Do you experience panic attacks when you’re training? If so, you’re not alone. Many BJJ practitioners suffer from BJJ panic attacks, which can make it difficult to stay in control during a training session. There’s a misconception that anxiety only effects white belts, I was a blue belt when anxiety started to ruin my training, but I got better and you can to. This article will provide tips on how to prevent panic attacks during BJJ training, so you can stay focused and maximize your potential.

What Is A Panic Attack

A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear or discomfort, accompanied by physical and emotional symptoms such as chest pain, sweating, shaking, rapid heart rate, and a sense of impending doom or loss of control. Panic attacks can occur at any time, including during Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) training. Panic attacks can be terrifying and can interfere with your ability to enjoy or participate in your training. Therefore, it’s essential to understand what a panic attack is and how to manage it effectively.

While panic attacks are scarier than being on the wrong side of knee-on-belly from a 300lbs brown belt, they are completely harmless and something that can be overcome easier than you might imagine.

How Panic Attacks Manifest During BJJ Training

Panic attacks can manifest differently in each individual, but some common symptoms that may arise during BJJ training include sweating, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and feelings of impending doom or loss of control. 

For me, my panic attacks started with intense vertigo. I wrote about my initial panic attacks back when I launched another website a few years ago. Needless to say, panic attacks are pretty awful and I empathize with anyone suffering from them right now.

For BJJ practitioners, panic attacks can occur when they are in situations where they feel trapped or overpowered, such as during sparring or when attempting a new technique. This can cause a fear response, leading to an increase in adrenaline and heightened physical sensations. 

Panic attacks can also be triggered by past traumatic experiences or negative thought patterns that arise during training. For example, if a practitioner has previously been injured during training, they may experience fear or anxiety during subsequent sessions. 

It’s important to remember that experiencing a panic attack does not mean that the practitioner is in physical danger. Panic attacks are a physiological response to a perceived threat and are not always related to actual danger. 

However, it’s important to address the underlying causes of panic attacks and develop strategies for managing them to start enjoying your training again.

Causes of Panic Attacks during BJJ Training

While BJJ can be a great way to stay physically and mentally fit, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety for some people. Panic attacks during BJJ training can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  1. Performance anxiety: Many BJJ practitioners experience performance anxiety, which is the fear of not being able to perform to one’s best ability. This fear can be triggered by a competition or simply the pressure to improve in class. 
  2. Fear of injury: BJJ is a full-contact sport, and the fear of injury is a common concern for many practitioners. This fear can be triggered by an injury sustained during training, or simply the possibility of getting hurt. 
  3. Feeling overwhelmed: BJJ can be a fast-paced and complex sport, which can sometimes be overwhelming for new practitioners. Feeling overwhelmed can trigger a panic attack, especially if the person feels like they are not able to keep up with the rest of the class. 
  4. Previous traumatic experience: If a person has had a traumatic experience related to physical contact, such as sexual assault or domestic violence, they may feel triggered by the close physical contact of BJJ training.

Overall high-stress levels can also lead to sporadic panic attacks. Mine started completely out of the blue and it wasn’t until much later that I realized some of the reasons behind my own struggles.

Tips to Prevent Panic Attacks During BJJ Training

As we’ve discussed earlier, experiencing a panic attack during BJJ training can be extremely uncomfortable and disruptive to your training routine. However, with the right techniques, you can manage and even prevent these panic attacks. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

  1. Identify Triggers: Take note of what triggers your panic attacks during BJJ training. Does it happen when you roll with a certain partner? Or maybe when you get into certain positions? Once you have identified these triggers, try to avoid them or find ways to work around them. 
  2. Train Consistently: Consistent training is key to developing a solid foundation in BJJ, which in turn can help reduce the likelihood of panic attacks during training. Consistent training can also help you feel more comfortable and in control of your body and movements. 
  3. Stay Hydrated and Fueled: Make sure you’re well-hydrated and have enough fuel in your body to train. Low blood sugar or dehydration can exacerbate feelings of panic or anxiety, so make sure you’re taking care of your body’s basic needs. 
  4. Set Realistic Goals: Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself by setting realistic goals for each training session. Focus on improving specific techniques or movements rather than trying to be perfect all the time. 
  5. Relax and Breathe: Practice relaxation techniques, go full Rickson Gracie and work on techniques such as deep breathing and meditation, to help you manage your emotions and stay calm during training. Taking a moment to breathe deeply and focus on your breath can help you reset your mindset and calm your nerves.

If you find that you aren’t really suffering from cookie cutter everyday anxiety then it might be worth checking out how to overcome severe anxiety.

Or for more of our opinion pieces on various topics, visit our opinion piece archives.

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