Drilling à la Jimmy Pedro - or, How to Add Resistance

Jimmy Pedro drills well.  Jimmy Pedro won the World Championships.  Most people don't drill well.  Most people haven't won world championships.

Jimmy Pedro, Jr. was the head instructor at the Greatest Camp a few years ago, and he taught a guard passing drill that went something like this:

  1. Split their guard (basically, give them half-butterfly - assume that their right shin is in your thigh)
  2. Clamp their left leg with your arm, put your head to the outside of the left hip, and hug their right hip
  3. Walk around to their right side, and extend your legs back, making them do the splits
  4. Shift up their body (towards their head) and grab under their head, while maintaining forward pressure with your right arm on their leg
  5. When they can't split any further, draw a circle in the air with your right foot, and this should free it
  6. Yoko Shiho Gatame!
The pass itself was nifty - I've used it several times since (though I need to drill it more often).  But it was how he taught the drill that made the real impression on me:

He identified common failure points, he instructed the Uke on specific ways to take advantage of those failures, and told Uke to try catch Tori at those points during the drill.

This is huge...Rather than just saying "add resistance", he gave specific instructions on when and how to resist.  If you have been doing Judo for at least a week, you have probably run into a guy who, when he hears "now add some resistance" or "go 50%" seems to understand that it is now his job to "win" the drill (*cough*Jesse*cough*).  While this doesn't cure that, it certainly helps localize the infection, so to speak, and gives Tori a much more manageable situation.  It also helps Uke recognize the flaws in the technique, and gives him or her the the tools to exploit them. 

For the curious, the 2 failure points that Pedro emphasized were:
  1. Inadequate clamp on the leg. Uke was to bring that leg into play in trapping Tori's leg if able.
  2. Grabbing for the head before moving up the body. Uke was to apply Ude Gatame if Tori allowed it.
I knew at the time that I really liked how Jimmy taught his drills, but it wasn't until this week (several years later) that I realized why I like it so much...  Having now given it some thought, though, though, I'm definitely going to use this approach to adding resistance in my drills more often.

Jimmy's dad, Jimmy Pedro, Sr., is a big part of the reason for Jimmy, Jr.'s success, and he likely informed the way that Jimmy, Jr. drills.  This is one of the reasons I'm excited about the book that he and former world champ Dr. Ann Maria de Mars have recently completed, to be called "Winning on the Ground."  My guess is that it will have a bunch of drills like this - TBD if they will focus on the failure points and how to exploit them, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Note:  While I was looking for an image for this post, I came across a more detailed walkthrough on the Judo Info site.