Training tip: Roll when you’re tired.

Training tip: Roll when you’re tired.

I have found that some of the very best technique that I apply happens when I’m tired. The reason: I am simply unable/unwilling to rely on physical strength when I am tired and as a result am able to hone in on good technique.

Now there is a clear set of caveats to this:

  1. Don’t roll sick
  2. Don’t roll injured AND tired (you’ll likely exacerbate the injury)

However, if you have a clean bill of health and simply feel tired, push yourself and go train. Chances are people will tap you out who normally can’t. Chances are, you’ll be even more tired when you’re done. However, your technique will be sharpened.

There is also a mental component to rolling tired. If we are able to do it and not completely suck, we build our own confidence. There is nothing quite like succeeding against your own odds.

There is some method to this madness…

When we compete, we very often drain ourselves fairly quickly. The person with the most heart often wins the division, and while you can’t teach heart, you can build it. By pushing your own boundaries, you’ll build your heart and in doing so may surpass your competition.

When you train tired, you also find out more about your weaknesses. I know that when I roll relatively fresh, I can mask my weaknesses with explosive strength. When I’m tired I can’t and as a result find out more about situations where I am weaker.

For self defense aficionados, training tired is a must. You never know when you’ll need the ability to go ham on someone while waiting in line at Wal Mart after a really long day doing yard work. Being physically strong is nice, but it is far nicer to know what you are capable of and what you are NOT capable of when exhausted.

Train tired. Don’t push it to the point that you hurt yourself, because then you won’t be able to train at all. However, if you train tired you will gain a deeper understanding of your own strengths and limitations, and will in the process build your heart a bit.



Emil Fischer is an active blue belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training with Strong Style Brasa and is sponsored by Pony Club Grappling Gear and Cruz Combat. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at and

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Emil Fischer is an active black belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training at Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts and Training Center near Cleveland Ohio ( and teaching at Ararat Martial Arts and FItness Center. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at and Emil is sponsored by Meerkatsu (, discount code EmilKatsu), Eddy's On Coventry, North Coast Cryo ( NottaRookie, YM ( discount code COOKIES), Defense Soap ( discount code COOKIES) Impact Mouthguards ( discount code EMILIMPACT), and North South Jiu Jitsu Underwear


  1. Hey Emil,
    Thanks for sharing. I really feel the same. It’s sometimes tough to push yourself to go to class when your tired, but I always felt I learned most then.

    Not only do you need to work with your technique, but the building heart part you describe is very true. Furthermore I find that it trains you of letting go of your ego. As you might get tapped by people who otherwise wouldn’t.

    That being said I also see it as kind of a training camp for tournaments. As I’m usually in a stacked devision,i might easily end up with plenty of fights. It’s a comforting feeling to step on the mat, already knowing that you can do this – tired or not. You’ve been there, you’ve done that. Just roll and enjoy the fight.


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