There’s no denying it: lots of times, you’ll feel obliterated after a sparring session in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Especially as you rack up the number of rolls, against tough training partners, in a row. However, as tired as you may be, you should aim to never feel exhausted. For, if you’re exhausted, that means that there’s nothing left in the tank and that you won’t be able to roll in a productive manner the next time.
So how do you combat this problem? John Danaher proposes a simple solution: learn about and utilize the importance of tension.
Probably the single biggest issue for most beginning students in sparring is exhaustion. It’s natural to get very tense and stay at near maximum exertion level throughout the match. This will quickly exhaust anyone – even people who are in very good physical condition.
Maximum isometric tension is physically exhausting. The key to endurance in sparring is learning to regulate its use.
So, to avoid feeling exhausted, it’s a good idea to learn how to time yourself:
There will be times when you really need near maximum isometric strength, but these times are short and far between. For most of the match you need movement – which is best done in a state of relative relaxation. Only when you go to apply a move against resistance do you need a quick burst of isometric strength.
Learn to stay relaxed most of the time and then to turn on tension when needed and most important – when to turn it off – and you will immediately find that you can grapple for longer periods of time without total exhaustion.
For most of your match time, stay fairly relaxed to save strength for the times you need it, and if you don’t get a speedy breakthrough – turn it off and go back to relaxation – you’ll need it again later.
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