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Blindfolded Jiu Jitsu
In Jiu Jitsu sparring, there is so much going on. We work on our technique, we test ourselves physically, and we learn where we are weak. But I am also an advocate of rolling with a specific handicap. The handicap is rolling while blindfolded. It might sound silly, but blindfolded Jiu Jitsu it does have its merits. Why would someone roll with no sight? Well it can actually help you improve your game. While I’m an advocate for it, I truly believe you should be at least a blue belt before trying this. One partner has full sight, and the other is blindfolded. It can do wonders, and here’s how.
The feel of Jiu Jitsu
Far too much of the time when sparring, we focus on seeing what is available, while not feeling it. Someone that can feel what techniques are available, or what his opponent will do next is the superior Jiu Jitsu competitor. By blindfolding yourself, you will feel your opponent’s pressure, and eventually you will anticipate what he will do next. Also you’ll be able to feel what submissions, chokes and sweeps are possible. You won’t be rolling great while blindfolded at first, but with practice, you will.
Being able to listen to your coach
It has been scientifically proven time and time again, that when you lose once sense, your others will become stronger in time. By practicing blindfolded rolling on the regular, one sense that will become heightened is your ability to hear. Many times in competition, we are focused too much on what we see with our opponent, instead of the instruction that our coaches provide. This will help you listen to what your coach instructs you to do on the mats.
Adapting to possible hardships
You never know what will happen when you compete or what will happen in a situation where you’ll have to defend yourself. There are a multitude of things that can happen to your eyes. Perhaps sweat gets in your eyes and throws you off. Maybe something gets in your eyes by accident, or the worst case scenario, maybe you get hit in your eyes, which makes it hard or impossible to see. If you regularly roll blindfolded, you will not be deterred by these situations. You will be ready for them, and still be able to win whatever fight is in front of you.
It could seem a little Hollywood-esque to do this, but it works. It’s a positive way to train. It isn’t always applicable but it is something to incorporate. Maybe once a week, you roll this way. The best situation to roll this way is against a lower rank, with less experience than you. This will give you the perfect time to roll blindfolded. You can work on all of all the positive aspects of it, while the lower belt can get a leg up on you. If you haven’t tried it, go ahead and make it happen. It will give you an interesting aspect to add to your training. Here is a video of former UFC welterweight champion, Georges St Pierre rolling with legend, Royce Gracie. At about 8 minutes in, GSP rolls blindfolded against Royce. Enjoy!