Whether it’s just a week or a full month of rest, there are many advantages but also disadvantages to taking time off from BJJ practice. Although the determination and perseverance of a Jiu-Jitsu fighter is unique, these very attributes can sometimes also work against them. It’s best to think of your training with the long view in mind, and decide if it’s better to lay off a little, or take a longer break. Either way, if injury strikes, here are a few tips to making the most out of your time off:
Training consistently promotes muscle memory, while allowing you to stay fit and active. Techniques get crisper and smoother, and your movements get sharper. Your body gets used to the amount of stress, and is comfortable in that regimen. With so many benefits, you may be asking yourself, why would one take an extended break?
If injury, travel, or any other life situation crosses your path, a break from BJJ is necessary until you get back on your feet. Even though you might feel like you’re missing out on a lot, especially if you train solely to compete, taking a mental break from the grind of training, will get you refreshed, re-energized, and re-motivated to get back in the game. Staying away from training for long periods of time may also help you realize how much you take it for granted, and increase your desire to get back on the mats. In that case, while you’re taking time off, try to stay mentally immersed in the game, brush up on some old moves, or research new BJJ techniques so when you are ready to come back to the mats, you’ve still got a strategic plan, and some new stuff to try out. Giving yourself a break from the super competitive mind set one has to maintain during intensive training is incredibly healthy, as well.
John Danaher explains how returning to Jiu-Jitsu after taking an extended break is not that bad, and how regaining your form is possible after a while:
“You can always come back to Jiu jitsu: Life is complicated and often it creates times when you have to leave Jiu Jitsu for a time to engage in other priorities.
It’s natural to think that the time off will be disastrous and then if you ever tried to return you would have lost all your skills and have to start off at the bottom again. My experience is that this is not the case.
That in fact, the skills of Jiu jitsu are difficult to learn – so difficult in fact, that they are hard to forget!! What I find is that you quickly lose that fine sense of timing and pace that comes with constant training, but the deep underlying core of your game remains for a long time just waiting to be reactivated.
Your first sessions back you feel slow and out of breath, but the timing and pace control that was lost easily also comes back easily – and then you are right back in the saddle!
!Look at the example of one of my early black belts, Steve Williams, from a time long before the squad – he took many years off to engage in other life projects, moved around the country and came back recently to the basement – here he is competing in F2W this weekend in high level competition and looking like he never took a day off!
So don’t worry about the pressures of life interrupting your training – that hard won knowledge and skill of yours is buried deep inside – it’s not going anywhere – just look at the example of Mr Williams.”
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