Train the Brain ...

First morning back on the mat after ten days off. Even though I was in 'teaching mode' - I was still (as always) looking for ways to improve and further develop both my understanding and performance in BJJ. In times like these, after a hiatus or break from regular training, I like to get my mind 'into gear'. I prefer to 'play jiu-jitsu' rather than to go at it like my life is on the line. here's what i try to do:

I try to keep thinking whilst i am wrestling. Now that is an easy thing to say - but in my view, very few people are doing this whilst they are actually grappling. it may even appear that they are 'thinking' but what i see most of the time, is that people just tend to go with their set of 'cultivated instincts' when they wrestle, and are usually not thinking at all.

The more experienced they are, the better set of instincts (or automatic responses) they have; but they are still mostly working with automatic and instinctive responses. To actually open our minds and try to 'observe' what is happening whe we wrestle - is a skill, and like all other skills, it needs to be practised and cultivated.

When we grapple, most people tend to get into a 'combative' mindset. this is natural. but I have to say that always wrestling with that minset will really limit your ability to grow and improve. When in a combative minset, we tend to narrow our focus, stick with the 'tried and true', and go harder in an aerobic sense.
I recommend, that everyone, at some time or other, try getting into a 'playful' mindset. "pull the strings' on the puppet (your opponent) and take note of what happens. Experiment, as if you were just a kid playing a fun game. Try new things - and don't worry about the outcome too much. be prepared to try turning left whe your instincts have always made you turn right. And back the pace of (aerobically) a little - anough to wrestle longer and 'see more things happen'. keep your mind 'open' and try to notice as much as you can. This is almost impossible to do - if you are narrow-foccused and obsessed with the outcome.

This is a good ay to 'train your brain' - whiuch needs just as much care and attention as does your physical response and technique. it's a great way to 'ease back in' after some time off.
good luck with it.
best regards,

JBW

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