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Thursday, 02 February 2012 13:25

Overcoming Panic! (with Jiu Jitsu)

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One of the many positive things that I have noticed since I started training at the Indianapolis Jiu Jitsu Coach, is that it takes a lot more to stress me out than it used to. Of course, I am referring primarily to my daily life, the normal human stresses that come naturally with family, working, finances, etc. I seem to have a new perspective on all of these things, and have found that I can just shut my eyes, take a deep breath, and evaluate my position before I act or react to things that are causing these stresses in my life. I have found that I have been making some better decisions in general, that most things are not life or death as they may immediately seem, and that the best thing to do, in all cases, is to Not Panic! Though I still have a long way to go, and controlling decisions and emotions is a skill that is learned and mastered over a lifetime, what I know of this skill and philosophy so far has been hard earned through the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and under the instruction of Jiu Jitsu Black Belt, Marcello Monteiro.

In my very limited experience, I have learned quickly and the hard way that BJJ is a sport that capitalizes on panic. It is very important, as any long-term practitioner knows, to regulate your breathing, save your energy, use your weight and leverage to your advantage rather than brute force, and to hope that your opponent does not know these secrets and wait for him to exhaust himself. Someone in “panic mode,” or who seems to be fighting for their life, is good for about 30 seconds of furious attempts before they are completely gassed out. The experienced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete will defend this onslaught with a smile on his face, barely breaking a sweat, and then capitalize on the mistakes of his opponent.

Another opportunity for panic that I am slowly overcoming is finding myself on the bottom of a mount, after making some sort of mistake and getting swept or my guard passed. It happens quite a bit, the guys that I train with at Monteiro’s Indianapolis Jiu Jitsu academy are top notch, I fight guys more experienced and in better shape than me, and I find myself getting worked on quite a bit. At first, when that would happen, it would be hard for me to deal with. It is kind of like running a mile or two, in a gi that is as thick and strong as a strait-jacket, then having someone sit on your lungs or lay down on top of you, using their whole weight as pressure on your lungs. I am slightly claustrophobic, and was not at all used to that type of exhaustion and human closeness. It is an invasion of space, to say the least. That’s why the practitioners of this sport are tough, physically and mentally! I used to try anything to get out of this position, and my attempts usually resulted in a quick submission for them. However, through practice and conditioning my mind and body, I have gotten better at dealing with this circumstance, and am able to fight through the mental anguish and phobia and even occasionally improve my position. I still get mounted, however, like I said, the guys at this guy are top-notch, with world class Jiu Jitsu instruction.

After learning to cope with and overcome claustrophobic situations like that I am easily able to overcome a crappy comment from my ex, an unanticipated license plate renewal bill, or a sales deal gone awry with little to no stress on my body or mind. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is helping me to never panic, and that skill will prove invaluable to me in the future.

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