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Mastering Composure

Composure, the ability to remain calm and focused under pressure, can often be the deciding factor between success and defeat on the mats. In this blog post, we'll explore how to cultivate composure through training and mindset techniques, empowering you to perform at your best in every roll and competition.

Composure in Jiu-Jitsu involves maintaining a clear mind and controlling your emotions, even in the face of adversity. It's about staying relaxed, focused, and making calculated decisions rather than reacting impulsively. Whether you're caught in a tight submission or facing someone more advance, composure allows you to assess the situation calmly and execute your techniques effectively.

Teaching composure isn't an easy thing to explain. I can tell you to relax all day, but until you finally make the decision to accept what's happening, you wont really understand what having composure is supposed to feel like for you.

Breath Control

One of the most effective ways to cultivate composure is through breath control. Practice deep, diaphragmatic breathing both on and off the mats. During training or competition, focus on breathing deeply and evenly, especially when you find yourself in challenging positions. This not only oxygenates your muscles but also helps calm your mind and maintain composure.

We have a habit of forgetting to breath when we are in stressful moments. I have found myself rolling with White and Blue Belts, and gently reminding them, "deep breaths." Before I can get you to remember what technique you should be doing at what time, I have to get you to understand the importance of remembering how to breath. This is by far the most important first step towards understanding composure.


Mental imagery is a powerful tool for enhancing composure. Before stepping onto the mats, visualize yourself rolling with confidence, executing techniques flawlessly, and overcoming obstacles with ease. Visualizing success primes your mind for peak performance and instills a sense of composure by familiarizing yourself with various scenarios and responses.

When I'm trying to add a new technique or I'm teaching one for the first time, I spend days visualizing it. I'm throwing the technique around, deciding on what the best ways to apply it might be. I think about the possible responses and how I may respond.

I would never say that physical applications are better than mental, but you'd be surprised how helpful running through scenarios really does help.


Incorporate mindfulness practices into your training regimen to sharpen your awareness and presence on the mats. Pay close attention to your thoughts, sensations, and emotions during training, without judgment or attachment. By cultivating mindfulness, you can better regulate your reactions, stay grounded in the present moment, and maintain composure even in high-pressure situations.

A trick that I feel has helped me is rolling with my eyes closed. Being in the moment is not something that I've ever struggled with on the mats but having my eyes closed helps feel subtle changes in weight or tension.


Another key aspect of composure is adaptability. Embrace the fluid nature of Jiu-Jitsu and learn to adapt to changing circumstances on the mats. Instead of fixating on a single outcome or technique, remain flexible and open-minded, ready to adjust your game plan as needed. This adaptive mindset not only fosters composure but also enhances your overall resilience as a grappler.

Part of being adaptive is understanding that things will go south at some point in the round. When they go bad, if you're comfortable on the bottom, and your escapes are effective, you won't stress as much about it. You'll identity what's going wrong, you'll address the issue by sweeping your opponent back into the position you want, then getting back into an attacking mindset.

Mental Toughness Training

Just as you train your body, it's essential to train your mind for resilience and mental toughness. Challenge yourself mentally by putting yourself in uncomfortable positions during training, practicing under simulated pressure, and embracing failure as an opportunity for growth. Over time, these mental challenges will strengthen your composure and fortify your mindset for success.

I wont begin to act like I'm this savant when it comes to mental toughness and that mind is on par with the TEAM guys, not remotely close. One the traits that really helped me along my journey was that I accepted what was, cleared it from my emotional database, then went right into the next round. I accepted what was and moved on.

Knowing that certain days are going to be tough, some area going to be amazing, and that I am going to have to face both as a matter of fact, let me regulate emotionally which in the end translates to mental toughness.

In order for someone to gain muscle mass or build up their cardio, their body has to initially break down. You're going to go through a phase where your body is just wracked with soreness, it's just a part of the process. That's how I address the bad days in class, just part of the process.


By incorporating breath control, visualization, mindfulness, adaptability, and mental toughness training into your routine, you can cultivate the composure needed to thrive on the mats. Remember, mastery of composure is not achieved overnight but through consistent practice and a resilient mindset. Embrace the journey, stay composed, and watch your skills and confidence flourish in Jiu-Jitsu.

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