Have you ever been humbled by a lower rank in jiu-jitsu or judo?

I saw a question like this on Quora and thought I’d chime in with my answer.

Yes, I have been submitted by white belts in jiu-jitsu and thrown by white belts and green belts in judo. So in other words I lost to people with less experience and a lower rank.

Why?

Aren’t you supposed to be better than the lower belts if you are a higher belt?

Well, yes, but it’s not so clear cut. There are a few reasons why you might get submitted or thrown or beaten by someone of a lower rank.

7 Reasons

  1. They are bigger or stronger
  2. They may have related experience in other martial arts
  3. They could be “sandbagging” (unlikely)
  4. They might have forgotten their true belt
  5. They might be better and more experienced than their belt
  6. They might have let you (the higher belt)
  7. You can get caught

1. Size, strength and skill all matter

Even if you are a higher belt than your opponent they can still be stronger, faster, bigger and all of those give them an advantage.

Yes, skill matters, but so doesn’t size and strength.

According to Rener Gracie 50lbs is a belt. So what that means is that if you and your opponent are both white belts, but your opponent is 50lbs heavier then he is basically a blue belt compared to you.

The bigger guy has an advantage. And so to be able to compete with him or her then your skill has to be that much better.

So if you got beat by a bigger guy then don’t worry cause it happens all the time.

2. They might have other related experience

For example, they are several grappling sports which have some similarities: wrestling, judo, jiu-jitsu and sambo.

They all use some of the same positions, techniques and different ones, but they just have different goals. So maybe your opponent is lower ranked than you but has related experience.

I’ll tell you a story.

In my first school where I trained in San Francisco, (Romelo Melo). My teacher was a black belt and maybe 180lbs. And then there was a guy there who could submit him and he was only a blue belt.

How?

Well there were two reasons:

  1. The blue belt was bigger. I can’t remember, but probably well over 200lbs.
  2. The blue belt used to wrestle in college.

Also in some BJJ competitions a judo black belt who is a white belt in BJJ has to compete as a blue belt in BJJ.

3. They could be “sandbagging”

It’s not very common, but some people might actually be a higher belt than the one they are wearing.

There are some people that enter competitions and compete at a lower level. They just switch their belt.

That’s deception and if the person sticks around anywhere eventually someone will probably fish out the truth.

4. They might have forgotten their belt

Also they might have forgotten their belt that day and be using a donor belt which is lower than their actual belt.

I have experienced this several times in different schools.

For example, where I train now in Fukuoka there’s a guy who is actually a purple belt, but wears a white belt.

When I first rolled with him and he tapped me out I thought this guy seems pretty good and maybe he has experience in judo.

So I asked him with my limited Japanese and he said yes that he did do judo before.

But…

Later on my teacher told me that he was a purple belt, but he lost his belt. So IDK if there is some rule that if you lose your belt here in Japan you have to go back to wearing a white belt or if he just doesn’t care, but he still wears a white belt.

5. They are actually more experienced than you

The belt is a general system. It’s a bench mark and I think it kind of works, but there are variations from belt to belt and each school is different.

For example, no two blue belts (or any other belt color) are the same. One might have been a blue belt for one day and the other for 5 years.

So there is a big difference in actual experience there.

Different schools also have different standards. For example, in my first school most people would get blue belts around the 1-1.5 year mark.

But in other schools like Caeser Gracie or Ralph Gracie those tend to come later like around 2 years.

It took me 3 years to get a blue belt in jiu-jitsu.

And I know people who were blue belts for 7 or 8 years.

There are no systematic standards to jiu-jitsu ranks.

6. Sometimes the higher belts let you get them

Or sometimes they want to practice their escapes. But I’ve known a lot of higher belts to do this. They will play with you and let you get submissions or maybe put themselves on the line so that they can try an escape.

If it’s the case that you just tapped out a higher belt it might be that they let you or maybe not.

I’ve tapped out higher belts: purple, brown and even black, but I know in some cases they let me or just weren’t trying that hard.

7. Sometimes you get caught

As the funny Kurt Osiander always says, “you fucked up”.

Anyone can fail.

Overall you might be better than your opponent, but just because you are better doesn’t mean you can’t get caught or make a mistake.

Maybe your opponent who is lower ranked than you knows something you don’t or surprised you with something you weren’t expecting.

Most of the time you can see things coming with the lower belts. But sometimes they can still surprise you or they might know something that most lower belts don’t.

You can lose. You are not invincible.

It’s hard

Just yesterday I was rolling (sparring) with a white belt here in Fukuoka who was a guest from Korea. It was the first time that I rolled with him.

He said he wanted to “light” spar and well it was my first one of the day.

But he didn’t really go “light” and he was being aggressive. So we rolled for probably 12 minutes or so and one time he almost got me in an ankle lock.

Why?

He just caught my leg. I guess my mistake was that I exposed it at some point. And I almost tapped out, but I got out and did the escape I had learned before.

I didn’t get hurt and I was fine.

But it was close.

I could have tapped.

I was thinking to myself, “don’t get hurt because you don’t want to tap out to a white belt”.

He was bit stronger than me as I felt like I was loosing my grip on his collar to prevent him from going back and finishing the ankle lock, but I took one last chance to push down his foot on my hip and scoot past his leg and get out.

I actually really wanted to tap him out, because he said he wanted to go “light”, but was being really aggressive so that just made me mad. I like to go lighter for my first few rolls to warm up and not go 100% right off the bat.

But hey he’s a white belt and a lot of white belts are wild like that.

Eventually I caught him in an arm bar and he tapped out. And that was the end of that.

But you have to be careful.

I remember Steve Maxwell (cool guy) on the Joe Rogan show saying that a lot of the injuries that he sees are from higher belts not tapping out to lower belts.

It’s hard.

You don’t want to lose to someone who is lower ranked than you, but you have to “remember that your joints have no pride”.

Someone said that on Reddit and it’s true. You have an ego and losing to a lower rank is more of a blow to your ego. But if you want to stay healthy you should get used to it.

And me too.

I understand it is hard when you are in the moment. You don’t want to fail, but tomorrow is another day. You got to think long term.

Getting thrown in judo

I spend less time doing judo, but getting thrown by a lower belt seems to matter a bit less to me.

Maybe because to me it’s just getting thrown and the consequences are not that big. But when you get submitted with a joint lock or choke the consequences in reality are much greater if you don’t tap.

That’s because if you don’t tap your joint is going to get damaged or you will be knocked unconscious (possibly die) if you are choked.

A throw is easier in my eyes. But maybe it also depends on what you value more. If you are a fierce judo competitor getting thrown is a big deal.

But I started with jiu-jitsu and it’s less of a blow to my ego if I get thrown.

Conclusion – It’s easier to lose to a higher belt

It’s less of a blow to your ego if you lose to a higher belt or higher ranking person, but if you lose to a lower belt it’s harder.

There are a lot of reasons on why you may have lost to a lower belt such as they could be bigger, stronger, actually more experienced, sandbagging, not the belt they are wearing, or you just might have gotten caught.

I have lost (been submitted, pinned or thrown) to lower ranks for all of those reasons.

We all want to win, but losing is just part of this game and you are going to lose many times. I know it’s a little cliche to hear but there is often some truth to it and that is that it is a “learning experience”.

Tomorrow is another day and you want to be healthy so despite their belt color you probably want to do what one of my teachers said, “tap early and tap often”.

Showing up

Sometimes all you have to do is show up. You just have to push through that doubt and negativity and get out of where you are now.

It’s hard.

Sometimes I don’t feel like doing a lot of things like:

  • doing yoga
  • doing jiu-jitsu
  • doing judo
  • working out
  • meditating
  • or starting something new

But I always feel better when I do.

That’s right, when I DO them.

Let’s take today for example. This morning I had no problem doing yoga and riding my bike to jiu-jitsu.

But the difficult part came when I realized it was Friday and I had to my workout.

Ahhh…

I didn’t feel like it.

I usually do it at Ohori park near my jiu-jitsu, but it was bit crowded today as it’s a holiday and I thought I could do it at that other park near my house.

So I got to the park and…

Ughh…

I still didn’t feel like doing pull ups and it was a bit hot in the sun. But I mustered up my courage and thought to myself we can do at least 5 or so.

I remember reading once that if something is really tough to do then you can just imagine taking the next step vs. focusing on the whole thing that you have to do.

And…

Instead of doing 5 pull ups I managed to do about 18, 19 or 20 (although they weren’t very deep as that bugs my shoulder).

They were tough, but I got the ball rolling. Oh yeah, earlier in the morning I did a little tummy workout after yoga so I didn’t really have to do any core stuff.

So I continued my workout with some jumps where I jump up on a bench and back down. Then we did some frog jumps.

And one set after another we powered through it.

I did about 3 sets of all of those which added up to about 35-40 pull ups, about 50 bench jumps and 45 frog jumps.

Then one set of planks and some toe raises.

Yay, I did it.

It wasn’t easy, but I am happy I powered through it.

It’s like the other night…

I have been going back and forth about starting to train judo at this new dojo. I thought of a lot of reasons why I shouldn’t do it. It’s far, I don’t really like that dojo, etc.

It was comfortable where I was (at home), but what are my goals?

One of them is to learn judo.

The other is to get a cultural visa to stay in Japan. I already tried getting one through my first jiu-jitsu school, but the officials didn’t like the name “Brazilian jiu-jitsu” on my school’s website.

Probably sounded too exotic to them and not Japanese enough, even though I tried to explain to them that it’s basically just judo with a focus on newaza (ground grappling techniques) and a different rule set.

So I needed to find something more traditional and this new dojo was like that.

It’s not perfect, but I kept telling myself you don’t really have another option and if you want to stay in Japan then you need to find a different school to help you get the visa.

Anyways…

So I pushed through my doubts and negativity and rode my bike 50 minutes to the new judo dojo and signed up.

And…

I had a good class and I am happy I made it.

I felt better after I did it.

And that’s what I was telling myself.

“Chances are you are going to feel better after you do this.”

And I did and that is what almost always happens. In fact I can’t think of a time when I did push through my negativity, doubt, comfort or “resistance” and actually felt worse because of it.

It’s hard, but…

You just have to do it. You have to do that exercise, project or whatever. Stop thinking about it and do it.

Sometimes you just got to start it and it will get easier once you are on your way.

I remember reading once that it’s important to make routines and I agree. And the author was referring to exercise and he said it’s not important necessarily that you reach a certain number or a quantitative result.

Some days your tired, busy or just don’t feel good.

Say you normally do 100 push ups, but you feel tired and it’s Tuesday your workout day. So he said you don’t have to hold yourself to that number just do some if you are tired.

That’s better than nothing and just remember to show up for your next routine.

I tend to gradually alter my workout routine and throw some different things or variations in to keep it not so monotonous.

If I usually do 3 sets of everything and I am tired then I might do 2.

Or…

If I didn’t sleep good and I go to jiu-jitsu I might just try to go easy or spar a bit less. But many times I went to class feeling like sh*t cursing the whole bike ride there about all of my problems until I get there.

And once I get there, things change.

I do occasionally have bad days and get discouraged, but I almost always walk out of there feeling better than when I went in.

It gives me energy.

So that’s the thing, sometimes that exercise that you are avoiding will actually give you energy.

Sometimes it’s not exercise, sometimes it’s a woman, sometimes it’s a project, sometimes it’s a class, sometimes it’s ____.

You just got to start it.

Is starting judo or jiu-jitsu at age 45 too late?

I don’t think so.

I started around 38 with jiu-jitsu and I didn’t have any grappling experience. After a year I wanted to learn judo too, so I moved to a school that did both.

I currently train both although I spend more time doing BJJ.

What are your concerns? Getting hurt?

You can get hurt. These activities are not as safe as playing table tennis, but many sports are dangerous.

Life is dangerous.

Even if you try to play it safe and hide out at home something else will get you, like disease…

I have received a few injuries mostly minor, but a few that took me out for a while. You got to watch out, especially for the big and strong guys.

You also have to watch out for your ego.

Your passion or will can’t compete with someone who has years of experience so my advice is…

Take it easy.

Cross train: workout, do other exercises.

It takes a lot of time to learn these martial arts and there is always something to learn regardless of your level. In judo the term for a black belt is “shodan” which actually means beginning degree.

I have heard plenty of blackbelts in jiu-jitsu say the same thing.

Think long term. But 45 is not that old.

Initially it’s all going to be new and there are so many movements which you aren’t used to. I train quite a bit now. In the past I was doing 4 days a week with 2 of those days being for a mix of judo and jiu-jitsu.

Now I am doing like 6 days a week for jiu-jitsu and 2 days a week in judo when I can.

Which is harder?

Most people I know who do jiu-jitsu say judo is harder. I spend more time doing jiu-jitsu so I am not really sure what the judo folks think of jiu-jitsu.

Although..

I know my judo teacher would sometimes make comments like jiu-jitsu is more for “animals” – as there are fewer rules. Or you have to use technique in judo where jiu-jitsu is all muscle.

But…

I don’t agree with that. I think that was his bias. I see it the same way and that’s that it is all technique, but strength is an attribute too.

Strength and size matter in both.

If they didn’t matter there wouldn’t be separate weight divisions in competitions.

Anyways…

You get impact with judo cause you get thrown and sometimes it’s hard and unexpected. It’s a little faster and probably demands better conditioning than BJJ.

Jiu-jitsu is slower so you tend to get less impact and collision, but you can get strain and injuries too.

But again make sure you start slow and learn how to fall. Find a good school that is looking out for you.

I also recommend doing some yoga to stay limber, but not intense yoga. I do about 15 minutes of yoga for jiu-jitsu a day and I think it helps balance out my body and then a few days a week for strength training. I think all of those things help.

There are a lot of guys in my current jiu-jitsu school who are in their 40’s, some in their 50’s, a guy who is really strong and agile in his 60’s and even a guy who is 70 (in the video above).

Just start slow and take it easy.

Find a good school for either one and tell them your concerns.

I think for starters judo is better to learn as it is a little more well rounded. You learn the basics like falling, plus judo is where BJJ came from, so I think it’s good to know the tradition.

But either one could work depending on what you want. Also I would do some cross training with other exercises.

Here’s a tip for judo to remember.

Tuck your chin!

Remember that when you fall or get thrown because if you don’t you will get a bit of whiplash on your neck or hit your head on the mat.

And as one teacher said, “tap early and tap often”. And as I always tell myself, “play smart”.

And…

Don’t resist.

So here are some tips again to repeat over and over again in your head.

  • Tuck your chin (when falling, but also helps to prevent some chokes)
  • Don’t resist
  • Tap early and tap often
  • Play smart

And lastly

Don’t just take my word for it.

I tried Vegetarian, Vegan, Keto, Fasting, The Plant Paradox Diet & How I Lost Weight

I have tried many different diets and in this video I go over which ones I have done and which ones made me lose weight.

Vegetarian (10 years) 00:58
Vegan 03:27
The ketogenic diet 03:58
The Plant Paradox diet 05:14
The Warrior diet 08:46
Various fasting & time restricted feeding diets 09:40
My current diet and feeding schedule 11:30
KEY MESSAGE if you want to lose weight 16:08

And I wasn’t actually trying to lose weight, but that’s what happened. My intention for trying the different diets was to optimize my body and get in the best shape possible.

I think they all affected my current diet which is 95% vegetarian and that’s just my natural diet.

I was a strict vegetarian for 10 years (about 20-30 years old). In that time I didn’t eat any meat. And for much of that time I didn’t eat eggs either.

Periodically I have tried vegan diets and cutting out the dairy and eggs. But honestly I didn’t notice any changes.

I did the ketogenic diet for 6 months. It was difficult to transition to and it took like a month or so. I might have lost a bit of weight initially, but when I came off of it I weighed the same as when I went on it.

I didn’t notice any difference in performance after I had been on it for a few months either.

I tried the Plant Paradox diet too and I didn’t really notice too much of a change. However, I think I did cut back on eating night shade vegetables. I didn’t eat that many but I don’t eat any more now.

I never had problems with them.

There are foods like that.

Like wheat. I never noticed any problems from eating wheat, but I have read a lot of negative stuff about it so I rarely eat bread or pasta.

These days for carbs I eat mostly sweet potatoes and bit of rice flour in this kind of pancake that I often make with sesame flour, egg, cinnamon and sometimes raisins.

I have done different kinds of fasts too. I started with the Warrior Diet and that took off some weight, but I didn’t stick with it for very long as it was tough.

Then I did occasional long term fasts 2-3+ days which help stimulate autophagy.

And then for a long time (like a year or more) I did once a week fasting for 21-24 hours. It might have been good, but it didn’t take off weight.

Then I would also frequently not eat in the morning and do time restricted feeding.

So what really worked?

That takes me to where I am now. Fukuoka, Japan. I decided I would try some fasting and training while in a fasted state.

What do I do?

I get up, drink tea and work on my website for a few hours and then I ride my bike to jiu-jitsu which is 6km from my house. Then I train jiu-jitsu for 1-2 hours and then ride to Japanese class. Two days a week I also do a simple body weight workout usually after jiu-jitsu or sometimes after class.

After Japanese class I ride my bike home.

When I get home it’s somewhere between 4 and 5 and then that’s when I start cooking and eating. Then I’ll eat a lot of food between then and say 10pm at night.

I do that probably about 4 days a week or so.

So the bottom line is that I exercise in a fasted state. I don’t eat anything until much off my daily physical work at least is done.

It’s not that hard.

It’s the hardest in the morning sometimes when I am at home. But after I start riding my bike, doing jiu-jitsu and going to class I am usually not thinking about food.

But…

Yes, I am excited to go home and eat.

Tea helps me too. I drink matcha early in the morning and then rooibus, barley tea and sometimes others.

Anyways. I am just sharing on what I noticed to take weight off from me. My waist line feels a little tighter and there is less fat. I never had much fat to begin with, but more than what I have now.

Maybe 5-10 lbs as I used to weigh about 158, but the other day when I weighed myself I was 68.5 kg with my gi on in the morning and they say you weigh less in the morning.

The abdominal workout that I do at Axis jiu-jitsu (5 exercises & 500 repetitions)

This is at Axis jiu-jitsu in Fukuoka. On some of the weekdays we do an abdominal workout with about 5 different exercises and on this day it totaled about 500 repetitions.

The larger the class the more sit ups we do.

It’s a really awesome core workout.

I think my stomach actually got a little more cut from this, the intermittent fasting I do, and the exercise I sometimes do when I am fasting: jiu-jitsu, riding my bike 12km a day, working out, etc.

Related:

My Simple 11 Minute Full Body Weight Workout

I like body weight exercises because they are simple and I can do them almost anywhere. You don’t need a gym to do push ups, squats, sit ups, planks, and/or jumping.

And those exercises right there are a basic full body workout.

If you have access to a bar or a playground you can usually do some pull ups or leg ups which I’ll show you in the video.

And remember you don’t need a gym or weights. So that’s not an excuse!

This body weight workout will work your upperbody, core and legs and it only took me about 11 minutes and nothing else other than a swing set that I used as a pull up bar and a stone wall to jump up on.

Here I do some:
-pull ups (upper body)
-leg ups (core+arms)
-planks (core)
-frog jump squats (legs)
-jump ups or box jumps (legs)

I do 2 sets of each exercise for the most part. I usually go for fatigue and stop and then do another exercise and then come back.

Here I do about 25 pull ups, 20 full breaths of planks, 15 leg ups, 40 frog jumps, and maybe 70 box jumps.

Doing another set would probably give me more muscle development, yet I can get bored doing a lot of repetition so I keep it simple. Also I don’t like to spend a lot of time doing this.

Have knee issues?

Box jumping up does not hurt my knees. Jumping rope can hurt my knees and squats can hurt my knees and if I jump down from the box that can hurt so I step down and jump up.

This was shot in Fukuoka, Japan. My current home.

Related:

My monthly food expenses in Japan

*My monthly food expenses in Japan was originally posted on ESLinsider. The original post is as follows: 

Last month I kept track of my receipts where I am currently living here in Fukuoka, Japan. I wanted to see how much I spent on groceries. I was thinking that I spent about the same or maybe a little less.

Well, it seemed like things cost about the same as they do in San Francisco where I was living before Japan.

So how much did I spend?

Well, I spent about 30,000 Yen which is about $270 USD. That’s about the same amount that I would spend in Trader Joes in San Fran.

I think next month I can lower it. I might try to get it down to about $200. I think the most expensive things that I was buying was nuts. MMMM, I love nuts, but I will try to cut it down and see what happens.

Also I found a cheaper store for some things, so I could probably shave off a few more Yen.

What sort of food “can’t” I find here?

No complaints, really, but I will try to compare this to Trader Joes where I used to shop mostly in San Fran. There is a slightly different selection of fruit and vegetables. The fruit selection is smaller and at the moment it’s mostly apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, cumquats, grapefruits, etc.

I think what you don’t get is all the international foods stuff like: hummus, guacamole, Thai spices, salsa, Italian foods, a bunch of different chips, etc. I don’t remember seeing anything like power bars and the like. I remember at Whole Foods there was nearly a whole aisle for these.

It’s mostly just the basics. There are some organic foods too.

This is just based on where I have been shopping mostly at this place called AEON Max Value. Which is funny cause AEON is also a company in Japan for teaching English too. But anyways I think there are probably places out there where you can get more international foods probably, but I don’t know where they are.

I have no problem eating the basics as that is what I usually do anyways. My diet didn’t actually change much since I came to Japan.

I am mostly vegetarian and eat:

  • vegetables: cabbage, spinach, sprouts, broccoli, etc.
  • sweet potatoes
  • eggs
  • nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds
  • rice flour
  • milk or occasionally yogurt
  • rarely-occasionally chicken or seafood

I had no problem finding those things. Some other things I have been eating since I have been here are miso, soba noodles and daikon radish.

In the video above I give some prices. Here are some rough estimates of costs:

  • Milk=$1.50 a pint
  • Yogurt=$3
  • Sweet potatoes=$2-3
  • Almonds=$5
  • Walnuts=$5
  • Soba noodles=$2
  • Miso paste=$3
  • Daikon radish=$1
  • Cabbage=$1.50
  • Sesame seed flour=$1
  • Chicken=$1-3
  • Eggs=$1.50-2
  • Shrimp=$2-3

Lastly there is not much for cheese. I tried this one “cheddar cheese” but it didn’t quite taste like cheese. There are a few options, but don’t expect much.

Inside the sharehouse where I am living in Fukuoka, Japan

In this video I take a look inside the sharehouse where I am living in Fukuoka, Japan.

I moved here in January and started in one sharehouse and then moved into this one which is a little better. It’s quieter and I have been sleeping better.

It’s pretty cheap and…

Things are going pretty good. I like Japan and I have been training jiu-jitsu a lot, learning Japanese and working on ESLinsider.

1st Impression Of Japan

This wasn’t my first time to Japan, but it is the first time back in Asia since 2011. My first time in Japan was actually in 2008 after I found a teaching job in Korea I went to Fukuoka, Japan for a visa run.

I made this video a few weeks ago actually. I talk about Japan, Fukuoka, culture, compare it to San Fran a bit and then watch some cool koi and check out some gardens in late January.

7 Reasons to do Yoga for Jiu-jitsu and MMA

Here’s a video I made about practicing yoga for jiu-jitsu and martial arts. And following the video are 8 reasons why you should practice yoga or at least consider it if you train martial arts.

1. Increase flexibility and mobility

Increasing your flexibility is a perk in jiu-jitsu. There are a lot of factors that can make in difference in BJJ or judo and flexibility is one.

The others are strength, weight, speed, and skill.

But with flexibility…

Maybe you can do rubber guard, avoid painful stack passes or just sneak your legs into just about everywhere. Many people that I roll with tell me that I am pretty flexible. I think I am somewhat, but I am not extremely flexible.

I know people who are definitely more.

But the thing is you can always get more flexible if you focus on it and you are patient.

And remember if you don’t use it you’ll lose it.

I started to lose some flexibility in my knee. When I first started BJJ I realized I couldn’t kneel without pain. Closed guard escapes and just seiza hurt. I thought it was arthritis from injuries and old age, but I had stopped doing certain poses in yoga too.

So I started to do deep squats, some kneeling and then gradually I was able to kneel without much pain in my knee.

2. Reduce recovery time

If you are sore after practice then yoga is a great way to speed up your recovery time. But don’t over do it. Some yoga classes are too intense and with other people around you can overstretch trying to compete with others.

I do yoga every day and only for about 15 minutes. That’s enough. I don’t do yoga for exercise. For exercise, I do body weight exercises like push ups, pull ups, leg ups, squats, box jumps, etc.

And I suppose you could say the jiu-jitsu and judo I do is exercise too, but that’s not why I do it. I do it because it’s fun.

Yoga is something I do for maintenance. It’s like brushing my teeth.

If you want to reduce your recovery time and not feel sore and stiff the next day then do yoga, but take it easy. I don’t actually suggest a class for that. I mean you can take classes like I did in my first year to learn, but choose wisely as some are pretty intense.

I think more frequently and less intense is better. That may also be the case for martial arts training in general as Firas Zahabi said.

3. Get centered and calm down

For balance I think you need something soft to complement the martial arts. Jiu-jitsu, judo, MMA, etc. are all hard on the body. If you exclusively do hard training all the time you will burn out and your body will fail.

Don’t be too tough.

Take it easy and take care of your body.

4. Improve your breathing and cardiovascular system

Yoga isn’t just stretching and yoga isn’t yoga if you are not doing the breath work. In jiu-jitsu you can find yourself in a lot of tough positions where you can easily freak out or panic.

But that is not going to help. You need to focus on your breath, be patient and then maybe you can get out of that terrible position. But if you panic you will gas out and probably have no chance.

The practice of deep breathing will also improve your cardiovascular system.

5. Control your mind

Your breath controls your mindset.

Think not?

Then pay attention to your breath the next time you are:

  • angry
  • depressed
  • anxious

Now breath.

Take deep steady breaths for an extended period of time and notice how it helps control your mind and body.

6. Prepare for competition or anxiety

Light yoga and/or meditation with a focus on your breath can help ease the anxiety that fills your body before competition.

Here’s a simple technique to ease your nerves.

Deep belly breathing.

Place your hands on your stomach and then breath in for a 5 count and expand your belly. Pause for a 5 count. Exhale for a 5 count and contract your belly. Pause for a 5 count.

Repeat and continue.

Or do some yoga and focus on your breath.

Activating your body somewhat might be an even better way to calm down whether you are preparing for a competition or dealing with general anxiety.

7. Help heal injuries or prevent them

If you injure something your body can get out of whack. It might lose proper alignment or function. Yoga is a way to activate muscles that may be out of balance, tight or out of shape.

8. Cross train

I think a lot of benefits come from cross training. If you train exclusively in one domain you may become one dimensional and parts of your body may get out of shape or suffer from over use.

What do you think?

Any other reasons you should do yoga for martial arts or jiu-jitsu?