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Grapple and Coach Drill

A good friend and BJJ brown belt Greg Greer was teaching class at Valhalla about a week ago and he did a drill that I hadn’t seen before. My students really enjoyed it and I think it is useful if you want to train your team for competition. Competitions involve noise and distraction. They also often force the head coach to send an assistant coach matside to help if two matches are going on simultaneously. This drill helps build all of those skills and adds some intensity and fun to a class.

Split the class in half and assign numbers to each athlete. There should be a pair of ones, twos, threes, etc. Pair up the ones and have them go live with the other students circled around them. The twos coach whichever one is on their team. When the timer rings the twos start sparring and the threes coach their respective teammates. Continue until the end.

If you want to spend more time on this drill mix up the teams and start over. This works best with shorter rounds. It teaches the newer people how to coach and the center guys to ignore everyone but their coach. Add more distractions by having the whole team coach each player so he has to ignore everyone but the actual person who is designated to coach him.

Consider using this as a method of teaching students how to focus on giving instructions without overcoaching or giving away a surprise to the opponent. A short discussion of coaching practices or before and/or after can be useful.

Brian Jones, PhD

Posted in General, Tactical, Training | 1 Comment

Kinestheic Vocabulary


A few weeks back I created a video for the Valhalla Youtube channel that described my coaching approach of building up a movement skill vocabulary. Only in this way will beginners understand the movements that you are asking them to do. The Valhalla Academy beginner curriculum contains quite a few of these movement skills. We drill them often and use them for warm-ups. I have decided to put the entirety of our fundamentals program online so that my students and affiliates can hear a consistent message. Hopefully this will benefit other grapplers as well. Please listen to the explanation of the Kinesthetic Vocabulary method and watch a couple of our movement skills. If you are not subscribed to our Youtube channel please do so. This way you’ll know when I add updates and new content. Please post any comments on the Youtube channel rather than on this blog. If there are questions I will answer them. The amount of spam I have to sift through to moderate this blog prevents it.

And some movement skills:

Brian Jones, PhD

Posted in General, Strength and Conditioning, Training | 1 Comment

Warming Up Properly (Part II)


The last article examined the major mistakes made by
athletes and coaches when designing warm-ups. This article defines the characteristics
of a proper warm-up routine. Well-designed warm-up routines are (1) effective,
(2) specific, and (3) useful.


An effective warm-up routine is one that accomplishes its goal – getting the athletes ready to work out without causing undue fatigue. Begin with very low intensity dynamic range of motion exercises such as neck rotations, arm, and leg swings and gradually build up the intensity.  Pay special attention to areas of the body such as the neck, shoulders, and low back that are prone to injury during grappling. The warm-up should cause everyone to break a sweat and breathe heavily, but stop short of causing actual, performance limiting fatigue. A good rule of thumb is to devote 10 minutes to warming up. The routine can be extended slightly if the workout is early in the morning or during wintermonths.


Warm-up routines should be specific to the activity they precede. This specificity has both a physiological and a psychological component. Physiologically, the warm-up should involve the same muscle groups emphasized in the target activity. It should also match the intensity of the upcoming workout.High-intensity training sessions require a longer warm-up that finishes at are relatively high-intensity. For psychological purposes, a higher intensity warm-up will get the athletes in the proper mindset for a tough workout. Short,light warm-ups might get the athletes ready for teaching a new technique but will not prepare them for hard drilling or live sparring.


In addition to getting the athletes ready, the warm-up activities must provide useful training. Whenever possible, incorporate basic techniques, movement skills, or basic drills in the routine. This serves two purposes, first to increase the specificity of the warm-up and secondly to get the athletes more involved mentally in what they are doing.  Examples of skills that can be practiced during the warm-up are breakfalls, tumbling, balance exercises, bridging,pummeling, and grip fighting.

Brian Jones, PhD

Posted in General, Strength and Conditioning, Training | 18 Comments

Class Schedule

  • Monday - Kids BJJ Gi (Ages 9-15) 5:30-6:30 pm Gi BJJ 6:30-8:00 pm
  • Tuesday - Kids BJJ No-Gi (Ages 9-15) 5:30-6:30 pm Gi BJJ (Open Rank)  6:30-8:00 pm
  • Wednesday - Kids BJJ Gi (Ages 9-15) 5:30-6:30 pmGi BJJ (Open Rank) 6:30-8:00 pm
  • Thursday - Gi BJJ (Open Rank) 6:30-8:00 pm
  • Saturday - Open Mat 11:00 am - 1:00 pm Kids BJJ Gi (Ages 9-15) 2:00 - 3:00pm, 3:00-4:00pm No-Gi BJJ 6:30-8:00 pm
  • Sunday - Gi BJJ (White Belt) 1:30-2:30 pm No-Gi BJJ 2:30-4:00 pm Kids Open Mat (Ages 9-15)  4:30-5:30