Your martial arts life is good; you are able to make it to your Jiu-Jitsu academy four times a week and get out for your morning jogs 3 times a week; you can now land gogoplatas and arm-bars at will; and it’s been weeks since anyone of your belt rank has tapped you out.
Then suddenly, life happens. The kids are on different little league teams, two co-workers are out on maternity leave, and your 24-hour days feel as if they’ve shrank down to 24 minutes.
What’s going to be the first thing that disappears from your schedule? You guessed it; it’s your MMA/BJJ training. We have all experienced this on some level; whether it is the college student that gets slammed by finals week, or the parents getting slammed with their parental duties, everyone goes through major life disruptions from time to time. Here are few things you can do to keep yourself sharp while out of the academy.
First things first: don’t skip those morning jogs. They will keep your cardiovascular system strong so that when your life calms down, you can continue your martial arts journey without having to get back in shape. Do, however, start adding sprints, push-ups, and pull-ups to your jogging workout. This will cause your heart to work just like it does while live grappling. It will also help keep your strength up during your absence from your training grounds.
Train your brain: think about grappling or striking techniques as much as you can. Review combinations and scrambles in your mind. Visualize all of the techniques as they appear when performed perfectly. See yourself finishing, escaping, and sparring. Scientists have discovered that when they connect electrodes to athletes’ bodies and have the athletes visualize the motions of their sports only in their minds, the exact same muscles activate in the exact same sequence as they do when running the race in real life. Keep this in mind when you’re daydreaming at work or in the car; just thinking about doing Jiu-Jitsu techniques can help you keep your mind sharp.
Watch grappling matches: if you have some quiet time while the kids are sleeping and your wife is watching her favorite reality TV show, you should watch videos. Watching technique demonstrations on YouTube is OK, but what you really need to watch are the techniques in action. Whether it’s Marcelo Garcia, Andre Galvao, the Mendes brothers, or any of the Gracie’s, there’s a ton of competition footage on the web for you to learn from. Be sure to pay attention to the mistakes that people make when going up against these BJJ masters, so that you learn what not to do. Write down any questions you have about those matches, so that you can get a proper answer from your instructor when you get back to class.
These are just a few things that you can do to keep martial arts active in your life while attending class is difficult. You can even do these things while you are training every day. The only thing you don’t want to do is nothing. Even a little bit of exposure to BJJ or MMA is better than none at all.
I hope to see you on the mats soon.