If this is your first time experiencing a jiu-jitsu hiatus, you may be asking yourself what will happen when you finally return to the mats, whenever that may be. The idea of training actual real-life jiu-jitsu with other people feels like a distant memory at this point, so it’s understandable that you might be worried about what a month or more of time off might do to your BJJ knowledge.
It’s a valid fear, but it’s one that those of us who have already experienced this kind of torture before are likely not experiencing. You’d be surprised at just how much jiu-jitsu knowledge your body retains over time, even if your mind feels overwhelmed by trying to remember how to do an omoplata. It may take a few rolls to get the rust off, but chances are, you’ll still be good at the techniques you were good at before the coronavirus shut everything down, and you’ll still be bad at the techniques you struggled with as well.
What you will likely struggle with, though, is your physical condition. We all know that jiu-jitsu cardio is a different breed of cardio, and if you’re spending this time away sitting on the couch all day, your return to the gym is going to be physically unpleasant. Even if you’re working out at home, it will still take a few sessions before you get your “BJJ muscles” back.
Most of us can count ourselves lucky right now that we aren’t taking time off specifically because of an injury. We can keep moving however we choose, whether that’s a jog through the neighborhood, a bodyweight workout in the living room, or by practicing solo drills on chairs and stuffed animals. Our bodies are getting time away from being smashed and pulled and twisted, which means we can take advantage of this time off the mats in ways that we couldn’t if we had to take time off due to reasons that are more common than “worldwide pandemic,” such as a torn MCL.
Do whatever keeps you and others happy and healthy right now. If you’re missing jiu-jitsu so much that your eyes are glued to every instructional you can get your hands on, watch to your heart’s content. If you’re unexpectedly enjoying time away from BJJ and are content to do yoga and bodyweight exercises, go for it. If you want to do a total mental cleanse and not even think about jiu-jitsu right now when we’re experiencing a major world event that no one alive has ever been through, that’s also fine. Your jiu-jitsu knowledge won’t fly out the window just because you take some time away. If it did, all of those upper belts you hear complaining about injuries would still be white belts.