How to Breathe When You’re Trapped on the Bottom in BJJ & Getting Crushed

How to Breathe When You’re Trapped on the Bottom in BJJ & Getting Crushed

1. Introduction

One of the difficult things is to breathe when you are at the bottom of the heavy grappler as the opponent's weight is at the top, making you incapable of breathing. That results in acute discomfort, panic, exhaustion and tap out. But this is not considered a solution - to keep you in the game various approaches help you to intake air to the lungs and oxygen into your blood. When the opponent puts the entire pressure on the chest a fighter might suffer from a panic attack. Subsequently, they cannot breathe properly. It brings about two situations; the first one is when the fighter holds his breath and the second one is when they breathe too much. In agitation, the fighter forgets to apply various techniques that could help the grappler stay in the game.

Breathing correctly in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is regarded as one of the crucial skills to learn.

Some of the fighters consider that if they had better cardio then they would not face the difficulty under the giant contender. Their belief is something that is based on reality. Let's find out the methods and techniques that work for it.

2. What is Claustrophobia?

Wanting to stay in the game when you are completely crushed at the bottom of the opponent is a condition filled with dismay. Claustrophobia is an anxiety disorder that arose from the intense situation of confined spaces. In jiu-jitsu fighters are filled with the fear of confined positions or spaces, which gives the notion of being trapped in tight spaces. It can activate the sense of sheer anxiety and result in panic attacks.

The best approach to overcoming claustrophobia is to recognize the fear and accept it. Breathing exercises can help in managing anxiety and panic in jiu-jitsu training sessions. Communicate your fears to get effective solutions. You will gain confidence by progressively working in confined spaces.

3. 8 Ways to Control Your Breathe

Breath control plays an important role in the field of martial arts. However, fighters tend to neglect it completely as they do grappling and submission. Although, it has been observed that high-profile fighters also run out of breath at certain levels. To maximize the performance level it has been recommended to integrate the correct BJJ breathing techniques.

3.1. Stay Calm

Panic condition is a common state in jiu-jitsu experienced by the BJJ fighters. The grappler under the pressure of the opponent is surrounded by an overwhelming sense of terror and filled with the urge to escape from the tight or enclosed positions. If the mind of a fighter is frightened due to the blockage of space, he cannot take himself out of it and might go for a tap. It has been suggested to face the fright, and dismay to stay in a fight. Afterward, try to stay calm in that position, contemplate the causes and implement solutions. 

3.2. Do not Escape Immediately

In the confined space do not try to escape immediately. Firstly, focus on relaxing and breathing, use your arms to find a way to breathe. Secondly, notice where your partner is and find out the position of his arms and legs. This will help you to stay in a calm position and think about the ways to escape from it.

After the period of survival, a fighter can integrate the attempts of escape. Create a new comfort zone to breathe easily then you can stimulate the techniques and find a way to escape.

When the fighter pins you, the journey of escape begins. Use a lot of movement and combinations. Meanwhile, breathe, relax, and perform the move. 

3.3. Increase Time and Pressure

Give more time to conserve your energy, and think about the next technique. In a defensive position take deep breaths and give yourself some time. Figure out at which place the opponent has placed the pressure and at which position he is restoring himself. More importantly, don't go for an aggressive move when you are unable to breathe.

3.4. Physical Conditioning

Working on the cardiovascular system can provide aid at a time when a massive fighter is putting complete pressure on the chest. This fact is true cardio workouts provide the maximum possibilities to breathe in confined spaces. Moreover, the fighters ought to include training to build stronger abs. Train your diaphragm to breathe while maintaining heavy pressure on your chest.

3.5. Psychological Adjustments

When a fighter is facing the problem of being unable to breathe as they are trapped at the bottom, they become anxious. They tend to figure out the ways to survive, some of them stop breathing when they are getting crushed under a giant opponent. This is due to the claustrophobia that is faced by most of the fighters. It has been recommended to normalize your breathing pattern when you are at the bottom. Turn your fear into fury which results in a quick escape. Changing the thinking pattern will be so helpful when facing such situations.

3.6. Change the Side to Breathe

It is toilsome to breathe when you are getting crushed under the opponent. In jiu jitsu when you are flat at your back and bearing the pressure on your diaphragm. It is an evident fact that you are in a miserable condition facing hardship. While staying calm recognize the position of your opponent and start moving out with the rapid movement of your legs and arms. Once you change the side the pressure will be decreased. 

3.7. Open Wide Mouth

When you are smothered under the fighter try to open your mouth wide open. It increases the surface area of the mouth and you can pull more air inside. It is not as easy as it looks but acts as a solution to determine the next move. 

3.8. Conserve Your Energy

In jiu-jitsu, the best thing you can do is to conserve your potential energy. Mindfulness is the key factor when you are getting crushed by the grappler. Develop your ability to stay calm at the bottom. Stay away from getting into a panic state, relax, and use your energy in searching for quick and possible ways to get out of this condition.

4. Tips to Improve Diaphragm Control

Martial arts training is based on the control of breath. There are no such breathing methods in Brazilian jiu-jitsu that are designed particularly for grappling. However, various breathing techniques can work for BJJ.

However, the novice did not put much focus on the breathing techniques, this brings about the difficulty in the upcoming fights. Let's learn the correct way to breathe which leads you to become a better grappler. Proper breathing is crucial to improve diaphragm control.

  • Breathing exercises can increase the tolerance of carbon dioxide by doing it regularly. These exercises will help to decrease the stress level and you can add these exercises into your training regime.
  • Sit at a peaceful place cross-legged with closed eyes take deep breaths and focus on the way you breathe.
  • Place the hand on the chest and find the place from where you are breathing, put focus on breathing from the diaphragm.
  • You are doing this exercise to increase the diaphragm motion.
  • In this way, you can tolerate more carbon dioxide within the body. It means you can hold your breath when you are trapped on the mat.
  • The goal is to minimize the need to breathe for approximately ten minutes.
  • Exercise to hold your breath during a walk, starting with managing half an hour walk time in a day.
  • While staying relaxed, hold your breath and try to take as many steps as you can. When you feel the need to breathe, take a deep breath inside and repeat.
  • To enhance your performance in BJJ, use stability balls and practice movement while breathing with your nose and using your diaphragm.
  • You can breathe with the mouth recover yourself and repeat the stable motion.

5. Sum up

In jiu-jitsu proper breathing significantly increases the performance of grapplers, however, never breathe too quickly. During the BJJ session try to hold your breath and use your nose to exhale and inhale. To become a successful grappler focus on your breathing while you are on a mat. This method increases the impact of performance. It has been recommended to stay calm and mindful and try not to get into a panic state. Focus on utilizing your mental energy and concentrate on escaping.

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