Five And Five

For those old enough to remember, there used to be a game show on T.V. called The Love Connection.  When it came time to break to the commercials, the host Chuck Woolery would invariably tell the audience..."We'll be back in two and two".   In other words, the commercials are going to take up the next two minutes and two seconds of my time.  Similar to the The Love Connection, once completing the classroom portion of my BJJ training, the application portion takes up the next twenty-five minutes of my time.  The twenty-five minutes is divided into five rounds for five minute increments. Or as I like to refer to it, the Five and Five.  Now as far as i know, no one else calls it the Five and Five, except me.  But I call it that, so as to  measure my performance against the twenty-five minutes of rolling.  It allows me to evaluate my endurance based upon certain factors well within my control.

For some white belts, twenty-five minutes may not seem like a long time but for me it can be a challenge to endure the entire twenty-five minutes without pausing. And while I have been able to sustain entire twenty-five minute sessions, it's not consistent.  Typically I find my endurance beginning to wain around the third round.  And on most occasions, my reasons for pausing are often times listening to that inner whiner saying your tired...which is really nothing more than Excuses!  However, I can mitigate the inner whiner and roll the entire twenty-five minutes by striving to be more efficient with my pace, breath control and energy exerted.

So in regards to pace, it really is a two edged sword.  Most of the times pace can be a liability for most white belts.  Pace, or the speed at which I roll, can either make or break me for the duration of my roll and here's how.  If my pace is faster than my opponent, it will result in less endurance over the duration, tiring me out before my opponent and getting me tapped as well.  Pace as I'm constantly being reminded by more than one experienced belt, is something for me to improve on.  For most higher ranking belts, their pace is very controlled and methodical. They're not rolling consistently at a break neck speed and typically use a fast pace in measured amounts. So for me, I've started taking more time in watching and learning from more experienced ranks.  Watching how they manage pace and trying to learn from it. And during this time, I've made this observation.  That they use pace to their advantage.  Whether fast or slow, a good advanced belt will control their pace and coupled with good technique be the one who typically taps out his/her opponent.  So while pace is still a struggle for me, it's not my only.  So is controlling my breathing.

Breathing comes natural to me, just like everyone else.  But it's imperative to control breathing while rolling.  Otherwise as with pace, improper breathing will result in being less effective.  When I find myself rolling and gasping, that becomes an indicator to my opponent I'm gassed and a good candidate for a tap out.  Like pace, I'm constantly being reminded to breathe. Yet the funny thing is, I don't realize I'm breathing incorrectly, I always feel I'm being natural.  However I respect my higher belts enough to take the correction and improve and i'm trying harder to be more conscious of my breathing techniques.  There is some good advice on the internet on effective breathing techniques, especially for BJJ.   Techniques I'm try to implement into my daily journey in order to better maintain my stamina.  Yet at the end of the day, I'm still learning and have a long way to go to improve.  But as important as pace and breathing are to me, I feel the most important is how I manage my energy exertion.

Believe it or not exerting a lot of energy doesn't always equate to being successful (personal experience).  For me exerting too much energy means I'm using incorrect technique. Which means I'm wasting valuable energy, that could be more strategically used elsewhere in my game.  However exerting energy shouldn't be dismissed as being a bad thing, it just means I have to learn where to use it and how.  Because well timed and explosive energy is "A" key to achieving success over your training partner or at competition.  But for me personally, I firmly believe the best way to use less energy, is to master technique (A whole other discussion).  And in order to master technique, one has to practice and practice takes time.

So as I look at how to successfully complete a full twenty-five minutes of my training, I must first evaluate what I'm doing to be more efficient with pacing myself, managing my breathing and exerting energy.  I know this won't resolve all my shortcomings but it is a good start down a long road.  However, my hope for you is to take the advice of those belts above me and try applying it to your game as well.

Peace, Love & Chokes

Will h.


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