There aren’t any shortcuts to success in Jiu Jitsu. You have to put in the work, the dedication, and the hours into perfecting your training if you want to fulfill your potential. However, even though there aren’t any shortcuts to it, there are some „secrets“ that you can use… Actually, there are some „secret tools“ – secret, because not a lot of Jiujiteiros use them – that you can add to your drills and rolls right now; which shall turn you into a much better BJJ athlete.
One of these secrets is, well – closing your eyes when you roll!
There are many benefits to doing this, to rolling in the dark. Let’s take a look at the most important ones.
CLOSING YOUR EYES BRINGS MORE ENJOYMENT TO YOUR BJJ EXPERIENCE
Arguably the best thing that happens to your Jiu Jitsu, while you roll with your eyes closed, is that you kind of begin to enjoy it more. That is to say, rolling with your eyes closed is a fantastic way to feel more present when you roll.
It sort of makes you feel more relaxed! You get to „ride the wave“ of Jiu Jitsu, where you’re going through the motions – nested in the moment – with the sensation of sheer gratitude throughout.
In one way or another, it is a lot akin to meditation. Give it a shot, you’ll feel wonderful!
YOU’LL PAY MORE ATTENTION TO YOUR BODYWEIGHT DISTRIBUTION
One of the most difficult things to get right in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, especially at lower belt levels, is proper bodyweight distribution while you roll. Simply enough, you’re paying attention to how to perform the mechanics of a specific technique or sequence of techniques; not on the underlying concepts and the true basics, which’ll grant these techniques an opportunity to actually work.
And, well, distributing your bodyweight properly can very well make a difference between success and failure in BJJ.
So, close your eyes! What you’ll notice is that you’ll start paying way, way more attention to this important skill. This is because you’ll have to rely a lot on it, as the lack of sight will force you to find the proper distribution and bodyweight balance; both rather important for proper control over your training partners! (As well as for not getting swept, among other things.)
CLOSING THE GAPS IN YOUR BODY POSITIONING
In approximately the same way that you’ll begin paying more attention to your bodyweight distribution and balance, so will you begin noticing the gaps in your body positioning!
In other words, you’ll be more in-tune with the training partner’s hips being way too far away from you, to the fact that you’re not controlling them properly, that you’re lacking proper tension in your grips…
The moment you start closing these gaps and achieving full body control over the opponent with closed eyes will be the moment your grappling will skyrocket a bunch.
A BETTER SENSE OF TRAINING PARTNER’S MOVEMENT AND REACTIONS
And finally, one EXTREMELY beneficial advantage you’ll gain by rolling with your eyes closed is that you’re going to develop a more nuanced feeling of how your training partners’ (and, as a result, your opponents’) body moves. To how it reacts to certain situations; and to what you’ve got to do in order to use their movement against them.
You will begin noticing nuances in how the body moves before it executes a specific submission, escape, or transition… Which you’ll then be able to notice MUCH faster when you roll with your eyes open.
Long story short: start rolling with closed eyes. It will make you a lot better.