Recently I was asked by @LooFunk what he could do to train on a limited schedule since he’s going to be a father soon and would probably only be able to train two to three hours a week. My first reaction to his inquiry was that’s very limited but then I thought about what jump started my training the last few months that I found the most important and valuable. What stuck out to me was repping with a partner and The Harris Academy competition classes. Refining your game to the point where when you come across a specific situation you automatically know “oh this guy is mine”.
What Jeff had me do was rep a sweep for example. The first step was repped 500 times, then he gave me a variation based on a specific common reaction by the opponent to that sweep. So my partner would post his left arm now every time I tried to go for the sweep forcing me to react to that counter. I repped that 500 times. Then we switched it out and my partner would counter posting the other arm which led me to an addition 500 reps of this sequence. 1500 reps later over several weeks time I began to feel very comfortable being on the bottom and sliding into X-Guard sweeps. Every time I could pull it off I did, it became second nature to me because I had repped the variables so much that I didn’t have to waste time think during live sparring, it was pure reaction.
Another thing that really helped with limited time was Competition style training. We hold classes 3 times a week and it’s not so much about learning new techniques but about getting live sparring doing what we already know. Our purple belt instructor Will puts us in different situations, sets and timer and has us work at competition speed. One of the common ones is side control. Set the timer for 3-5 mins, one person on their back and their partner on top. Goal for the guy on the bottom is to get the action back to closed guard or submit/sweep. Guy on the top works for a submission but he doesn’t have to stay in this position, he can work to mount or north south if need be. Once the goal is met you reset until the time runs out then switch positions so now you’re on top and your partner is on bottom. You can do this for any set scenario you can think of.
The most important aspect of either of these is to have a good training partner. One that will be on time and ready to work. If you only have 3 hours tops per week to train it has to be all business in order to maximize your training. Too much talking or wasted moments resetting between reps or situational sparring will short change you. So find a partner who meets your needs and you meet his and don’t be affraid to say as much.