June 15, 2024

The Benefits of Positional Sparring in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that emphasizes grappling and ground fighting. While full sparring is important, positional sparring is also crucial for improving specific skills. This article explores the benefits of positional sparring and explains why it is an essential part of BJJ training.

What is Positional Sparring?

Positional sparring involves practicing specific positions repeatedly. Instead of starting from a neutral position and sparring freely, you start in a set position like mount, side control, or guard. The goal is to practice escaping, holding, or advancing from that position.

Benefits of Positional Sparring

Focused Practice

Positional sparring helps you focus on one part of your game at a time. By isolating positions, you can get better at specific techniques and transitions. This focused practice helps you learn faster and become more skilled overall.

Building Muscle Memory

Repetition is key to learning. Positional sparring allows you to practice the same moves over and over. This repetition helps build muscle memory, so you can react quickly and correctly during real matches.

Better Problem-Solving

When you practice the same positions repeatedly, you learn to solve problems more effectively. You start to understand what your opponent might do and how to counter their moves. This improves your ability to think strategically during matches.

Balanced Skills

Positional sparring helps you develop both offensive and defensive skills. You learn how to escape from bad positions and how to control and submit your opponent from good positions. This balanced skill development is important for becoming a well-rounded BJJ practitioner.

Gordon Ryan and New Wave Jiu-Jitsu

Emphasis on Positional Sparring

Gordon Ryan, one of the best BJJ competitors, and his team at New Wave Jiu-Jitsu, focus heavily on positional sparring. Under their coach John Danaher, they spend a lot of time practicing specific positions. This focused training is a big part of their success in competitions.

Practical Benefits

For Gordon Ryan and his team, positional sparring is not just about repeating moves but also about developing strategies. By practicing specific positions, they learn to apply their techniques effectively under pressure. This helps them perform better in real matches.

Proven Success

The success of Gordon Ryan and the New Wave team in BJJ competitions shows how effective positional sparring can be. Their ability to control positions, escape from tough spots, and secure submissions proves the practical benefits of this training method.


Positional sparring is an important part of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training. It helps you focus on specific skills, build muscle memory, improve problem-solving, and develop balanced offensive and defensive abilities. Top athletes like Gordon Ryan and his team at New Wave Jiu-Jitsu rely on positional sparring for their success. By understanding and incorporating positional sparring, you can become a more skilled and effective BJJ practitioner.