Mental toughness challenged by BJJ?

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by metallifan3091, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. metallifan3091

    metallifan3091 Green Belt

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    Hey guys. First, sorry for the WALL of text. Please bear with me. I just got out of my second BJJ class, and I'm really loving it so far. I'm relatively small (5' 8" and 145lbs), and I'm outweighed by everyone else in the class, but so far that hasn't really been a big problem. I feel like I'm doing relatively well picking up technique and learning how to move from position to position, etc. Overall, I'm happy with my performance and with my classes.

    Now, to the meat of this thread. I've always been proud of my mental toughness. When my brother and friends and I would fight/wrestle/whatever when we were young, I won a lot of the time through sheer willingness to keep trying and work my way out of disadvantaged positions. I've never been afraid of contact with bigger, stronger people, and I've always felt like I could take a hit, whether it was wrestling or playing sports or moshing at concerts or whatever. Over this summer, my brother and I and some of my friends started rolling, despite our lack of training, just as something fun to do, and I got submitted pretty often with a variety of joint locks, chokes, etc. I never had a problem with pain or freaking out because I was blacking out or anything.

    The first BJJ class that I had, we worked on several gi chokes. I was calm while rolling and drilling, and I felt like I had nothing to worry about when the other guy tried the gi choke. When he tightened it in, it was easily the most uncomfortable sensation I can ever recall feeling. My eyes watered, I coughed like crazy, and I tapped before he even had the choke sunk in all the way. I was surprised, but I figured that it was just a first time thing, and I let him try again. Same thing. Later, we drilled the bow and arrow with different partners. Same thing. I feel like the mental fortitude that I've always felt confident in has been very challenged by this.

    My question, after this INCREDIBLY long post, is this. When you first started training BJJ/any other martial art, did any of you experience anything like this? I'm not planning on quitting or anything like that; if anything, discovering this weakness has made me determined to work on it and make gi chokes a strength of mine. I'm just wondering if any of you were surprised by something like this. Thanks for reading and responding. Sorry again for the length.
     
  2. An end for

    An end for Purple Belt

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    Well... you'll get used to it with time. It was bad for me too, but it startled me more than it scared me. Same with being smothered or ending up under a bad position and not having enough air. Just keep on training, you'll eventually "separate" yourself from what's going on with you and not feel threatened as much.
     
  3. Throwing Dummy

    Throwing Dummy Green Belt

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    When I started BJJ I would get crushed in mount or side control and I would get a horrible claustrophobic panic. I used to tap to that panic frequently. I still get it now, but way less often, and when I do, it's no longer a problem.

    If there is nothing physiologically wrong with you, you should be able to get over it by getting used to it.
     
  4. juji gatame**

    juji gatame** Brown Belt

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    huh? I've never heard of this problem. To me getting caught in a submission was just getting caught, you tap and that's it. Guess I'm just crazy then.
     
  5. Canned Tuna

    Canned Tuna Red Belt

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    Didn't happen to me with BJJ or judo but it was an everyday thing for the first year or two that I wrestled. I wrestled for five years and it didn't get to the point where dealing with gut checks was easy for me until the 4th year.

    Heart isn't something you are born with, not for most people anyway. It's something you have to earn. It took me a long time, longer than most people who take a sport seriously, to learn to really push myself. You'll get used to it, but it takes time.

    Edit: after reading the other responses, maybe I misunderstood the question. I don't know about you feeling uncomfortable being choked. that is new to me. I thought this was about you questioning the mental fortitude you thought you had.
     
  6. Sayian

    Sayian Blue Belt

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    mental toughness is not how long you can withstand the submission.. but rather how long you can keep training after getting smashed to a pulp over and over again.
    your 145 lbs, so believe me when i say you will get crushed by heavier, stronger guys ALL the time. Even big meatheads fresh of the street will smash you for sometime to come.
    Push through it, push through the constant barrage of defeat.. that'll show mental toughness
    Theres no pride in withstanding a choke and going to sleep, or holding out against a joint lock and getting your bones snapped off.
     
  7. pachanga

    pachanga White Belt

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    The degree of physical discomfort caused by a submission has nothing to do with mental toughness. Mental toughness is about whether or not fear of the discomfort stops you from rolling etc. If other people's submissions weren't causing you discomfort and you were able to get away with not tapping and fighting out of them, it's because they weren't doing them very well. When you're caught by a legit submission, tapping doesn't show a lack of mental toughness, it's just common sense.
     
  8. HomerPlata

    HomerPlata Purple Belt

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    I agree that grappling challenges your mental toughness but, like some others have said, not in terms of resisting locked-in submissions. It's more about whether or not you can drag yourself to class when you feel like the weakest, most talentless turd on the planet. Everyone has those days, and if you can still get to class, listen well, and train hard, then you do have mental toughness.
     
  9. InfiniteWit

    InfiniteWit Orange Belt

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    When I started wrestling in middle school I used to go over every time I got a power-half slapped on me because I hated the feeling of it. Now I've gotten pretty good at stopped in and being active on bottom. I've even countered one where I ended up popping out and going straight for a pin. Just keep working and you'll get over it.
     
  10. ACT

    ACT Purple Belt

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    I think rolling can put you in the most uncomfortable positions, more then getting hit, or even sitting in the dentist chair getting a root canal. The most important thing is control your breathing and stay calm, if you can still breath you're more then fine. Hell even if you can't you're good for a few seconds. Just takes some getting used to, try closing your eyes while your partner is doing the choke (not in sparring, just in learning the technique) and focusing on your breathing.
     
  11. Doctor Venture

    Doctor Venture Black Belt

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    Actually it sounds like its physical toughness that you're lacking. Your neck will get stronger, and you'll learn how to breathe while rolling, and not breathe/swallow while getting choked and you'll be good. The mental part is showing up again for the next class.
     
  12. tysnw

    tysnw Brown Belt

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    i've been training for an amount of time, and i have to say that imo gi chokes suck.

    i laugh at armlocks, scoff at naked chokes, and ignore leg locks for i am impervious to all pain! but gi chokes are another different animal for me. really hate 'em.

    i really dislike getting gi choked. but it's all part of a game that i love. so i've to accept it, and try to unpussify myself.

    i'm a bad writer, so what i'm saying is that IMO gi chokes are the worst. and it doesn't sound to me like you're experiencing anything out of the ordinary. keep up the good work!
     
  13. ElKarlo

    ElKarlo Gold Belt

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    Y a get used to it. Just like when it's summer time and someone has fullmount on you, and their gi is open and in your face, and you feel like dying, that too, you get used to.
     
  14. a dead stick

    a dead stick Orange Belt

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    I'm a pretty big guy and I went through much the same thing. I got collar choked (while in someones guard :redface:) during the rolling at the end of class on my first day, I remember thinking "This sucks, is it even allowed"? as I tapped out :icon_lol:

    I think it is a mental thing definitely, to get used to the sensation of what amounts to a noose being tightened around your neck. After a a couple months of classes where you practice collar chokes you get used to it just like anything else.

    Remember that it is one of the most sensitive parts of your body and the collar chokes put serious pressure on the weakest parts of the neck, so unless you are already muscle bound its guaranteed to hurt plenty in the beginning.
     
  15. J Turner

    J Turner Guest

    I don't roll with a gi, so I can't comment on your exact problem. But everyone freaks out or w/e when someone trained gets a good solid choke or sub on you. My first ever one was when someone about my own size got a triangle on me, I usually just slam the smaller guys when they do it to me and it breaks them, but he was big and strong enough for that not to work - I felt myself getting weak at the arms and legs, classic signs of 'redding out'; My head felt like it was swelling and I gave up.

    I tapped. I felt awful becuase it's the first time I felt helpless in a physical confrontation, but the true test of mental toughness is when you keep coming back for more, determined to better yourself (which will happen if you put the time in)

    I have a huge phobia of getting triangled still btw, so when I see someone going for it I usually explode and do everything I can to fuck them up. If I;'m actually properly sparring with someone that means using strikes as well to throw them off balance.

    Don't let the shit beat you though man, everyone loses and feels crap sometimes. Even my idol Fedor has been triangled and lost.

    Shit happens to the best of them. Always remember that.
     
  16. HomerPlata

    HomerPlata Purple Belt

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    What kind of class allows you to slam your way out of submissions?
     
  17. BizarroPutin

    BizarroPutin Blue Belt

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    this is why I get annoyed sometimes when MMA guys say something like this after the fight: "oh yeah he had that choke sunk in pretty tight but I'm tough and I just refused to give up"

    you don't "will" yourself out of a choke... If you escaped a really tight choke it's probably because the guy applying the choke fucked up.

    being "tough" on the mat in terms of submission holds will eventually result in getting your shit broken. that's not being tough IMO, its being a stupid meathead.

    being tough is remaining composed when you're being crushed and suffocated in a bad position, continuing to train when you're exhausted, and continuing to show up and train after getting smashed and demoralized. that's mental toughness.

    tapping to a proper submission on the training mat is to be encouraged. suck it up, remember how it happened, and try again
     
  18. BizarroPutin

    BizarroPutin Blue Belt

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    yeah seriously...

    that's just great. explode and do everything you can to "fuck up" your training partners. brilliant.
     
  19. J Turner

    J Turner Guest

    I train at an MMA gym, not a BJJ class.

    It was also a last ditch attempt, he had it sunk in for what seemed like an eternity, and I figured 'I either sit here and pass out out, or slam him and hope he slips or passes out himself' - Anytime anyone slams it's a last ditch attempt, the best defense is to not get into the bad position in the first place. Easier said than done though I'm sure you can appreciate.

    PS: Do they not let you slam where you train? It's a valid last ditch attempt in my book, if you get to the stage where you feel you have to use it, then you are close to tapping out anyway.

    This is actually quite interesting, becuase I have no desire to get a belt in BJJ, my focus is Muay Thai and enjoy that far more - do they simply not allow you to slam etc in most BJJ training camps? I didn't know it was against the rules, but like I said I have no formal BJJ training.
     
  20. El Beebo

    El Beebo Blue Belt

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    That's weird. The slam is my go-to escape for the triangle. My last ditch attempt is standing and stomping my training partner's face. Somewhere in the middle there I usually deliver a 4-finger oil check.
     

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