Shut it off

I think a lot. I know that seems like a pretty lame confession but it’s long been both a terrific asset and a terrible downfall of mine. On the one hand I tend to think through everything and make what I feel are logical, rational decisions. On the other hand I often overthink things, imagine the worst possible outcome, convince myself it will happen and then paralyze myself with indecision and fear.

I find this thinking duality exists in jiu-jitsu as well. My tendency to think through things has been very helpful in jiu-jitsu. While drilling in class I will often try to think about what the situation would be where I would use the move we are drilling, whether it’s a move that I think I will be able to apply to my own game, what I could do to get into the move, what I could do after the move and so on. After class I will drive home thinking about my rolls…what went right, what went wrong, what positions I am getting stuck in, etc. I will begrudgingly admit that I often even wake up in the middle of the night and end up laying there thinking about my current jiu-jitsu problems. It’s a bit obsessive maybe but I think it’s all been beneficial in helping me learn.

Somewhat early on in my grappling career though I realized that there was a time where my tendency to think through things rationally and slowly was not helping me at all. That time would be when I am rolling. I would often get stuck in bad positions and just lay there doing nothing while I thought through my options. What escapes do I know from here? How did I get here? What are the risks if I try a certain move? Not surprisingly by the time I had rationally and thoroughly thought through my next move, it was irrelevant because my partner had most likely moved onto something else or, even more likely, submitted me.

I started to realize that when it came to rolling, it was going to be more beneficial for me to turn off my brain and just let my body do its thing. This was by no means an easy thing. I am a thinker! I feel like my mind is always going and shutting it off is not something I’ve had much success with in the past. I am a horrible sleeper and I think part of the reason is that my brain just won’t shut up.

I was determined though to stop letting my brain take over my rolls and concentrate on letting my body do what it wanted. I quickly found that this was making my rolls a lot better. Most jiu-jitsu practitioners know that the best time to get out of a bad position is when your partner is still in transition. I realized that by spending so much time thinking about what to do next, I was missing my chance to take advantage of the moment.

To my surprise I also found that I was enjoying rolling so much better this way. I thought it would be a struggle to get out of my own brain for a while but I actually enjoyed the break from being a pragmatic overthinker. This is probably one of the qualities that I enjoy most about jiu-jitsu, the chance to stop thinking about everything and just rely on instinct and muscle memory.

Of course there are still times when my brain gets too much in the way and this sometimes leads to frustration and anger on the mat. I often see the same frustration when rolling with the newer students. I can see their mind working and feel the paralyzing indecision gripping their bodies. I often want to tell them “just stop thinking!” but I figure that would probably only be more confusing.

While I know that there is definitely a strong intellectual component to jiu-jitsu, I have learned that in the heat of battle, it is best for me to shut off my brain and let my body do what I have trained it to do. If you are finding yourself getting super frustrated on the mat because you can’t think of what to do next, I challenge you to stop thinking about your next move and just do it.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Gentle Artist

We ARE Jiu-Jitsu.

viperbjj.wordpress.com/

With your feet on the air and your head on the ground

Meerkatsu's Blog

One woman's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey

The Jiu Jitsu Transformation

Beginner Jiu Jitsu 101 and BJJ Quotes

This week in BJJ and MMA

Your weekly Combat Sports newswire.

Stethoscopes and Armbars

Just a girl out to prove that true strength comes from within.

Uphill

Musings on life, learning, social work, and judo. Mostly judo.

Georgette's Jiu Jitsu World

One woman's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey

Jiu Jitsu Adventure

A blog where I talk about my adventures with this meaning of life called Jiu-Jitsu

BJJ Contemplations

A blog about Jiu-Jitsu, the universe, and everything

Eli's BJJ Blog

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Blog and more...

Jiu Jitsu Evolution

A Blog all about Jiu Jitsu, and how I have evolved whilst studying it.

Jay Gaulard

One woman's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey

isang taong-nayon

Random ramblings of extreme importance , Bjj and Muay Thai

Jiu-Jiu's BJJ Blog

A language teacher's take on jiu jitsu

BJJ For Women

News, Events, Ideas and All Things Fenom

slideyfoot.com | bjj resources

One woman's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey

The Grumpy German

bunnies : magick : metalz

MyMindOnCarolina

Northern gal, heading South

SavageKitsune's Training Blog

One woman's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey

One woman's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey

TAP TAP TAP

Kissing Dragons

A Skirt on the Mat

One Gal's take on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and everything in it

#jiujitsudiaries

Doing, not saying. Being, not wishing.

gypsy girl in gi

Aussie in France - life updates and musings about brazilian jiu jitsu

No Guts, No Glory?

A Gutless Woman Practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The Domain of A. T. Greenblatt

Curiosity Sometimes Pays Off

The Exploits of a Lazy Grappler.

Shite writer, extraordinaire.

The Challenge 2013

I will not be governed by fear, exhaustion, or pain. I will not bury my head in the sand or turn away from an opportunity. I am grateful for what I have, but I will continue to reach for it is striving that defines me.

Fail Jitsu

The gentleman's gentle art of lying on the ground and rolling with the other gents.

OLD MUNKI

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Diet, Fitness, Health and Wellbeing

Mountains to Mats

The Modern Art of Muay Ski-Jitsu...

Jon Jitsu

Blatherings of a Jiu Jitsu Addict

A Crucial Waste of Time

This is the most important blog you will ever read. Intense philosophical thoughts on frivolous and peripheral topics

RocknRoll Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & Fitness - RNR BJJ

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Fitness and Music Blog! Cutting edge technique, jiu jitsu based drills and fitness programs, and rock n roll!

Learning to ride the waves

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

BJJ Grrl

"Be gentle, kind and beautiful, yet firm and strong, both mentally and physically." ~Sensei Keiko Fukuda

Crawl Atop Me and Meet Your Doom

One woman's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey

%d bloggers like this: