There was a recent documentary on flowrestling of Ben Askren. It is called “The Funk”.
This reminded me of Ryron Gracie’s “Keep It Playful” movement.
Ben’s style of wrestling in college was based on scrambling from situations that most people did not fully understand. He was able to take people into deep waters and drown them because they were lost technically.
Ben was not always this dominant. It was when he came across a coach in college who was into exploring positions. Ben and one of his coaches would wrestle or drill for about an hour after each practice. While doing this they would come up with counters to counters to counters from many positions where it began to dramatically have an impact on Ben’s wrestling. He became so dominant that he went on a long winning streak and became a 2-time NCAA wrestling champion.
When wrestlers would enter into scrambles with Ben it was over.
In Jiu Jitsu or wrestling it’s not that easy to spar hard for an hour day in and day out. So “flow rolling” or “flow wrestling” can be a good option. You are grappling through positions and developing counters to counters and counters while exploring positions. This helps you technically.
Another wrestler Tony Ramos (formerly an NCAA Champion of Iowa) also spoke on this subject. He said in order to do this (flow) you need a receptive training partner who is willing to exchange positions and give up points. Not everyone’s ego will allow this. Tony said this learned style was common among Eastern Europeans he sparred with.
In grappling some people whop begin may not know how to control their body and emotions to allow things to happen. Over time flow rolling is not a hard concept to grasp. By practicing flow sparring it can really be a beneficial way to warm up and a way to learn and explore positions.
It’s important to note “flow rolling” or “keeping it playful” is a talking piece among Ryron Gracie. It is an exploratory approach to Jiu Jitsu that allows his body to stay young, while he gets better and is having fun.
What are your thoughts on flow rolling? Do you use this and when?