I was recently watching a Purple roll with a White who outweighed him by quite a bit. The White had the Purple mounted, and he was going totally crazy with submission attempts. The Purple just laid there calmly and defended. He seemed like the eye in the middle of a hurricane. You could tell he’d been there before, and he wasn’t phased by the maniacal attack. It didn’t take too long for the White to exhaust his energy reserve, and then the Purple was able to easily reverse, control, and submit him.
I think one of the major issues holding me back in Jiu-Jitsu is my general inability to remain calm in the middle of the storm. Although I have improved on it, I still have a tendency to match my partners level of intensity. I try to stay relaxed, but if they start freaking out, then so do I.
Of all the traits for a martial artist to have, remaining calm is probably the most important one. Your brain, and everything controlled by it, works better when you stay relaxed. Your ability to feel things, and your reaction time, is directly related to your level of relaxation. It’s as if everything moves in slow motion when you are calm, allowing you the opportunity to properly respond.
When I’m trapped on the bottom and someone is flailing around with unskilled attempts to submit me, that is the most important time to focus and not get frazzled. Instead of feeling helpless and desperate, I just need to relax and be patient. I should go to my happy place and bide my time, reserve my energy for my inevitable counter-attack. Be calm, like a bomb. Tick, tick, tick…