At one time, a while back, you were going to BJJ class regularly and starting to get some pretty decent skills.
But injury, work, school, or other obligations caused a temporary interruption in your training…which stretched out into several months.
You get a nagging feeling when you see your jiu-jitsu kimono hanging in the corner and gathering dust. You know you should get back to training. Your BJJ training partners tease you about being last seen as a missing person on a milk carton.
The think of returning to the mats after a long absence is daunting. You have lost much of your conditioning and do not relish the idea of being back at the bottom of the totem pole again and having lower belts give you hell during rolls.
But it is possible to return to training with less pain than you might think. Here are a few tips for those planning a return to the mats.
Don’t Think In Terms Of All Or Nothing
Either you’re going to roll 100% savage or nothing at all?
Ease your way back into training. As is the same with any athletic activity, you allow your body time to readjust to the demands. Before long, you will be up to full speed again.
Start By Drilling And Not Rolling
If it has been a long time, your body may have forgotten many movements. You need to get some blood moving and restore some flexibility and conditioning. Instead of jumping into the deep end and rolling 100%, bust out some reps and get some BJJ-specific movement back.
Your brain needs to remember every bit as much as your body to get back up to speed. You will need to remind yourself as to what you should be doing in the various positions.
Here, it’s nice to have a good training partner to just flow through all the positions and give your brain a chance to recall what to do in each position.
Don’t try to get taps. Just roll and focus on transitions and moving between the positions. Allow your back to be taken, mounted, passed in every ground position. Get a sweat going and some of the mental lights will start to come back on without feeling too discouraged at your rusty skills.
Before long you will be wondering why you were away for so long.
Don’t overthink it; just get back on the mat and do it!
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