Because movement is so unrestricted in flow rolling, your mind is constantly working to think of new techniques, positions, and escapes to use. Eventually, these techniques become second nature because your mind is conditioned to seek them out. The more observant you are about the techniques you use, the less you start to think about them. This undoubtedly transfers into faster transitions and submission chains in regular sparring.
Flow rolling also makes you more observant of your opponent’s reactions, forcing you to devise counters to these. The next time we are able to get into our favorite position in regular sparring, we can predict how our opponent will react and bait them into a counter attack.
The focus of every free flowing roll or spar should be to learn, not to win. It’s to add new techniques to your arsenal or explore new styles and elevate your BJJ game. You would have never had such an opportunity during full on sparring rounds because when you’re flowing you aren’t focused on submissions or positions – you’re just trying to see what works and what doesn’t and see what happens.
There’s a reason it’s called flow rolling. There should be no intensity, speed, or strength involved when you’re attempting techniques. Instead, you should let each other move freely – no grips, no shoulder pressure – nothing. The minute you do any of the above, you revert back to regular sparring. Focus on movement, flexibility and breathing. Relax. You’d be amazed to see what happens when you do.
If you find yourself winning a flow roll, you’re doing it all wrong. Flow rolling is all about give and take. If you find yourself in good positions or going back to the same submissions over and over again, you’re likely using strength over your training partner. If you’re just using technique, try something else – after all, that’s why you chose to flow roll in the first place.
As we mentioned above, flow rolling is all about give and take. If you do get a submission, be sure to let it go. Just keep on flowing!
Although it isn’t supposed to, things could get intense when you’re flowing during a roll. Don’t hesitate to tell your partner to restart so you can both go back to the correct intensity level.
Through flow rolling, you’re exposing yourself to new techniques and mastering them, making you more well-rounded. You’ll also learn how to fix bad habits and acquire new good ones. Thus, there is no doubt that flow rolling is one of the best training methods to help you take your BJJ to the next level.
Keep (Flow )Rollin’!
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