The forward roll is one of the core movements in BJJ, Judo, and all grappling arts.
The most important use of the forward roll is to avoid injury; if your opponent sweeps you over his head you use this movement to avoid spiking your head down onto the mat and destroying your neck.
But you can also use the exact same movement in other contexts, including in scrambles and while applying submissions (like the rolling Judo choke).
In Judo the forward shoulder roll is usually taught on day one as part of the beginner curriculum.
But in BJJ it’s often neglected. Maybe the instructor assumes, incorrectly, that just because he himself can do this movement in his sleep that everyone else should be able to do it as well.
Unfortunately that’s not the case, and I’ve seen more than one otherwise athletic person faceplant hard on the mat because they’d never been taught this fundamental movement.
In the video below I take you through the forward shoulder roll.
Check it out if you do any form of grappling but still find this movement strange, unfamiliar or uncomfortable…
The forwards roll is one of a handful of core moments BJJ that then get used over and over for all kinds of different techniques. Brandon Mullins’ Non-Stop Jiu-Jitsu instructional set has a fantastic section on these movements and their applications, so you might want to check that out if you’re interested in this topic!