Will Power Training affect your grapple skills if you combine it with BJJ or another grapple art?

Many say it's better to focus on BJJ, instead of combining it with Power Training. They say you will use power instead of technique when rolling or at competition. Is this true?


Yes, power training will positively affect your grappling. It's important to understand how.

All techniques require a degree of physicality. (Muscle is, after all, what moves your body in the first place.) Physicality includes strength (the ability to produce force), power (strength applied quickly), conditioning, and other attributes like balance, agility, and so on.

The goal of martial arts skill is to act as a force multiplier, allowing you to maximize the utility of your physicality. Skill can overcome a strength disparity, but strength and physicality will always be a factor. It is best to have both.

If training for power or any other element of physicality interferes with your BJJ skill training, that's a problem. But you want to be as strong as possible, as fast as possible, as explosive as possible, and as conditioned as possible while also maximizing your grappling skill.


I like Dave Leipmann's response where he makes it clear that you improve with both skill and power / strength training. You combine both for the best overall effect.

One of the comments I often hear in BJJ circles is that women often learn better / faster than men, because they don't have the muscle strength that men do. And so they will stop and try to figure out what they're doing wrong rather than trying to power out of something like guys do more often.

But that doesn't mean that men (or women for that matter) should avoid power lifting and other supplemental exercises outside of class. It just means you have to watch yourself. If you find that the only way you were able to get out of a hold, for example, was to power through it, then make a mental note of that. Later on, ask others how it could be handled better using less force.

Make a habit of that. Always ask questions. Never be satisfied with your result. Always look for a better, smarter way. Ask yourself why it took so long to do something. Could you have reduced it to 4 steps instead of 5? Was your opponent off balance or unstable in some way that you could have used to your advantage? Etc. And at the same time, outside of class, work on your physical attributes.

There's a time to go all out and use all the force you can muster, and generally class time isn't it. Class time is where you learn how to do something better. It shouldn't be about who's stronger, who's been lifting like crazy in their spare time. Leave your pride and ego at the door. You're there to learn. Don't try to make up for a lack of skill by using power. A much weaker student might actually be able to show you something you can use if you let him/her.

At a competition, yeah you should go as hard as you want. That's an appropriate time. Rolling after class with someone who also wants to use more power, yes that's fine, but maybe it's best to make that sort of thing infrequent.


Power will always help but when you're up against someone who has a decent amount of skill such as a Purple Belt your strength will be close to useless. I've experienced this myself as I'm 6ft 2 about 92 kgs and used to do plenty of weight training, when I first got on the mat I would be dominated by smaller weaker guys who were using technique alone against my brute force and anger.

Using power will affect your performance as you will not be using the correct techniques which means you will burn out quickly and have no energy or strength left.

If you use technique with power then you will be a tough guy to roll with!


Here's another angle to look at (speaking from personal experience). As you go up in belt levels - chances are you'll be using much less strength as the 'crowd thins' in the upper belt ranks eventually. A bunch of our upper belts left so we don't have many browns/black belts as we used to. Being a purple - I'm often one of the highest belt ranks at my academy.

My point is this... as you progress you need less strength. Your technique gets better but your strength and cardio get worse. I started doing crossfit 2 months ago and can personally confirm that it's made BIG improvements in my game. Instead of pacing myself during sparring, I'll now have the gas to go at least 80% on every single roll now where before I would be 80% against equal to upper belts and maybe 30% on lower belts.

Strength and cardio training will absolutely help. Just finding the time and/or $$$ to do it is the hard part.

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