Zen and the Art of Choking People: Mindfulness Tips for BJJ Ladies

Nothing quite says 'inner peace' like mastering the art of gently guiding your opponent to the brink of unconsciousness, does it?

As a seasoned practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and a proponent of mindfulness, I've found that blending the physical rigor of BJJ with the mental discipline of Zen offers an intriguing path to personal growth.

This fusion not only sharpens your chokeholds but also cultivates a serene state of mind amidst the chaos of grappling on the mats.

I'm here to share some insights that might just transform the way you approach both your training and life's unpredictable tussles. Stick around for a few nuggets of wisdom that could elevate your practice to the next level.

Embracing Zen in BJJ

In the fast-paced world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, focusing on the present moment has transformed my training and competitive edge. Before embracing Zen in BJJ, my performance was really bad. I'd get easily distracted, overwhelmed by my opponents' moves, and pretty much lose before the match even started. It wasn't just about physical readiness; my mind was everywhere but on the mat.

Learning to control my emotions and stay calm under pressure was a game-changer. I began to approach each session with a clear mind, treating it as a new opportunity to grow, rather than a battleground where I'd to prove myself. This shift in perspective helped me maintain mental clarity, even in the most intense scrambles.

Embracing Zen in BJJ isn't just about improving technique; it's about integrating mental, emotional, and physical aspects to foster overall development. It has built my mental resilience, boosting my confidence and enabling me to adapt swiftly to different situations on the mat. Now, my training and competitions are approached with a holistic mindset, ensuring I'm not just a better fighter, but a more composed and mindful individual.

Mindful Breathing Techniques

Shifting to mindful breathing techniques has greatly sharpened my focus, allowing me to remain composed and agile on the mats. I've discovered that incorporating breathing exercises into my BJJ practice not only bolsters my focus and control but also markedly enhances my relaxation during intense training and competition. Deep diaphragmatic breathing, in particular, has become a cornerstone of my routine, calming my mind and body, thereby reducing stress and anxiety which can be detrimental in high-pressure situations.

The benefits of controlled breathing extend beyond mere relaxation; they're pivotal in managing adrenaline spikes. This fosters better decision-making and performance, ensuring I'm always a step ahead. Regular practice of these techniques has remarkably improved my endurance, stamina, and recovery, making me a more resilient competitor.

Here are three key practices I've integrated into my training:

  • Deep diaphragmatic breathing
  • Focused breath awareness
  • Controlled breaths during high-intensity drills

These practices help me stay present, centered, and in a flow state, even in the most challenging rolls and drills. Embracing mindful breathing techniques has truly transformed my approach to BJJ, granting me an unparalleled sense of focus and control.

The Zen of Choke Holds

Building on the foundation of mindful breathing, let's explore the zen behind executing choke holds in BJJ with precision and control. Choke holds, from my training experience, aren't just about exerting force; they're a dance of mental clarity, technical precision, and respect for the art and my opponent. When I apply a choke, aiming to compress the carotid arteries or windpipe, it's essential that I'm fully present, channeling my focus into the precise application of pressure.

This focus fosters a flow state, where everything else fades away except for the technique at hand. In these moments, my understanding of anatomy deepens, as I become acutely aware of how my actions affect my opponent's body. This isn't about aggression—it's about control, respect, and the pursuit of mastery.

Achieving the perfect choke involves a delicate balance. Too much force without control can be dangerous, while too little makes the technique ineffective. It's in this balance that I find a sense of zen, a calmness amidst the storm of competition. It's a reminder that in BJJ, as in life, mental clarity and technical precision can lead to profound outcomes.

Cultivating Patience and Focus

Mastering BJJ requires that I cultivate patience and focus, essential elements for excelling both on and off the mat. Patience practice in BJJ means embracing the learning curve and accepting that progress is a slow, incremental process. It's about understanding that every roll, every technique, and every mistake is a step towards improvement. This mindset helps me stay calm in the face of challenges, allowing me to think clearly and act deliberately.

Focus training, on the other hand, involves mindfulness techniques like deep breathing and visualization. These methods enhance my concentration, sharpening my awareness of my opponent's movements and my own responses. With improved focus, I execute techniques more effectively and make better decisions under pressure.

A mindful mindset integrates these aspects, leading to enhanced performance in BJJ:

  • Embracing the slow progress for mental resilience
  • Utilizing mindfulness techniques for sharper focus
  • Staying calm under pressure for better decision-making

This approach not only improves my BJJ game but also brings a sense of Zen to my practice, making the journey as rewarding as the destination.

Overcoming Challenges Mindfully

Facing challenges head-on with mindfulness, I've found a powerful tool in keeping my focus sharp and my spirit resilient during BJJ training. By staying present, I've learned to navigate the pressures of a male-dominated sport, transforming stress, anxiety, and self-doubt into opportunities for growth and improvement. Practicing mindfulness doesn't just help me manage my emotions; it also notably enhances my decision-making and problem-solving abilities on the mats. Every choice becomes more intentional, every movement more precise.

This journey hasn't been just about sharpening my skills; it's been about building resilience. The mental toughness required to thrive in BJJ doesn't come overnight. It's cultivated through countless hours of mindful practice, where every failure is a lesson and every success a reminder of my progress. Embracing mindfulness in BJJ has empowered me to face adversity with confidence. It's taught me that challenges are merely stepping stones on the path to mastery, and with each step, I grow stronger, more resilient, and more capable of achieving my goals.


As I've journeyed through the world of BJJ, integrating mindfulness has been a game-changer. Mindful breathing not only steadies my nerves but sharpens my focus, making every choke hold that much more precise.

Studies suggest that athletes who practice mindfulness can improve their focus by up to 27%. This has been pivotal for me, transforming challenges into moments of growth.

Embracing Zen in BJJ hasn't just elevated my game; it's enriched my life, proving the power of staying present both on and off the mat.