In the Zone: 6 Ways To Relax When You Do Jiu-Jitsu

6 ways to get in teh zone when you do JIu-Jitsu

Remember those first days of Jiu-Jitsu? Of course, you do, nobody ever forgets them. Perhaps you’re a complete beginner that’s still struggling with it. In any case, I have both good news and bad news for you. All that panic that you felt in the first few days never really goes away. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the more you do Jiu-Jitsu, the more you’ll get used to it. However, you could actually “hack” your way through the process, and learn how to relax more. Whether you’re a beginner terrified of rolling or a seasoned competitor about to go for that most difficult first match, you’ll need to find a way to deal with the jitters. Well, here are 6 ways to feel more relaxed when you’re grappling.

Competition jitters, anxiety, butterflies, nerves…call it whatever you want. It is something you’ll always have to deal with. Some of us are fortunate enough not to take it seriously, while others completely succumb to this state. In any case, It is manageable. The fact of the matter is, it will never go away. Even after training for most of your life, you’ll run into folks that’ll l wipe the mats with you and humble you in minutes. Sometimes you’ll feel the nerves before a match or a tough roll, and in other cases, they’ll creep up while you do Jiu-Jitsu. The first step is to accept that adrenaline will flow anytime you’re not completely comfortable. The second step is figuring out which of the next 6 techniques to use in order to relax.

The Best State To Do Jiu-Jitsu In

You’ve heard time and time again that you need to relax, go with the flow, and the likes when you do Jiu-Jitsu. We’ve all seen it in clips of high-level black belts rolling or even seen them compete like they’re strolling on the beach. It all seems fun and easy to do until that moment when you slap and bump and you actually need to put it to practice. This is an aspect of BJJ psychology that you can always bet on – if you’re winning, you’ll actually be able to find that flow and have fun. The moment something doesn’t go as planned, you lose it all like the adrenaline starts to kick in and you become rigid as a white belt on their first day.

Flwo when you do Jiu-jitsuFlow rolling is one way of trying to teach people how to roll relaxed. Unfortunately, it is also the hardest thing to teach anyone, mostly because of people actually need to teach themselves. All that talk about going 30% or some stupid arbitrary number like that is only good as long as the other person is also relaxed. The moment one rolling partner amps up intensity, all those percentages and numbers mean nothing. And still, every time you roll relaxed, flowing, you end up feeling much happier and fulfilled at the end, as opposed to going hard as your life depends on it. Not to mention that things just seem to stop working the harder you try to get them.

When you do Jiu-Jitsu, the “zone” you’re looking to get in is the one where your body is relaxed, but your mind is sharp. This may be hard at first, but the more you do JIu-Jitsu, the easier it gets. The whole idea is that when you relax your body, you can move, react, and adapt much easier to any situation that arises. Moreover, you’re more difficult to move, if on the bottom, or heavier if on top. Being relaxed also provides you with a much better base than being rigid and stiff. Moreover, staying relaxed will allow you to work more on movement and slick transitions because you can decide to switch halfway through. Not to mention all the injuries it is going to spare you.

If only there was a way to roll and even compete like this every time… Well, we found 6different ones to help you reach your flow state for BJJ.

6 Ways To Relax For BJJ:

The reason why people tense up before or during stations that make them uncomfortable is adrenaline. That fight or flight state is something we’re all pre-programmed with and there’s no escaping it. However, you could teach yourself to manage it and turn it into an ally. If you think that’ll those star athletes you know, whether they’re grapplers or from any other sport don’t get the jitters every time they compete, you’re mistaken. They just find ways of dealing with it. Speaking of ways of dealing with anxiety when you do Jiu-Jitsu, here are some of the best:

Ask Yourself Why Are You Nervous?

The first thing to do is to try and figure out why you’re getting anxious. It sounds like usual self-help mumbo-jumbo but it is not. Every roll is a simulation of a fight. The harder the roll, the more your body panics. In matches, this is even more emphasized. Convincing your mind that what you’re doing is not life-threatening is going to help a lot with managing your state. And, when you do Jiu-Jitsu, the main thing to figure out is why you’re getting anxious and then work on reversing that.

Know Your Limits       

Yeah, you have limits Everyone has them. If you’re the guy/girl that’s constantly winning in the gym, then you’re not really aware of what your limits are. In fact, if you do Jiu-Jitsu regularly, and haven’t tapped in a couple of weeks, you’re doing something wrong. Go for the weak spots of your game intentionally, so that you get used to not panicking when someone tougher eventually gets you there ina roll or a match. Learn your limits and respect them, and suddenly, they won’t be so scary.

Learn To Breathe

The most important thing to calming yourself in any situation is your breath. Whether you choose the Wim Hof method, some form f Yogic breathing, or whatever works for you, the important thing is to breathe. Holding your breath just makes things worse, and it is the last thing you want to do in a sport where choking is one of the main focuses anyway. To relax your mind, you’ll have to learn to breathe. That, in turn, will help you relax your body.

Think Positive

How to Relax when you do Jiu-jitsuIt sounds like another one of those memes self-help sites post. It is not. This is actually a really good way to hack your mindset for BJJ. It doesn’t mean you have to walk around with a stupid grin on your face all the time. It just means that whenever you find yourself in a bad position, you should think positively. Apart from tapping out, what’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t matter if it is a roll or a match. As long as you can stay positive, you’ll be calm and accept the situation. That’s when you can actually solve it rather than thinking “oh s*^t they have my back, Now I have to panic”. Be positive about the problem, and you’ll find the solution.


It is amazing how many of us can’t focus on what is happening while they do Jiu-Jitsu. People often focus on what’s going to happen next, or how much time is left, etc. Instead, all it takes is focusing on what is going on at the moment. Even when it comes to figuring out an opponent’s next step, the most important thing is staying focused on what they’re doing, rather than what they might do. This is how you’ll get all those submissions you’re looking for, or get out of plenty of bad spots.

Train Your Mind

Adrenaline might be a purely physiological function of the autonomous nervous system that we can’t control willfully, but it is still something our minds cause. Adrenaline will flow no matter what when the fight or flight kicks in, but we can train our minds to control the effects. There are plenty of practices from meditation, to form so yoga, or working with mind coaches and sport psychologists to get yourself in the zone for Jiu-Jitsu and use anxiety to actually fuel your [performance instead of hinder it.

Find TheFlow And Keep It Playful…But Not Always

When we do Jiu-Jitsu there are good days and bad days on the mats, just like with everything else. On those bad days, when things are off, whether it is training or tournaments, just do the best you can but never force yourself that’s the one thing to remember on a bad day.

On good days, though, your approach should always be the playful one. The reality is that you will grapple in a tournament in the same way that you roll. That doesn’t mean that you should roll wild and tense. Why not flow most of the time,. And then go and compete in such a manner as well? It doesn’t matter if an opponent is tense and explosive. Jiu-Jitsu is not about who is more explosive and powerful, but who is smarter and more “in the zone”. And, there’s no better way to actually learn flow rolling than keeping things playful.

By playful, I really mean messing around. Get caught, tap, go in bad spots. Even better, use games whine you roll, try and roll with handicaps (not using one arm, or using just one submission, etc.) Have fun and learn to relax. That way, whenever anxiety and nerves hit, and they will, you’ll still be able to do Jiu-Jitsu the way you want to.

Final Thoughts

Most people don’t enjoy their first experiences in Jiu-Jitsu. The inexplicable thing is that people get addicted anyway. Once that period passes though, there’s no reason not to do Jiu-Jitsu without having to be anxious on the mats. Whether it is rolling, visiting an academy, going to camp or competing,  use any of the methods above to get to that relaxed “zone” and turn on our best flowing BJJ mode.

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