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I Keep Panicking When I Roll. What Can I Do?
An unfortunate, but real part of our game...
It has all happened to us. In the middle of a roll, panic begins to set it. You cannot breath. You cannot move. You may start to hyperventilate. You feel out of control, and all you can think about is trying to get out. You begin to muscle. You try to use your last bit of air and energy to get some room to breath again. Sometimes it works, and your lungs fill up with fresh air, and the roll continues. Other times it doesn't. After your last ditch effort to not die, maybe you tap…
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Your partner may look at you with disgust, wondering why that happened. Maybe they don't say anything at all…
Again, this happens to us all. I can assume that 95% of people have had a feeling of this at one point or another along their jiu jitsu journey. And that's ok, and just part of the game. And people handle the situations in different manners. Some people will die in their, and I have seen people pass out from crazy heavy top pressure. Some people just tap from the discomfort.
This can be disheartening, and can lead to a fear of rolling. People do not like this feeling of panic, but it is just part of the game. You are fighting with another person. Do not let it overtake you, and drive you away from live training.
Here are some ideas on how you can work to improve and control that panic we sometimes feel when we roll.
Yoga and Movement Drills
Yoga is stressed so much in the jiu jitsu world. And here is just one more reason. Yoga is a activity that places your body into precarious positions that we are not used to. You have to bend, stretch, hold, and contort your body to properly do the yoga positions. It is a great way to place your body into positions that are uncomfortable, but without the added stress of another human being.
I am a firm believer that you need to be able to control your body before you can control another’s. And yoga is a great stepping point for that practice. If you are able to get your body to move comfortably in and out of yoga poses, you are going to be more less inept in uncomfortable positions on the mat.
Also, yoga places a great amount of focus on controlling your breathing. Yoga requires you to keep your breathing even and controlled as you practice. This is as important as doing the movements correctly.
Also, your breath focus reduces the stress on the body, which in turn allows you to be more comfortable as you move. This practice is exactly what you need when you are rolling. Sometimes gaining your composure on the mat is as simple as taking a deep breath and continuing. And this will happen a lot when you start your yoga practice.
Also, work your movement drills. Practice your inversions, shrimp up and down the mat. Work your passing drills. Get your body used to moving as jiu jitsu requires. This is pretty self-explanatory. Being in these positions will allow you to get more comfortable in these positions.
Get Your Mind Right…
Remember, this is just training. We are here to learn, and to improve. Sometimes, we can get all psyched up, get our adrenaline going, and then completely gas out when we roll. This is when we begin to panic. We are tired, we have no more gas in the tank, and it feels like all the air has left the room.
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Just take it easy, and relax.
When you do get in those positions, and we begin to feel this panic set in, focus on yourself. Forget trying to escape. Forget trying to push them off. Focus on your breath. Get that right. Then, try to move an arm or leg.
Ok, I can move my arm to get some air. Ok, I have some air. Ok, now I can breath. Ok, now it is time to start an escape.
Or maybe you are stuck, and you cannot move your little toe because the pressure is so tight. Focus on your breath. Just breath. Get that right. Then try to move again. Nope, cannot move. Ok, keep breathing. Relax. Then begin to try to move again.
It does not sound that difficult, but it can be from time to time. Getting smashed by a skilled human being is hard to get used to. But, focusing on these few items will allow you to become more comfortable in your times of panic.
I also want to stress that it is ok to feel like this from time to time. While we should not be tapping to pressure or discomfort, it is a part of the game. Just another part that we have to get used to. If it happens, it happens. It has probably happened to us all. Take is as a learning experience, understand what happened, and try to not let it happen the next time.
The biggest thing here that I can stress is becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. People say this a lot these days, but it is 1000% true. Jiu jitsu is not always a comfortable thing. And we need to work on dealing with pressure, and losing the ability to momentarily move or breath. It is just part of the game. But, do not let it take you off the mat. Work through it. It gets better as you practice it more. Do not let panic rob you of your training.
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