A Whitebelt’s Guide to Calming Down in BJJ
There’s something a bit infamous (yet kind of true) about a lot of white belts out there — and that’s that they love a bit of a takedown… sometimes a bit too much. Which is why many a white belt will often hear the words “calm down”, “relax”, and “breathe”. The white belt period is exciting, we know! You’ve found this amazing sport and can’t get enough of it. But calming down isn’t an attempt to kill your buzz — more so learning to control it and use it proportionately to the situation. Consider it as monitoring your intensity levels.
If your instructor has ever told you to calm down, here is what you need to know:
REMEMBER TO BREATHE
During training, you might occasionally hear the instruction “breathe!” A lot of the time, when we are practicing movements we are not overly familiar with (or perhaps just find difficult), we tend to hold our breath. You need to keep that oxygen rolling through. With proper air cycling through your lungs, you might find yourself clearer headed and more capable of making decisions based on clarity rather than haste.
CONSERVE YOUR ENERGY
A nuclear blast of energy isn’t needed at all times. You might even find afterwards that it gets in your way. If you tucker yourself out the first minute into battle, you give your opponent the upper-hand. A lot of the moves used in Brazilian Jiu jitsu, if applied correctly, shouldn’t require 100% effort all the time. With maybe 40% less Super Saiyan energy, you will find that you have more stamina than if you’d stayed with the former.
THINK ABOUT WHAT YOUR INSTRUCTOR MIGHT BE SAYING
Do you get told to calm down a lot during training? Relax? Breathe? A lot of these comments might get slept on by the average white belt still new to the art, but comments like these are integral to reflect on. Sometimes the amount of effort we put in doesn’t always produce the results we want. Taking a breath and chilling out a bit more in training could be integral to you taking the next steps as a Brazilian Jiu jitsu practitioner.
OBSERVE THE HIGHER BELTS
If you ever happen to be able to just sit back and watch higher belts compete together, you will notice how they slowly, but efficiently, begin to dismantle their opponent. By acting with restraint, you show confidence in your training as well as the ability to use higher-level thinking when attempting different moves on your partner.
If you’re ever confused about what it means to “calm down” during training, ask your instructor.