A Reader Question: “I’m having trouble controlling my breathing when I roll in class.”

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MartialArtsNomad.com / Flickr Creative Commons

Question: “Hey JJT, love the site (Thank you!), it has helped me get through these 9 months of training BJJ.
Question I have is I’m having trouble controlling my breathing when I roll in class, I’ve checked the Rickson & Kron techniques.
I would like to know is there a more basic understanding of breathe control when it comes to breathing when I roll, help me out plz.”

Jiu-jitsu Times: Breath control IS very important in Brazilian jiu-jitsu,…and problems are not uncommon.

My long time training partner and owner of Grapplearts.com tells that the most common problem his subscribers ask is about is the issue of breathing and claustrophobia on the mat.

There are a few factors behind this problem.

A) I would wager that you are holding your breath more often than you think while you are exerting yourself.

When I teach the warm up movements of shrimp, bridge and sit outs I constantly reinforce the students MUST coordinate their breathing with the execution of the movements.

I observe the students holding their breath as they shrimp the entire length of the mat!
How long would it take anyone to become fatigued if they are exercising while holding your breath?!?

Watch (or rather LISTEN!) to boxers as they hit the heavy bag.
Every punch is accompanied by a pronounced, audible hissing of air through and out the pursed lips.

B) You are tensing your muscles (the sports science term would be “bracing”) and unconsciously forgetting to breath deeply.

This is VERY common when a lesser experienced athlete is competing with a more advanced opponent.
You can observe this same phenomena when you take a highly conditioned athlete OUTSIDE of their area of expertise.

ex. A world champion in Bjj who has taken up boxing sparring to prepare for MMA. They tire MUCH more quickly and their breathing becomes more labored in short order?
It is not because they are out of shape!

The mind and then the body tighten up when you are under stressful, unfamiliar circumstances.

The solution?
a) Just keep training. You will naturally learn to relax as you gain experience.
b) Be aware of coordinating your breaths with major ground movements (ex. bridging)
c) Some athletes have reported improved breath control from practicing yoga

Read the article below, good luck and remember to breath!

On Jiu-jitsu Times : Jiu-jitsu Wisdom of Rickson Gracie from 2 Black Belt Students

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