2737 Papin Street

St. Louis, MO 63104

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Phone: 260-BJJ-4-STL

Open Mat time is a great opportunity to improve your skills. However, since there isn’t formal instruction, it is important to to be structured and disciplined with your training. Most people like to come and just go live. While this is fun, it will hinder your improvement in the long run because typically when you only go live you will continue to employ the same strengths and weaknesses. I wanted to include a sample format that might help you be more productive with your training time. And while people can work on any martial arts skills they wish during open mat (i.e. striking, grappling, MMA) the template below is more jiu-jitsu focused and based on an hour session.


Take 10 or 15 minutes before each open mat you attend and try to decide what content you will focus on.


5-10 Minutes: Functional & Dynamic Warm-up 

  • Grip Fighting

  • Any movement pattern you already know well (i.e. submission chain or set ups, wrestling chain, escape drills, etc.)

  • Core movements (i.e. shrimping, bridges, spiderman drill)

20-30 Minutes: Technique

  • Drill 3-4 techniques that stem from the same position or flow in a sequence. You should drill them until you can comfortably execute each move without thinking and potentially link them together fluidly

10-15 Minutes: Isolation Sparring

  • Execute the same moves as in the technique section but have your partner incrementally increase resistance, and troubleshoot as necessary. If your technique breaks down, you might need to drill the move more or have your partner decrease the resistance.

10-15 Minutes: Live Rolling

  • Try to get to and utilize the position you were working in the technique portion.


Within each open mat session I would definitely recommend dedicating at least a few minutes to bad position escapes. This should be a major part of your overall foundation.


Using this structure, you will always be training with a purpose and you will get much more out of your time. Be sure to work with a variety of body types and also be sure to give and take. If someone helps you drill something, be sure to help them with what they would like to work on as well. It’s part of being a good teammate.

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