No, I don't do BJJ... I've only rolled with a gi once in my life. :P
I have done some of these drills though. I do see their use, and I don't count them out. I would prefer more alive stuff though like armless guard drills.
Originally I thought maybe these drills would be for n00bs only, but you made me think again. You know, people can forget these kinds of things and it's good to go over some in the beginning of class like JohnnyS said.
Andrew Green, eh? My name is Andrew too, and my favourite colour is green... FREEEAAAKYYY. I do pratice punches in the mirror, actually, but ever since I almost broke a mirror I've been doing it a little less...
That's cool...so often people "pull the trigger" a tad quick and reply the company line regarding fully resisting opponent...in training, as in life, there is a time for everything, sometimes it's valuable to take a step (or two) down in intesity to move technique and fluidity forward.
After blue belt, I think BJJ techs should be practiced with some partner resistance.
You need to learn the move first though and commit it to "muscle memory". That's why I like the idea of these drills as being used for warm-ups - they ingrain the techniques and teach fluidity. Think of them as kata :)
They're not going to replace isolation drills like passing the guard - but they do allow you to do tons of reps of a technique without the boredom of doing each technique individually.
These kind off drills have helped me immensly, especially when it comes to guard passing, because they have made certain moves instinctive. This has helped me a lot with just keeping up the pressure while passing by quickly switching between different passes, which unbalances your opponent and opens him up.
They are necessary, not as only a warmup but they are to learn. You first drill with no resistance, and what a lot of higher up guys in my gym like to do is roll at about 30% to 40% power and speed.
This allows practical application of the techniques you drill. You can't just go full on everytime and expect to learn the technique like walking.
You have to start slow. I mean do you really think the guys that can armbar you from anywhere don't drill the hell out of it?
Thousands of repetitions to where they could armbar you blind folded.
Actually "kata" I think is a very good word for them. At least as I believe the purpose of kata to be.
It's not so much the individual techniques that are important in a good flow drill, but the movements. Take a shrimp escape for example, the same basic movement is used in many places and situations, but the movement is the same. Spinning armbar? same thing, the basic movements can be used for many things.
To me, that's basics, the movements that make up grappling. First you have to learn how to move, and then how to apply that movement, and you keep bouncing back and forth between the two.
Kinda like typing drills when learning keyboarding, it's not that you will ever have to type "The quick red fox...." but it teaches you the fundamentals of typing, covers all the basic finger movements and lets you work on form.