my future training sessions more efficient because instead of focusing on all areas, I’ll be focusing on areas that will allow me to win matches against specific opponents. The other option I like is studying tape on athletes that play the game that I favor. In doing this I can learn more about my game and maybe pick up details to do things better. If you’re not studying tape you’re missing out.
- Teaching/training with a housemate. If you are a beginner and your housemate has zero grappling background this can be extremely difficult. One method that I think should be considered is online learning. Get the very simplest material you can find from the best teachers out there and learn from them. Don’t know who to look into? Ask your instructor. If you are a bit more advanced and have a problem with space, work your EBI style positions, like back control and spiderweb. No need to fully go live. Thought that can be fun too…
- Solo Drills. If all else fails, solo drills are always handy. Get a grappling dummy, get a yoga ball, get a broomstick or a chair or whatever and drill with it. At work I use stools for guard passing drills. Get your reps in. You can never be too good at any specific movement, so work on the ones you know you use.
These are just 5 ways you can improve your grappling during the Covid19 quarantine. Remember: you are powerless over this situation. You do, however, have control over how you use your time and If your plan is to return to the mat after this is all over you’re better off returning with sharpened skills and in better shape...