Under Pressure

The first lesson for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the most valuable.  But it isn’t easy.  Doing anything under pressure causes stress.  Stress elicits our natural fight or flight response.   You cannot avoid this response, but you can train to maximize either (or both).   Training how you breath will lead to enhanced practice and performance.

Here is how to influence better performance breathing:

Relax your face.  Grimacing causes clenching of your teeth and can induce hyper ventilation or breath holding

Plaster your tongue on the roof of your mouth.  This will close your esophagus and direct air in and out of your nose.

Breath in and out of your nose as much as possible.

Exhale on movement

If you find that you are having a difficult time catching your breath, forcefully exhale.  Allow your inhale to come naturally.

Some exercises I have tried:

Cut a piece of towel and bite down on it and train.  This will forces inhalation and exhalation through the nose.  It will also make you take your time.

Train with your mouth duct taped.  Yes, it’s weird.  Yes, it will induce panic.  But, over time, you get used to it like anything else.

My favorite is what I refer to as ABC breathing.  Here, your partner obtains a knee on your belly or a tight side control.    Tense your core and out loud , recite the alphabet as slowly as possible.  Have your partner increase pressure or  roll back and forth changing the location of pressure on your diaphragm.  The longer you are able to have a conversation, and it must be out loud, while supporting the weight and pressure of your partner will exponentially raise your performance breathing.  This is also a great exercise when your partner has a body triangle from your back.

Give these a try and see the difference.  But, don’t do the following:

It is legend that Spartan Warriors had to run a marathon with their mouth filled with water.  At the finish line, they had to spit it out.  If they were unable to, they were killed.

Now that is pressure.