We harp on about "staying in the roll" by any means necessary on this blog, whether it's defense, escapes, technique, staying on top etc.
But what do you do when it's your gas tank sabotaging the length of the roll and your development as a result?
Base level cardio, or the ability to stay at a long and steady rate of low-to-mid intensity work, is the foundation for growth and development on the mats.
The time tested forms of cardio building are activities such as jogging or jumping rope. However, if you're anything like me, your knees can't handle the repeated impact associated with both.
Luckily there's a third option.
It'll ensure your mind is entirely focussed on rolling to boot.
Sparring or rolling is the fire in which students determine what does or doesn't work and with enough cardio the process of trial and error is prolonged.
So what is this magical BJJ boosting activity that can keep you rolling longer?
The Long Flow
I hope you've heard about flow in BJJ and this is just an extension of that.
Flowing is being in the moment and freely feeling everything going on in a form of concentrated mindfulness.
So stay in this zone with a partner who is preferably fairly seasoned such as a purple belt or a deep blue and roll for as long as you can with a timer on that you physically cannot see.
Their skill will be such that they can guide you in and out of positions and keep you within the flow.
You might even surprise yourself.
Keep the rounds fairly reasonable, starting at 10 minutes if you're accustomed to 5 minute rounds, and build from there up to 15, 20, and then to physical exhaustion should it call for it.
Some take home points are:
- Keep it playful, not intense (save that for regular rolls).
- Go until the timer stops, or until you can't go anymore.
- No submissions, or once a submission is locked in allow your partner to use technique to escape.
- KEEP MOVING.
Stay in the roll by rolling freely and without unneccessary intensity while the act of jiujitsu distracts you from the monotany of cardio based work.
Give it a try and you might be surprised at how your base cardio can build while still enjoying a roll.
- Jake Anderson