What To Do When You Can’t Train Jiu Jitsu due to Coronavirus by John Danaher

What To Do When You Can’t Train Jiu Jitsu due to Coronavirus by John Danaher

With the Coronavirus disrupting the lives of everyone around the world, there is uncertainty at play - especially with the Jiu Jitsu community.

Many BJJ academies across the world have been forced to close their schools over concern of spreading the Coronavirus. Unfortunately the future is so uncertain for many of these schools that rely on monthly payments to stay open.

The future is also uncertain for when practitioners will be able to roll with their teammates at their academies again. Many schools are closed for a few weeks, while others even longer! This closure is still uncertain and could be much longer pending on how the Coronavirus spreads.

But fear not! Bernardo Faria and John Danaher have released a video to help you while you’re not on the mats. Danaher wanted to do something to help people that couldn’t train, so he released this free video to help.

This video is a compilation of solo drills you can do at home until the Coronavirus passes. It could be a long time, so John says you need to do three things when you experience time off the mat.

1. Continue to Drill the Movements

Danaher says that Jiu Jitsu techniques are similar to throwing a baseball. Meaning if you don’t practice the movements for an extended period you may lose some of your abilities! This is why it's so crucial to do some BJJ solo drills when you can!

2. Stay in Shape

Just because you can't make it to the mats doesn't mean you stop exercising! You need to keep moving otherwise you will lose your flexibility, conditioning, and lose weight.  Find a program you can do and stick to. It gets harder to get back in shape with extended periods of not training.

3. Knowledge Acquisition

Never stop learning! Just like not stopping exercise to stay fit, you gotta exercise your mind as well. Even if you can’t do the movements, keep watching techniques and learn about the movements to keep your BJJ mind sharp.

Solo Drills You Can do at Home

To keep you in shape while you’re off the mat below are some solo drills you can do at home. These drills don’t require a lot of space and they will keep your reaction time decent during the time off.

Level Changes

Level changes are an important exercise you need to do to make your takedowns better. Without a good level change, your takedowns will never be up to par as they should be.

So, to do a level change get in your ready stance with one foot in front and knees slightly bent. To mimic the same movement as a takedown drop your knee to your chest. Remember to keep your back straight and look straight ahead for a good base and be balanced.

You can do 10 level changes on each side 5 times for a good workout. This will help keep your takedowns sharp.

Sit Through

Some of you may know these from warm up drills in class. This is a great solo drill to do if you have space. It mimics getting out from under top control of an opponent.

Go to the ground to your hand and knee. Lift one hand up and shoot your opposite leg through the space. The movement ends with your leg straightened and you looking up to the ceiling.

You can do this solo drill for reps or time. It’ll help keep your technique and cardio solid.

Knee-on-Belly Drills

If you have a pillow, stuffed animal, or willing spouse you can do knee on belly drills at home. These are just like the drills you may do and class and will definitely help your top game.

There’s two specific knee on belly drills you can do. You can either rotate around and do knee on belly on each side or switch doing the windshield wiper movement.

You could also do transitional drills from top control going to different side controls.

Elbow Escape in Place

The elbow escape or shrimping movement is one you need to continually practice. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can do this solo drill in place.

Turn on your side, bottom leg bent, and scoot your but up, and return to your back. Coronavirus or no Coronavirus, you should be doing this movement daily.

Guard Drill with your Belt

Dust of your Jiu Jitsu belt and start doing some guard movements and stretches. This mimics the same movements of playing different guard games in gi.

You can work on your spider guard, lasso guard, submissions, or just simply stretch. It is totally up to you on what solo drills you want to do with your BJJ belt.

Basic Bodyweight Exercises

Like Danaher said even if you’re off the mat, you have to keep your body in shape. Find time to do body weight exercises, while you’re stuck in your home.

Push ups, squats, abs, stretch, yoga, etc. Pick things to do and be diligent and exercising.


This is a tough time for everyone right and you need to be supportive. Especially with your BJJ academy. Please do not cancel your memberships and continue to support your school.

Here is the video below and be safe everyone.