Every time we train we feel different. We run on different emotions and body sensations, but for most of us, everything usually works as one.
If you are feeling tired and run down, then there is a good chance that the last thing you want to do is go and get manhandled around the mats for a couple of hours. The opposite side of this is that if you have had a great day and are feeling on top of the world, you most likely have a lot of energy and are ready to roll until your partners have had enough. The dominant emotion of the day will control our entire being, so if our dominant emotion is happiness, it will influence our whole metal state.
I would say that the best basis for achieving anything is happiness and not stubbornness, work ethic, anxiety, desire to prove oneself, or anything else. Whenever I feel run down or exhausted, I make sure I get to the gym and spend some time on the mats, be it just drilling or light rolling. It is the second thing in my life that brings me into a happy state no matter what.
I often think back to one session in particular that made me aware of the differences in the two mental states when rolling. I was rolling with a seasoned brown belt in our club when he took control of the roll in order to “calm” me down. I was going through some stuff at the time and was completely unaware that my frustrations were coming out in the roll quite uncontrollably. We sat and chatted about it for about 20 minutes afterwards and he made me more aware of the importance of being in control of my emotions whilst rolling.
I think back to times when I have been on top of the world. I had just given it my best without worrying about messing up a move or getting caught in submissions. I noticed when I stopped worrying about the outcome, the outcome was always much more positive. Crazy, right? This is because when you are happy you see training and rolling as a platform for progress. If you aren’t in control of negative emotions, you may see it as life or death, which it most definitely is not.
Most successful players in the jiu-jitsu world like Xande Ribeiro, Leandro Lo, Buchecha, or Andre Galvao are usually the ones who enjoy the art the most, and you can see this every time they are on the mats. It’s not because they are some of the best in the world — although it might help — but the truth is they are doing what they love and are grateful for the opportunity. If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting any of these guys, their positive energy is infectious and you can’t help but absorb it while in their presence.
We should all follow their lead. This means that we should always strive for happiness, or something close to it, if we want to have positive results in our game. Every time we’re not on this track we should remind ourselves why we started training in the first place and what it is that kept us coming back time and time again. We can also think of what positive effects it had on our lives or that good feeling after training. Whatever is happening, in the back of our minds we should always know what makes us the best version of ourselves.
It probably sounds a bit unrealistic, because when we feel down (tired, nervous or whatever) we can’t magically put on a smiling face and go on pretending that all is well. But we should always know what is best for us.
As I said, I have found that controlling my emotions in jiu-jitsu — be they bad or good — always manages to turn my day around