BJJ White Belt – Under Pressure: Part Deux

Whether voluntary or involuntary, positive or negative: we have a pretty amazing capacity to adapt to the environment around us, to situations we find ourselves in, and stressors that we introduce to our bodies.

During the now “Part 1” of Under Pressure (never intended on this being a multiple part serious, but hey, it works), I talked about rolling against someone who understands how to use the mount to their full advantage.

Under pressure. Claustrophobic. Near drowning.

I’m laying there, mounted by someone who’s at least six months my senior, who outweighs me by a good 50lbs or so. He’s in a higher mounted position and I’m doing my best to stay small, move and survive. His chest is pressed against me hard, my breathing is labored and the light around me starts to fade – not from being choked out – but from his arms covering and working me into submission. My training partner is patiently working his attack as I use the little knowledge I have to try and survive. It only prolongs the inevitable and shortly the submission is made, I tap and I am pulled back to the surface.

I’m also reminded of a quote from Fight Club. The line talks about the first week a man goes to Fight Club, his face is hamburger and after a few weeks, he’s carved from wood or stone. Something like that.

That’s what I’m noticing with Jiu-jitsu.

First, the adaptation. I was aware – in an under-the-radar kind of way –  that I was getting used to being in uncomfortable, claustrophobic-like, pressure positions in my rolls. But it wasn’t until last week during some No-Gi rolls that I made a conscious connection of how I’ve adapted and have become calmer in those positions. It was one of those things where I my rolling partner had me in the mount and was putting some good pressure on me, or I was inverted in an attempt at a Granby roll while my partner reacted with pressure, and I stepped outside my mind for a moment and thought, “Hey, wow… this doesn’t really bother me anymore…”, and then it was right back to the roll. Granted, I’m still learning No-Gi and there is a ton that I am thinking about during the rolls, all the training in the last eight months has helped me adapt to the pressure. So, Gi or No-Gi, it isn’t as bad as it used to be.

Pressure? Chokes? No Factor.

Sure the positions and pressure can be uncomfortable, but before where I was mentally frantic, scrambling and not sure of what in the hell I was doing… that has been replaced with a more calm, almost detached mental state where the pressure doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. I’m able to think and react better instead of fighting the, “Oh fuck, make it stop!” conscious/subconscious reaction my body and mind want to have.

Second, the Fight Club analogy.

Coach Shane likes to occasionally remind us that we are all constantly and consistently getting better, which is why we might feel like our progression is slow or standing still as we put in the practice day-in and day-out with the same classmates. We roll, we adapt, we improve and add-to our game. One night you’ll be the hammer, one night you’ll be the nail, and it’s this constant progression all around that gives the illusion like you aren’t improving…because everyone is.

The first few weeks of fight clu— I mean Jiu-jitsu, and your body feels pummeled. Tender hamburger. Run over by a Mac truck, as one of my teammates put it after their first class. After a few months, what you did during those first weeks feel like the warm up now. You still get aches and pains, you still get sore, but your body is harder.

I can’t remember the exact month, it was somewhere around the fourth month of training, but I remember the first time I noticed the changes my body had made since beginning the path of Jiu-Jitsu. It’s kind of hard to explain, but I’ll do my best. I looked at myself in the mirror after a night of training and my body looked harder. Now, I’m not where I want to be as far as aesthetics are concerned, I don’t have one of those “rock-hard/chiseled” bodies. The last two years of strength training did my body good, strength and health-wise, but this was something deeper. Yes, there was something different about the way my muscles were developing on this 38 year old body, but it was like energy projecting from my body, or like just under the skin, I was made of Kevlar.

Hopefully you get what I am saying. More than likely, its probably the product of the years of training, combined with the “hardening” I’ve received training Jiu-Jitsu, combined with an ever growing appreciation and self pride/confidence of what I am doing and what I am capable of.

I notice it too with my teammates. I roll with these guys and gals a lot. Their game is developing, from what I can gauge of their mental state – they are calmer, more calculated, more resilient, pressure positions don’t seem to bother them as much, etc. They just look harder.

Fucking proud of my team.

This holiday weekend is going to be a momentous occasion for our team and gym. 8x World Champion and my Coach’s instructor, Robson Moura, is conducting a couple seminars here! I’m super stoked to attend the seminar. This is the first time that a World Class BJJ Athlete of his caliber has visited Idaho. And you’d better believe I’ll be writing about it!

Pursue Mastery.

**Hey there, thanks for reading this post! If you find value in what I am writing about or know someone who would, the biggest compliment I can receive is for you to share the ever loving shit out of these posts. Leave a comment or two, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks again for reading!**

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