Live To Fight Another Day

Anyone can start jiu-jitsu and train like crazy out of the gates. They may start out training every day. They might even do some Muay Thai. They’ll train with 100% intensity with the competition team and refuse to tap unless they are about to fall asleep or crack something.

Everything is hardcore all the way!

But that type of mentality has a downside: increased risk or injury and mental burnout. This is especially true for those students over the age of 30, whose bodies are no longer as invincible as they were before.

Take a look at the class photo from previous years and you will see numerous faces who you can say “Hey, that guy was really good. I wonder what ever happened to him?”

Part of it is the mentality of some guys. Either they are going to train 100%, or nothing.

Another aspect is guys who quit due to injury.

The way that you train affects your likelihood of getting injured (although some injuries are freak occurrences). The reluctant-to-tap guys can be their own worst enemies in this regard.
The guys who refuse to give up a position or try to win every scramble also end up with sore necks, backs and shoulders. Fighting a takedown 100% has hurt more than a few knees.

To these guys I say, I understand that you want to train hard! You guys are young lions and can’t wait to get on the mats and get after it. I get that.

One must temper that enthusiasm with an awareness of training for longevity and self preservation. There is a fine line between training “balls out” and crossing that line into overstraining, mental burnout, and injury.

You must train in such a way that you know you can return the next day’s training session.

I’ll give you two examples

1) My opponent got me in the lockdown from half-guard bottom. He powerfully extended my leg (the leg with the chronically injured knee). I had a choice to fight the torque on my knee and keep the top, or give up the position and relive the painful pressure on my knee.

Royler Gracie probably would have kept fighting, but I decided to preserve my knee and fight another day.

I surrendered the sweep.

2) I was stand-up grappling with a student and had entangled one of his legs and trying to trip him to the mat. I felt his leg in an awkward position while I struggled to break his balance.  I gave up the takedown and withdrew my leg although I probably could have forced the trip.

But it didn’t feel like a clean, safe throw, so I gave it up and reset. My opponent’s knee was none the worse and I kept a valuable training partner to fight another day.

When in doubt, back off the intensity and remind yourself that it is always better to “live to fight another day.”

Read also on Jiu-jitsu Times – Reader Question: “With my injury should I still go watch and learn?”


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