It’s been a killer hot week here in Melbourne, with the temperature consistently surpassing 40 deg C (104 Fahrenheit) since Tuesday. Somehow, I’ve managed to drag myself to BJJ training this week by telling myself, “This is nothing compared to what the tennis players are going through at the Australian Open.” At least I’m indoors in the shade while training. I can’t imagine running around in this heat for hours, in the full sun on a hard surface court that’s probably hot enough to cook on!
My brain and body refuses to talk to each other in this weather so I’ve had a very non-productive week in terms of learning BJJ skills. But I did pick up a few useful tips that I’d like to share. So here’s my Guide to Rolling in a Heatwave:
Heat waves are a good time to train your sense of touch and your breathing. So when on the bottom, keep your eyes and mouth closed. This is by far the best defence against getting blinded or choked by your partner’s dripping sweat.
If you get yourself stuck in someone’s guard, place your head on their tummy. This will help in your guard pass by making it hard for them to control your posture. But more specifically in this situation, by already having your face on their tummy, you will avoid the inevitable face-plant that will occur when you try to move your legs and discover that the sweat pond under you has rendered the surface as slippery as an ice skating rink. Except worse, because if it were a real ice skating rink, at least it would be nice and cold.
When rolling in no-gi, forget about moves that require you to hold onto your opponent, such as trying to maintain hold on their arm for an armbar. This is impossible and will just result in more sweat on both sides and more exchange of sweat between both sides. Instead, focus on grips where you can hold yourself because in your own mind, you are always the least sweatiest person.
When you’re about to puke from the heat, focus on stabilising your base, calming yourself down and don’t make any sudden movements in case your partner spazzes out and squeezes you in all the wrong places. Focus on breathing through your nose and DO NOT open your mouth! This is especially important when stuck in guard or on the bottom mount or side control. On the other hand, if you must ‘win’, saying “I’m about to puke” goes a long way in getting your partner to back off, letting you escape and then you can immediately capitalise on that situation and gain a dominant position or even a submission. Or you can just puke on them, which will give you the same result. But both options might lead to difficulties in finding partners to roll with for the rest of your training career, so use with caution.
After class is done, you might think, “I’m going to cool down so I can stop sweating before changing back into my street clothes.” This is not going to happen, you will not stop sweating forever until you enter an air conditioned environment. Even a shower will not help because you will just start sweating again right after your shower. So just be prepared for your street clothes to get wet with sweat right away.
Bonus Tip: If you’re not dead from exhaustion after rolling in this weather and still want to do some extra work-out, strength training would be the most convenient at this time as you can just use your sweat-laden Gi for weights, it will be the heaviest thing in the world.
Hope you find these tips useful for the next heatwave! Let me know if you have any tips of your own to share! 🙂