Did you do thousands of reps?


did you do thousands of reps of the basic techniques on your partners to truly master them? Did you do them with no resistance or with little resistance or ??

I guess if you count how many times I have done some basic techniques since I first started to train (which was 12 years ago), then, yes, I have done thousands of reps.

But if you are asking if I do a lot of repetitions over and over with no resistance during practice, then the answer is "Hell no!" That's too damn boring.

If you see me during private lesson with Joe or Marco, I don't practice a technique with no resistance more than 5 times. Then I come back and just do it on my white and blue belts when we rolled. I prefer to get my reps in during live action rolling with beginners.

I don't recommend my method for my students as most of them tend to not have as good of a memory for techniques as I do.

"I don't recommend my method for my students..."For them you recommend the too damn boring lot of repetitions over and over with no resistance? :)

No, but I recommend more than 5 reps. For you and your memory, I recommend a LOT more. :)

ROFLMAO! If only I could remember how to spell 'bastid'! ;)

It's quality........not quantity.

Instructor's who say you need to do thousands of reps to get something right are either crap teachers, or are padding out the lesson to get your money.

When I taught Michael and Radek weapons........it was do the technique once or twice.......then it was off to sparring......granted that was more fun for me than them.....but heck, they could kick ass after a few days.

Basically, we got in a majority of our reps in sparring.


personaly I like both approaches but first one with moderate rates. I mean - as for repetitions method, it really depends on particular technique and my absorbtion - how fast I am able to absorb it. When I have difficult time to use that stuff during live sparring because I have to think about several "technical" components of the move, it is clear you have to work repetition a little bit more. Once the stuff is "sink down" (which is pretty personal thing ...someone needs 1000´s rep, someone else just needs 100 -200 reps or less) it is time to work aginst the resistance.....and isolate the move agaist progressively resisting opponet. Here is the main "bulk" of my training ....and it does not matter if it is BJJ, stand up or weapons stuff. Principles are general.......

In order to make your stuff functional, I think you need both approaches, but I would say in BJJ......repetition phase (without resistance ) is a little bit more important then in weapons training.Here the movements are so simple that (like Ray said) you can really skip that 1000?s rep and work your isolation phases and sparring ones right away. It is simple like that...:)



You do make a good point. How many reps one needs to do depends primarily on the individual and his coordination level as well as the skill or technique in question.

Even with a given artform the amount of reps for a given technique or skill may vary because all the techniques are different from each other. Some are for more simple than others conversely some are far more complex than others.

For example doing a cross choke combination from the guard is a much much more simple movement than a sweep from the guard or juji gatame from the guard.

As far as getting the amount of reps one needs sparring, yeah it can be done. But not always. Usually in order to really do that in a free sparring sitiuation the person you spar has to be at a level that is really below yours. Because he has to essentially keep giving you opportunities to do the move or technique. An experience person isn't going to give you as many opportunities to do the same technique or move. Chances are you may do it once or twice and that's it.

The alternative is to do specialized sparring where you are sparring but under specific conditions where you are doing just one or two things, namely the things you want to work on, throughout the sparring session. Like for example a specialized sparring situation where you are passing the guard and the opponent can only defend you passing and that is it.

I personally adhere to the concept of drilling the techniques in an Alive manner. If I'm working with someone who is below my level and he's drilling a guard pass, for example, I simply offer progressive resistance.

As long as he's doing the technique correctly, I provide only enough resistance to make him work for the technique. As he improves, I can progressively add more resistance. If he's not doing the technique correctly, then he needs to go back to step 1 and learn to do it properly without resistance.



I agree with you. I think generally there are two types of drilling or repetition training: with a partner; without a partner or solo.

The former is meant or designed to help you do or apply a skill, movement or technique on a someone. I think the key when doing this type of drilling like you said is to focus on doing the technique properly against resistance. And as you say the resistance should be progressive and adequate. I use to and still do this when I was developing my guard passing skills. I had to pass my training partners guard 10 times consecutively. I told him to offer about 50% resistance for the first couple and then build up in resistance thereafter until when I go to the 10th rep he was resistance close to 100%. The point was to challenge me as well as get me use to properly executing the skill on a resisting opponent. And as you stated if I or if his technique brokedown as the progression built up we would back down a few pegs and work out the problem.

The latter is designed or meant to develop ones coordination. This is one thing alot of people lack and are severely deficient in. Alot of times people assume they are capable of moving there bodies in such a way that he skill or technique can be easily done. This is far from the true. Some people are so uncoordinate it is actually keeping them from making gains in regards to skill. Coordination is something I always work on and in my view it is something a person so develop first and foremost. If you can't control your own body you certainly won't be able to control someone else.

All my drills or repetition training centers around progressive resistance drills with a training partner and solo drills.

Sparring for me are tests and quizes. Sparring is what I use to determine what I need to work on and whether the drills I do work or not.

(I tried to edit to get the font fomatting consistent, but copying from Word doesn't seem to allow it!)


"It's quality........not quantity.

Instructor's who say you need to do thousands of reps to get something right are either crap teachers, or are padding out the lesson to get your money.

When I taught Michael and Radek weapons........it was do the technique once or twice.......then it was off to sparring......granted that was more fun for me than them.....but heck, they could kick ass after a few days.

Mr. Floro,

No disrespect intended, Sir..... but with that line of thinking, then boxers and kickboxers do not need heavy bags or other striking equipment; Wrestling Coaches have been "coaching" stuff that is full of "crap" for years, and anyone and everyone who lifts weights while focusing on the "technique" of the lift are deluded - they should just throw up their maximum weights everytime after they "understand" the BASIC mechanics of the lift.

Yes, there are plenty of charlatans in the martial arts industry that are just out for the $$$, no doubt.  And yes, there are plenty of people who possess a very high degree of kinesthetic intelligence, the ability to learn visually, and good genetics for athletic endeavors.

But much of the benefit of "high repetitions" are for the "average" people among us.  Those of us who will never win the Abu Dhabi or the Pan-Ams; Never see the inside of an Olympic Team locker room; Those people whose primary gift in life is NOT athletics.  Then there are those such as BJ Penn, inarguably GIFTED in combat sports, who SWEARS of the high value of doing high-numbered repetitions over and over and over again.  The Coach for every stand-up oriented art I've encountered also speaks highly of the value of reps, both before, during, and IN-BETWEEN sparring sessions. 

m.g. hit the nail right on the head when he spoke of repetitions developing coordination.  Furthermore, in an art as instinsically complicated as BJJ, high repetitions develop other physical attributes, as well.  Attributes such as Balance, Sensitivity, Local Muscular Endurance, Isometric Strength, and Starting Strength.  Doing a thousand repetitions of a "basic" technique, something like say, the hip bump, can take an out of shape beginner and give him many of the "fitness" attributes he/she needs to be READY for sparring.

I recently undertook an "assignment" from my own BJJ instructor to do 500 repetitions of the Elevator Sweep on both sides of my body.  At first, part of me said "But I already know this; I can pull it off in sparring with a variety of opponents, what can I 'really' benefit from this?"  Let me tell you what I learned as I pursued this task:  First off, I "discovered" several little details about HOW to move my body more EFFICIENTLY.  I learned that I was using too much arm and leg strength, which I can now replace with better, more efficient "technique."  I perform the sweep at SLIGHTLY different angles of body movement than before; My TIMING is better during sparring (yes, even after non-resistance drilling - because my COORDINATION of how I move my own body is more fluid); I have a much more thorough understanding of how to off-balance my opponent at various angles on different parts of his body; Additionally, I have discovered a small increase in the endurance of my "core" muscles during sparring - something this is so CRITICAL in BJJ because of the need to move your hips so much.  I also have noticed better "control," sensitivity, and endurance with my foot pulled up, which is giving me dividends in another area - Butterfly Guard.  :-)  Finally, my level of awareness has increased dramatically, as I now "notice" a lot more details than I did before when looking to set the sweep up; I'm also "looking" for the sweep as I move to positions that are closely related to the various angles I experienced throughout my repetitions, angles that I never would have thought of BEFORE I did those 1000 repetitions.  I am also willing to bet that as I continue to do MORE repetitions of this single technique, my "recognition" of those positions and angles will come about more and more quickly, increasing the "reflexiveness" of how I move, and increase both my effectiveness AND efficiency when sparring.  Now, other than a little bit of time, what did/does doing these repetitions cost me?  No extra $$$ at all, but I can already see the benefits.  Is my teacher a "crap teacher?"  Quite the contrary, he has showed my once again that he is a BRILLIANT instructor and mentor, and that I made the right choice for ME when I chose him as my primary BJJ instructor.

Now, does an already world-class athlete (such as yourself) or someone with a prior background that includes a great deal of athletic movement (such as Michael and Radek) need thousands of repetitions to learn something completely new?  Maybe, but probably not, and certainly not as MANY, as they have ALREADY LEARNED HOW to move, and dissect "movement," and can relate to the new material kinesthetically in some shape, way, manner, or form; I have personally trained with Michael Jen at a seminar, and have all of the videos he has put out.  It is needless to say that Michael is a very talented grappler, who understands "movement" very well, and is very accomplished when it comes to describing the "how" of various movements to others.  With those abilities, it is not at all surprising to me that he is able to pick up new material faster than most people.  I'll even bet he had tons of questions for you when you trained, unlike most "new" students who don't really know "what" questions to ask....... Am I right?

To say that "anyone" who espouses high repetitions is either a "crap teacher" or "padding the lesson" for money is erroneous, naive, or misleading.  I have not seen nor trained in "Floro Fighting Systems" so I can not intelligently predict the result of high repetitions in your training method(s).  I CAN intelligently (and honestly) say that the techniques I have now done high repetitions of for BJJ have helped me greatly, similar to those tens of thousands of "jabs" and "crosses," etc., that I have performed on the "non-resisting" heavy bag and other targets in my gym, over the years I have trained.

Personally, I'm looking forward to doing a few thousand reps of EACH AND EVERY ONE of my "basic" techniques that I "think" I already know/understand, to see how much more improvement I can/will make!!

Again, no disrespect to you, but as a fellow educator, I see that "most" of the people I train, and train with (myself included) have or will benefit HIGHLY from large quantities of non-resistant repetitions, that GRADUALLY evolve into progressively greater levels of resistance over time.  Due to the large number of people who read these forums like a "Gospel" of truth sometimes, I felt the need to express a different belief on this subject.  I think Radek actually stated it best:

"In order to make your stuff functional, I think you need both approaches, but I would say in BJJ......repetition phase (without resistance ) is a little bit more important then in weapons training.Here the movements are so simple that (like Ray said) you can really skip that 1000?s rep and work your isolation phases and sparring ones right away. It is simple like that...:) "


Adam LaClair

P.S.  It should come as no surprise to most people on these forums when I tell who my primary instructor is:  Roy C. Harris


No offence or disrespect taken whatsoever.........but it does stimulate good discussion :-)

It sure does.

I have to agree with what Adam wrote.

Because of my interest and background I am very much into studying movement, reflexes and how the body creates action. I spend a great deal of time studying that type of stuff.

Lately I've been studying reaction time, uncondition reflexes, condition reflexes, and reaction as develop by practice or training.

I look into the physiological mechanism behind those things (the nervous system) as well as how to manipulate the physiological mechanism to better develop those things (Pavlov's work on condition reflexed has been a big help). The one thing that is true is the more often a stimulus is repeated the more it becomes a natural reflex.

I've said it before and I'll say it again ALL martial arts (including Bjj and Kali/escrima) are physical activity. That is that are activities done with the body. No matter how distinct they may be from other physical activities they STILL follow the same principles and rules that govern every other physical activity.

Now I have YET to meet in this world who has master any type of physical activity (or even movement)without doing many repetitions. Even if the reps are not deliberate but incidental (that is you kept on doing alot even though you consciously didn't think about or plan to do alot. You kept on doing it because you really want to accomplish the task: example continously getting on you bike and trying to ride it after falling off a hundred times or picking your self off the ground and STILL trying walk) one still does alot of them. Even non physical everyday activities such as speaking and writing are rooted in high repetitions.

Doing alot of reps in order to master a task is simply NATURAL. It is absolutely the best way to learn and master a skill.

Furthermore no one created the idea it is simply the way things are. And this is evident by the FACT that all the examples in the lives of people past and present.

So I agree with Adam in that the criticizing the concept or principle of high reps just doesn't make sense. You are actually being critical of a principle that has been around since the dawn of time. Not only that you're also being critical of a method of skill development that has been used in nearly all sports and physical activity.

I tell you what I'm of the opinion that if more people would spend more time practicing what they know (which is the whole point and purpose of high repetition) they would actually put instructors out of business. Skill does not come from being told what to do BUT rather constantly DOING what you've been shown to do. So truthfully an instructor who is telling you to do alot of repetition is actually doing you a favor.

BUT important is to actually be smarter than the move or technique. Doing alot of reps of a movement without any thought as to what you're doing and why you're doing it is just plain retarded. That is just an exercise in complusive behavior. When you do reps of a move or technique you have a purpose in mind which is to essentially do the movement or technique better. And as you do the reps you SHOULD discover al the ways to make the technique better, more efficient and natural for you.

Here's where Ray is coming from in regards to kali.

There are people who do thousands of reps of hubad and sinawalli and other drills like that. Ray and his students do not do thousands of reps of drills like that. We just do a couple reps and then spar. Of the people we have encountered who did thousands of reps of those drills, we felt they had little fighting ability. In addition, all the technical perfection that they developed when doing thousands of reps of those drills disappeared when they sparred.

Most people need both kinds of training. They need no-stress stuff to build basic movement patterns, and resistance training like sparring to embed those movements into stuff that holds up under stress conditions.

This is why thousands of reps of form or non-resistance drills will not translate *IF* you don't spend a good amount of complementary time doing the same thing under progressive levels of stress.

(Some people can greatly reduce the solo/non-resistance stuff due to natural movement aptitudes, and some people can reduce somewhat the stress training due to natural timing and mental sets)


If that's Ray's position then the problem is with "what" is being repeated and not with the concept and principle of repetition in and of itself.

So the problem than would be with the specific drill (noun) and not with drilling (verb).