My BJJ Open Mat on Saturday morning at Mathouse is, well exactly what it says. The same mats in the same room with the same students but it is open for you to use. Try new things out, roll with other students around a loosely defined timer. But most importantly this is the hour to learn. To reinforce those new concepts, strange names for bizarre moves, the technique that left you scratching your head at the last lesson.
It begins, as any lesson does, with a warm up. This is followed by ‘flow rolling‘. For those that don’t know what flow rolling is there are some great instructional videos out there but the basic idea is that you and you partner move in a ‘mock’ roll.
You practice the sweeps, the submissions and the escapes in a continuous flowing motion. The concept is similar to any improvisation. The premise is that you always agree with your partner. This has enabled comedians and actors to riff off each other in a continuous dialogue. When flow rolling, there are no submissions. You let your partner attempt a move. When they reach the submission position, you try the escape you learned. Your partner should let go and the motion continues. Alternating between the non-verbal agreement of “I could have submitted you” to “I could’ve escaped” and so on. this is essentially still part of the warm up so at no point should anyone feel too physically challenged and definitely not suffer any injuries.
Then the floor is pretty much open. Grab anyone that’s free and ask them to roll. If you have any injuries, let each other know and get rolling. What I like about this Saturday morning class is the helpfulness of the others in the club. If you do something that could be considered a bad move or just completely ridiculous, the more experienced guys will point it out. It’s a great chance to build on skills in a real scenario over a longer period of time.
It might not be for everyone depending on how you learn. I pick things up quicker by doing them repeatedly. Everyone is learning and continuously developing so I think this class is an essential part of your development in BJJ. If you get the opportunity, try a BJJ open mat.