Rest Rounds

Nearly every Jiu-Jitsu class ends in sparring or what most call rolling. It’s the most popular portion of class due to the free roam aspect of it all. As a student, there are little to no specific rules in where you are allowed to take the roll or how you can finish. The freedom of rolling appeals to both the competitor and the hobbyist alike, from White to Black Belt.

In short, everyone loves to roll.

Inevitably as the rounds pile up, you’ll see students sitting out to catch their breath and recuperating. On the face of it, most people would say this isn’t a major issue but in the end it actually can be if you consider the amount of time you actually have on the mats. Disregard everything I’m about to say if you are injured or getting back from an injury. None of this really pertains to you, but if you’re a student with goals, it’s time to utilize your time wisely and push yourself past your comfort zone.

Lets consider some of the following.

The Value of Time

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Your average student trains three to four times a week. In a ninety minute class, you may roll for thirty minutes. At six minute rounds, that equals out to maybe five rounds during any given class. Mind you, some schools may be different, I’m speaking based off of my own experiences. Lets say that you sit out one or even two of those rounds, that brings you down to eighteen minutes of roll time per class.

Does this sound adequate enough for you?

If you think so, let’s break this down further. Let’s say you’re lucky enough to even play half that time in the positions that you want to work on. Once we start wedeling down your actual roll time, it doesn’t make much sense to sit out any rounds. You’re doing yourself a bit of a disservice and disregarding how valuable that time really is.

Defensive Work

If you are so tired that you want to take a round off, I suggest that you play defense. Humble yourself to understand that you may get submitted, but it’s okay. Being fresh and rolling is fun, but rolling when you’re exhausted is something else completely. It’s important to push yourself and test your abilities when you’re tired and gassed.

Are you as technical?

Can you defend yourself effectively?

If the answer is no to either one of these questions, I suggest challenging yourself to roll even when you feel diminished. You’ll start to learn how to conserve your energy, when it’s a good time to attack, and how to control an opponent more effectively.

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Mental Toughness

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When I was a White Belt, I started challenging myself to hide as much of my discomfort as possible, which wasn’t always successful, but when others got water I sat on the mats. I did my best to center my breathing and my thoughts. When others took rounds off, I almost always went in. Til this day, I still do the exact same thing. You will rarely see me drinking water and will almost never see me sitting out any rounds. These were mind games that I played with myself that ultimately became hardwired into my approach to training. I needed to take advantage of all the time I had.

That mental toughness does not come from sitting out rounds and feeling comfortable. It’s the product of pushing yourself towards something you think you can’t do then going further.

My Challenge To You

I challenge you to sit out one less round than you normally tend to do per week. After you’re body and mind grow accustomed, eliminate another rest round for the week. As you increase the rounds you have available for yourself, you’ll notice growth that would have taken longer to attain.

Good luck, and don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.

Published by David Figueroa-Martinez

I'm a Gracie Humaita Black Belt out of San Diego. I've been training Jiu-Jitsu since 2011 and started teaching in 2017.

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