Play Variations

Standard Rules:

Make a deck of suitable cards. Each person secretly draws a card. During a 3 – 6 minute training period you try to accomplish what is on your card. The winner is the one who completes their card first. Keep track of points as a tie-breaker.

How I use the cards at my academy:

There are no wrong ways to use these cards. However, after years of using them, I have picked up a few tips along the way.

  • Depending on who is training, I create the deck specifically for what they need. Most of the time I am either combining the white and blue cards or the blue and purple cards.

  • Typically we set the timer for three minutes. If you can’t finish your card in three minutes, it’s probably not going to happen.

  • If both partners are pretty close to equal, I will have them both draw a card.

  • If there is a slight disparity in skill, I will I have just the more skilled person draw and have their partner roll as normal (going for any submission / defending what they think the card might say).

  • If there is a large disparity, I will have the more skilled person draw a card and show it their partner. Their partner’s only job is to prevent what the card says.

The words on the sides of each card are called Side Words. In this example we have Guard, Side Control, Knee on Belly, and Kneebar.

Another variation is to use the “side words”.

For my kids class I use these like flash cards. I will draw a card and they need to race to reach that position with their partner.

For the adults I will draw a few cards and use the side words to create a sequence they must try to replicate. They get to use a willing partner and try to create as smooth of a flow as they can as they work on these transitions between positions and techniques. Using the cards above I would expect someone to start in guard, open the card, pass to side control, pop up to knee on belly and then transition to kneebar. I would probably expect someone to slide up to a version of reverse knee on belly, where they are already facing the legs and attack a kneebar from there.