Only another 2 hours in the office until BJJ training. Hopefully my last meeting of the day will not run over time like it did last week. Once it is done I will be in the car and on my way to practice. My gear is packed and despite a few minor injuries I am ready for Thursday night sparring.
Once I am on the mat it does not take long for the action to begin. After 2 light warm-up rolls we are going at it. There is about 20 other bodies on the mat but I am only truly aware of the movement of myself and my opponent. There is vaguely recognizable music in the background but my focus is steadfast. As we go through the positions of attack and defense, the adrenaline builds and my mind becomes even more immersed in the bout until finally, the bell goes to signify the end of the round, I catch my breath and prepare to do it again. The session lasts 90 minutes in total.
The stress of work, family, and everything else is my life is a million miles away when I am rolling. When rolling I am truly in the moment unlike any other time of my week. At this time my brain is only doing one thing as far as I am concerned. Usually my brain is juggling multiple thought streams and my focus is easily distracted by everything around me. Cell phones, kids, and TV are the most common distractions but there are many more. These distractions can be exhausting and can often lead to stress.
Mindfulness is defined as the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment. Research has consistently shown a positive relationship between trait mindfulness and psychological health. There is a massive industry dedicated to promoting mindfulness and teaching people the techniques to practice it regularly. As our relationship with the digital world develops further it seems that more and more people are looking towards mindfulness as a way of switching off and recharging their brain.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the perfect way to practice mindfulness and you don’t even need to try. It happens naturally and you get the same benefit as someone who pays for a course or spends hours studying how to practice is correctly. With BJJ you have the added benefit of getting a workout and developing your skills in what is a very technical discipline.
For me the real benefit of BJJ mindfulness is realized after training has finished. I am more relaxed and centered and I am better able to enjoy the other things in life. I am less agitated in general and feel grateful that I have discovered this amazing art. I have only one caveat though, it is very addictive!