Positive Near Death Experiences: A How To Guide

In jiu-jitsu, one has countless opportunities to enter into a submission of which they cannot escape. Many submissions involving the arm, ankle, knee, wrist, or neck don’t give you a whole lot of time to think about your situation. When these get compromised, you quickly tap out.

There are situations, one of which I will describe in some detail, which do give you plenty of time to reflect on your situation. The body triangle is one such scenario.

As I was rolling with my teammate Anson on Sunday, he gracefully trapped me in a body triangle (see the featured photo by @shawnwilliamsbjj for reference). This position can be quite uncomfortable. Indeed, it is so uncomfortable that your mind considers tapping. But, as one finds out sooner or later in the sport of jiu jitsu, tapping because of discomfort is faux pas.

So you bear it. While bearing it, panic sometimes sets in. The panic of oncoming death. You enter a frame of mind that you’re in a real fight, and that this is it. You’ve lost. There is nothing more you can do, no matter how hard you struggle. You’re going to die.

Then, you realize it is your teammate and you know you can tap at any time (even though it would be faux pas). So you find a way to relax and relieve the pressure. You find a position that puts you at a level of discomfort that is manageable.

You learn how to defeat the panic and to calm yourself.

Soon, Anson applies a choke giving me the excuse I needed to tap out.

I roll over and contemplate how truly amazing the experience was. Funny thing, that jiu jitsu. It is not just the thrill of submitting someone that keeps me coming back to the gym time after time. Equally, it is the thrill of feeling near death, and then conquering the panic through mental management and focus.

To be honest, there are not many healthy avenues to experience these near death experiences outside of the sport of jiu jitsu. So, I am unable to provide how to get a positive near death experience without getting yourself locked into a body triangle with a Brazilian jiu jitsu teammate.

In conclusion, you should most definitely start training in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Find a gym near you!

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