One of the things I talk about in my Beginning BJJ online Course is the importance of not telegraphing your moves, particularly your explosive escapes, by holding your breath.
Now this lesson led to many interesting conversations, including one with Mr. Will Wood, who trains with Garrett Erickson.
Here’s what Will said:
“Something I find common is guys bridge and start their escape on the third big breath. One big breath, second big breath, third breath – BRIDGE!!!!!
I have gotten into the habit of slightly shifting my position after the second breath. In most cases their bridge escape could have worked but it breaks their concentration long enough to make them hesitate and restart.
Talk about burning some energy!
As a 41 year old little guy (5’7 and 165 lbs) I have to use the biggest muscle – the brain.”
Much as a ‘tell’ in poker gives other experienced players at the table an advantage, picking up on subtle clues like this can help you dominate larger and stronger opponents on the mat.
Getting good at BJJ requires you to become a bit of a mind-reader. There’s nothing mystical about it. You just have to consistently work at developing the sensitivity that allows you to notice, and then take advantage of, the subtle clues that your opponent is giving you all the time.
So first work on your subtlety and sensitivity.
Then once you’ve got subtlety mastered you can go full barbarian again. Conan might advise you to use your newly refined attributes and “crush your enemies, see them driven before you…”