Don’t Mistake Speed for Timing

Speed is when you go from one point to another quickly. Timing is when you execute a movement at the correct moment. The first time someone told me to work on my timing, I exhausted myself for weeks trying to do everything fast. Hopefully this saves us a little effort.


The timing window is something that is in every single sport. One simple explanation is in baseball. From the moment the ball leaves hand of the pitcher, it’s the beginning of a timing window. The batter is free to swing, but he won’t hit the ball unless he swings at exactly the right moment before the ball is in the hands of the catcher. So, how do you reproduce this in Jiu-Jitsu?

First, isolate a position and be able to maintain it. You can use timing in a responsive way, but you may have trouble deliberately working on one thing. Ideally, you can prolong the time you’re in the position and give yourself multiple attempts.

Once you feel comfortable in the position, decide when the best time to finish is. When we drill something the first few times, it only takes a few seconds. When we go live against a resisting opponent, the same exchange can last several minutes. This is because they should have a response that we need to work around. Committing at the wrong time can be a huge mistake. We should be aware of probable responses, and develop a sense of when to finish the technique. Sometimes it’s when the window opens, other situations could be closer to the end. What happens when you fail? Is there another strong option available, or is it best to try again? This is a video of how I like to practice timing with a slowed down explanation.

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