Need some advice on rolling/sparring...

paco99

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Hello. I'm fairly new to BJJ. I just started a couple months ago, and I'm finally starting to have a vision of a clue when sparring/rolling. I'm finding myself very winded after rolling for 3-4 minutes. Is this normal? The other guys seem to be able to continue. I'm wondering what I can do to preserve my breath.

I'm in fairly decent shape cardio wise, so I think I'm just doing something wrong. I run 3 miles 3 times a week without stopping at a decent pace, so I'm in ok shape. but, when rolling, i'm exhausted after a few minutes.


Thanks,

Paco
 

MJS

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With time, and more rolling, you should see that your cardio will improve. Keep this in mind...while you are doing cardio, rolling is very different from running. You're using different muscles, in addition to having to deal with the weight of someone on you. Roll for a few minutes, get winded, and now you have someone mounted on you, sidemounted on you....it'll take a toll on your breathing.
 

jks9199

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Rolling/wrestling is a very anaerobic exercise; running is only a starting point for your conditioning. You'll develop more stamina as you train more, and you can find and learn different training exercises if you look around, as well.
 

Andrew Green

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Hello. I'm fairly new to BJJ. I just started a couple months ago, and I'm finally starting to have a vision of a clue when sparring/rolling. I'm finding myself very winded after rolling for 3-4 minutes. Is this normal? The other guys seem to be able to continue. I'm wondering what I can do to preserve my breath.

Relax.

Easy to say, but harder to do.

New people tend to tense up and try to force just about everything, leaving you completely exhausted very quickly. You mentioned you run 3 miles regularly, you have to pace yourself to do so, if you sprint you will be done before you hit one mile correct? Same thing when rolling, you're going to be doing it for the whole class, so you need to pace yourself.

It is good to turn up the tempo once and a while, but most of the time you should be going at a pace that you can maintain.

Just remember that like running, people that are better will be able to keep a faster pace then you, if you run a marathon and try to keep pace with the top 10 on your first run you might succeed for a bit, then collapse at the 1 mile point.
 

hkfuie

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Hey, thanks for posting this question, Paco. My class is more jujitsu and throwing, but lots of the guys roll and I just feel like an idiot when I do. Good to know it took you a while to start to get what you were doing. I'll hang in there. I definitely want to learn the skills I need to get more comfortable with groundwork. That's one of the reasons I'm taking the class, after all! :)

Steph
 

Steve

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With new guys, conditioning is certainly a big part of it. However, even guys who are in good shape gas out fast. The reason is often because he or she doesn't breathe. What I mean is, they literally hold their breath or breath irregularly. Others have mentioned relaxing, and this is definitely a part of it.

Concentrate on breathing.

Next, proper technique. If you're on the bottom, flat on your back and your arms aren't in the right spots, you're probably very uncomfortable and unable to breathe. Look at the upper belts. you'll see that if the the guy on top is in close, they are likely up on one side or the other... rarely squared up and flat on their backs. Being on your side gives you space to breathe and also options to improve your position. Also, keeping your arms in to create space will help relieve pressure on your diaphragm making it possible to breathe.

Finally, learn to use your legs. It's amazing how many new guys forget they have legs. Again, look at the upper belts. They use their arms, legs and head to good effect. Once you begin to really incorporate your legs into your game, you'll start to see how you can start working your advantage. The entire idea of BJJ is to stack the deck in your favor. Use your legs against your opponent's arms, for example.

Ultimately, I've found that strong arms and legs help, but a strong core is crucial. Being able to stay up on your side in half guard is all core strength and technique. Being able to breathe with pressure on your diaphragm is a function of your core strength.

Ultimately, it's just mat time. Train, train, train and focus on the basics, and don't forget to breathe.
 
OP
P

paco99

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wow! These responses were awesome. Everything was very helpful. To summarize, it sounds like I need to do a few things:

1) Understand that this is normal for beginners
2) Train more and build more stamina
3) Most important: learn to breath and relax. This makes a lot of sense, but it's hard to picture relaxing when the guy is trying to choke me or submit me. I will try relaxing and breathing Sat morning when we roll again. I'll come back with an update.


Steph, hang in there for sure. The first month, I was very discouraged. However, when I was able to show a little progress, it started to become fun even though I ended up being submitted most of the time. Right now, I look forward to rolling, but i just need to learn to relax and breath so I can last longer than 3 or 4 minutes.


Thanks again everyone!


Paco
 

Andrew Green

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This makes a lot of sense, but it's hard to picture relaxing when the guy is trying to choke me or submit me.

New guy benefit: Tap out, then ask: "What did I do that got me into that and how do I avoid getting caught in it?"

More productive then doing the crazy-fish-in-a-boat dance for a minute then tapping.
 

SensibleManiac

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Hey Paco, make sure you're breathing regularly and relax, try paying attention on your breath to make sure you aren't holding it.
Hill sprints are an excellent exercise for conditioning.
Basically you run uphill as fast as you possibly can and then slow your pace on the way down, run around the hill if it's a short distance then sprint up again.
Sprint for about 10-20 seconds and then reduce your pace for 30-45 seconds then sprint again.
 

Nolerama

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Check out High Intensity Interval Training to help you increase your gas tank. What everyone else is saying is right about breathing. Relax! The person you're rolling with is your training partner. He's not out to kill you. Enjoy the roll and breathe easy. Soon you'll get it, and you'll end up surprising yourself.

Have fun!
 

LuckyKBoxer

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I recommend you invest in a couple Jiu Jitsu Books to read while you are not rolling.. Preferably one on concepts, principles, and theories, rather then just an instructional book.

The white Belts biggest problem is that they panic. They tense every muscle in their body and keep them tensed until they fatigue. You need to learn to relax all your muscles except the ones you need, when you need them. You need to get comfortable in the different positions, and understand what is at risk in those positions so you can focus on that and not keep your entire body tensed. I see you run 3 miles. If you want to get a good idea of what you are doing to yourself in Jiu Jitsu then I recommend you try running those three miles while flexing every muscle in your body... actually try running one lap around a football field, 1/4 mile doing that...

Once you learn to relax your ability to roll for longer amounts of time will accelerate greatly.
 

PurpleParham84

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The white Belts biggest problem is that they panic. They tense every muscle in their body and keep them tensed until they fatigue. You need to learn to relax all your muscles except the ones you need, when you need them. You need to get comfortable in the different positions, and understand what is at risk in those positions so you can focus on that and not keep your entire body tensed.

I totally agree with this. Everyone does it. The one thing that helped me overcome this was rolling with new guys that started training a few months after me. Since I had a few months experience on them and knowledge of basic positions and control, I was able to realize what I was doing wrong by observing them. That way, I overcame my beginner jitters early on, and it also helped the newer guys overcome theirs more quickly.
Since then, I have joined the Marines, so my fitness level over the past year, compared to when i was a white and even new blue belt, is light-years from what it was. I have learned so many strength, endurance, and stamina focused workouts that have really benefitted my game tremendously. I recommend Crossfit-type workouts, but honestly, my favorite, is just make-it-up-as-you-go workouts.

It usually always consists of running. Run for warmup, between your workouts, after your workouts, and sometimes during. It usually lasts for about 45 min to 2 hours. The key is to never repeat the same routine twice. (obviously, over time, odds are you might, but just as long as you don't repeat the same workout everyday). This keeps your body guessing. If your body gets in rythym and can predict peaks of your workout, then your heartrate, endurance, and stamina will instinctively adjust themselves to perform at certain times, causing you to possibly crash at a critical moment, when you need strength.

Sorry, I went on a little long with that. Just a thought: IMHO....Jiu-Jitsu is more mental than physical. The second you stop thinking about what you are doing, you start to exert more energy than is required. Have fun and keep it up. Safe rolling!!
 

PurpleParham84

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Sorry about the above post. New to this forum. I meant to quote the first few sentences from LuckyKBoxer. I extend credit to his words. I apologize once again.


Nevermind, figured it out. haha.
 
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