Tips and Tricks: Flow Rolling

Tips and Tricks: Flow Rolling

Flow rolling is one of the most important drills that you can add to your grappling training. As fighters we often lose sight of the real purpose of sparring; learning.
We often try to win every match that we have in the gym. I am not saying that it is bad to compete and win in the gym, because that would be a lie. Competing in the gym is an important of your training. It allows you to somewhat gauge how effective you will be in a real competition, or in a real life situation.

Flow rolling is important because it helps you see the gaps in your technique that you would otherwise miss. When we train hard we use a lot of wasted energy to compensate for technical deficiencies. Flow rolling helps us find those deficiencies, so that we can fix them. In order to successfully flow roll both you and your partner must let go of their ego. Then you effortlessly transition from move to move. Each partner will play the part of both aggressor and defender.

The objective of flow rolling is not to win, but to find out what you are lacking in your overall game. You should be moving from move to move without thinking. Every time you over think a move you will notice a lapse in your timing. This lapse should tell you that you need to work on whatever move you are going for at the time. Everyone has these lapses when they flow roll. It is completely natural. Flow rolling is not a competition, it is a learning exercise. It is important in jiu-jitsu to think quickly and to create opportunities without thought.

In the video bellow I will further explain how to flow roll. I will be doing it with the help of my friend and training partner Justin Stillwell. Justin is a purple belt under Keith Robinson at KRBJJ.

Notice how we flow thought the movements without offering too much resistance. When on the attack we give our partner enough time to address the situation and escape, and when on the defense we give our partner enough time to set up and secure the transition. Also notice the pauses in our Jiu-jitsu; these are areas we may need work on so that we flow more effortlessly.

Also attached, is an older video with KRBJJ blue belt Jesse Holmes. It is a great flow that further shows how to perform a great flow roll drill. Remember that this drill is meant as a training exercise, and not as a competition.

For more information on Justin, Jesse, or myself; visit or follow me on Twitter at

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Andrew Ebers