Taking a break from jiu-jitsu can be both physically and mentally difficult. Whether you’re recovering from an injury, had an inconvenient change in your work schedule, or have to prioritize personal issues over the gym, having to spend weeks or months away from your favorite hobby can come with a lot of emotional turmoil. If you’ve ever had to spend some time away from BJJ, you’ve probably dealt with a few of these internal conflicts:
1. You feel fat. Even if you aren’t. Lots of people do put on a bit of weight after spending a few weeks or months away from the mats, but unless the rest of your lifestyle drastically changes, you’re probably not as huge as you think you are. Still, the decrease in muscle mass can make you feel flabby, making you feel like a potato-shaped version of your former self.
2. You realize you may actually have anger issues. Hey, maybe you realized this before you started training. Either way, stepping away from the gym can make you realize just how much jiu-jitsu helps you release all that pent-up aggression. All those thoughts of wanting to strangle your boss or scream at the slow walkers on the sidewalk are totally normal… as long as you don’t act on them.
3. You feel like you’ve forgotten all your jiu-jitsu. What’s an armbar? Do you even know how to pass guard anymore? Would you die immediately in a street fight? Your technique will probably take a few classes to come back to its pre-hiatus level, but when you’re in the midst of a break, you may feel like you’ll never be good at jiu-jitsu again. Don’t worry, though — those day-one white belts won’t stand a chance against you once you’ve been back for a couple weeks.
4. All you can think about is training. To be fair, this may apply to you even when you’re training every chance you get. But it gets even worse when you can’t be on the mats. You shrimp your way out of bed, you do technical standups to get off the floor, anything you can to feel like you’re kind of training.
5. You get complacent. An object (or athlete) at rest tends to stay at rest, and if you’ve been resting for a while, well, it can be that much harder to get back into the rhythm of training consistently. When you’ve gotten comfortable spending your nights on the couch instead of at the gym and not waking up sore and tired every day, it’s easy to find excuses to skip training even after you’ve come back for your first class in a while. The internal battle between desperately wanting to train and desperately wanting not to train rages even more fiercely when you’ve had some time off.