My Jiu-Jitsu teacher and competition coach, Amy, usually advises me to not tap for blood chokes in tournaments. So far, I have not followed her advice. It’s not because I’m afraid of going out, heck I even let someone choke me out once! When I first started Jiu-Jitsu, I was terrified of being choked. Then one day in Karate class they asked for volunteers to be choked unconscious, and in an effort to get over my fear, I raised my hand. I wrote about the experience in one of my early Jiu-Jitsu Fighter posts “I Needed a Nap.”
This approach really worked for me. I’m not the tiniest bit scared of being choked anymore. Now I think some people are very surprised by the amount of effort that is required to choke me. I’ve had people give up on chokes that they thought weren’t working but were, because I’m stubborn and I like to hold off tapping until it’s really necessary. Still, I have never been choked out because I didn’t tap.
Which brings me back to not tapping for chokes in competition. I guess I feel like I know when it’s time to tap, and there’s no point in putting myself, my opponent, the ref, and the spectators through me have a seizure (which is apparently what I did when I was choked unconscious). Besides, I don’t think Amy’s advice is really intended to be taken literally. I think she fully expects and wants me to tap when I need to, but by telling me not to, she’s assured that I won’t do it too soon when I’m under stress in a tournament.
“While I nodded, nearly napping,
Suddenly there came a tapping.”
-Edgar Allan Poe