Hey everyone. Just wanted to share an experiement I’m doing that has to do with breathing and Jiu Jitsu. I discovered a guy named Wim Hof on a few podcasts who is known for extraordinary human feats that range from mainaining normal body temperature while in extreme cold to scaling Mt. Everest shirtless. He has created a method that he claims can help you strengthen yourself from the inside by improving many of your internal systems including respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, etc. Because I have a mild case of asthma and have always suffered in BJJ with limited lung capacity, I have decided to give his method a try. My goal is to keep updating this post week-by-week and let you know how it has affected my game and my life. (His online method is a 10-week course.)
Week 1: I think I’ve taken in more O2 in the last few days than I have in years. With my body fully oxygenated I took part in an hour long grappling rotation in open gym. Normally I would have taken at least 3 hits off my inhaler but I only had to use it once and I think that was partially out of habit. (Also, my need to use my inhaler outside of BJJ has disappeard since starting his exercises.) Instead of thinking about my next move I simply made sure I was taking consistent breaths breaking it down as: Breathing comes first, Jiu Jitsu follows. I felt strangely great after the session and felt almost giddy during my cold shower that followed, (cold showers are another requirement of the method). By giddy I mean there was a sensation in my body as though all my cells were alive and dancing, for the lack of a better term. I began to notice my breathing throughout the day taking special note of when I’d hold my breath or went a long period of time without inhaling. Seems like it happens when I’m thinking or straining physically. This made a lot of sense why I tend to gass out pretty quickly when in bad positions in BJJ. As an experiement I tried holding my breath while doing burpees and noticed that I could only do about 3 before panic set in. If that happens that quickly with burpees, imagine how fast you’ll tire out when some 200 pound guy is sitting on your chest choking you. Then I repeated the burpees while taking full breaths and I was able to go forever.
This all comes at a great time because my next review class is coming up this Sunday. It’s a way for you to advance belt rank at my school and requires you to roll 15 minutes with 3 or 4 opponents pretty much back-to-back. My biggest fear is exhaustion and/or giving up a tap just to take a break, so I’m changing my goal this time. My goal is to go there to practicing breathing. Everything else is secondary. If a guy has my back it’s secondary to keeping my air flowing; If I have someone in a triangle choke it doesn’t matter as much as if I’m holding my breath or not. With this focus I know that whether I win or lose I’ll be in total control of my inner systems while doing one of the hardest martial arts in the world. Everything else will seem easy in comparison. 😉 Well I’m off to suck some air. See ya!
Week 2: (Update)
10/28/15 Had another open gym marathon roll today and did pretty well. Probably had about 5 five-minute matches, tapped once to an armbar and tapped my opponents four times mostly with heel hooks and one crazy collar choke. The big news is that I didn’t use my inhaler even once this time. I felt the urge at one point but pushed through. Seems the Wim Hof method is beginning to pay off at least with my lungs. Still trying to get used to these cold showers though.