Empty Shell


In a fog.


Out of air.

An empty shell shuffling between matches.

Those all describe how I felt tonight.  I was excited to get back to sparring after being off a couple weeks. I was excited to see a full class tonight.  I had a couple decent rolls to start the night.  Then…something happened. I felt like I was a white belt again.  I was rolling with someone and could not catch my breath.

It wasn’t like when you run a sprint or compete in a hard fought BJJ match and you’re over in the corner sucking air. Instead it felt like I was under water, and had to come up gasping for air.  I tapped.  In a way, it felt as if I’d panicked, something I hadn’t done in probably two years.

In other ways, it felt like I gave up, like I quit.  I’m not sure what happened.  Even 45 minutes later, on the drive home, I could still feel it. I could breath fine. I wasn’t short of breath. I had not problem taking deep breaths, but I felt it.  I really don’t know if it was my asthma (I took my inhaler, something I rarely have to do) or was just one of those times when I could actually catch my breath but convinced myself I couldn’t.

Whatever it was, for the next few matches I felt almost lifeless. I was sparring someone underwater. Every movement was slow and sluggish.

I’m not sure what my problem was tonight, but this was definitely one of those times when I didn’t have “it.” Instead, anything I did, I had to work hard for.

It wasn’t a fun night. But, it was another night in my journey of BJJ.

One reply on “Empty Shell”

  1. I have and still do experience the same. I can only refer to it as my claustrophobia…heart pounding and can’t catch breath for no reason. The spar is no different from any other night but the pressure and pace seem greater than normal…or at least I feel I can’t catch up to it. This is when I force myself to calm my mind and breath…focus on the basics…survive until it passes…and it does.

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