Wim Hof Method – Day 1M + 14

Three days of jiu jitsu in a row, with the third day consisting of an hour and a half without the confines of the gi, put me in a weird mental state last night. The post workout (cold) showerthoughts bounced between notions of the slow reduction of one’s own testosterone and the unsatiated need for the adrenaline rush.

Tolstoy said, “Once we are thrown off of our habitual paths, we think all is lost, but it is only here that the new and the good begin”.

I found calm while rolling on the mats. Even when pinned under a former UFC fighter, I ran through my list of defenses and attempted to make my escape. At one or two points, I did get tapped out. Against others, I had really fun rolls. Win some, lose some. But the feeling that I felt when I stepped into the shower, and I got over the cold shock was that I got too comfortable. Even under the water in the locker room. I wasn’t surprised, nor did I have to stress my brain to calm my breath and relax. I knew what was coming, just as I did when I was rolling. This isn’t good.

I started to wonder if it was testosterone, or a lack of it that was calming my killer instinct on the mats. Maybe it’s maturity or the fact that I’m learning that the best way to learn jiu jitsu is to have healthy training partners. Nobody wants to roll with a guy who is constantly going 100%. But, maybe they do. I do. I like when I roll with dudes who go hard. It helps me to check myself and to really see how I react when under pressure. It tests my ability to stay calm and run through my list of defenses, and my reluctance to give up by making stupid mistakes.

So what is it? Is it all becoming too easy. Does that come with maturity? I was never one to ‘sweat the small stuff’. But now I’m feeling like I can’t find that rush from the big stuff. When a fighter has your neck, or when you land under a freezing stream of water, your body should react. Your mind should react. You should panic and have to control that panic. Am I controlling that panic automatically? Or, do I need a new level of rush in order to feel alive?

Maybe I’ll try rolling jiu jitsu out on the ice.

 

Wim Hof Method – Day 31

I’ve been missing a few days of writing here and there, but that comes with a new work schedule I guess. I am still trying to adjust, find my timing, and also fit in a few days at the gym. Following the holidays, it is easier to get a rhythm. No worries.

Speaking of the holidays, something I have been playing around with recently is this thought on seasons. The last leaves were just being raked up when our first big snowfall hit. The smell outside today as things warmed up was created by hydrocarbons being released from the frozen ground. It smelled more like dog shit than spring. But the last few days were like a quick glimpse of the seasons. The unseasonably warm days, even as leaves are dying and falling from the trees. The snow, the ice on the steps, and today water dripping from the gutters and muddying up the driveway. It felt a bit like spring.

The thought I’d been having, regarding the seasons, is directly related to the Wim Hof method. The inhale and exhale cycle is much like the seasons. The dead air (CO2) is expelled from the lungs on the exhale to make room for more O2. Granted, we know that not much of the 19% of O2 in the air is really absorbed and converted. This, just as only the leaves of the trees fall and die each year. The leaves fall, rot, and release nitrogen and other chemicals into the soils as they feed microbial life. This soil gives way to spring where new plants pop up. After a long cold winter, we step out into the sunshine and take a big inhale. The warm season is much like the inhale. It helps to sustain us through the winter. Fully utilizing the warm season is like breathing deeply and harvesting as much O2 as possible.

And this Wim Hof breathing method almost reminds me of storing up food after a harvest. The hyperventilating in order to preserve more O2 feels a bit like cheating. The thing is, the body will always go back to equilibrium. The cycle of in and out, yin and yang may be stretched slightly in one direction, but never permanently. What I mean is, nobody lives forever. How many vegetables would you really want to can?

I wasn’t able to express that thought as simply as it seems to flow through my mind at times. I don’t know that I will ever really be able to make the analogy between breathing and the seasons. But, to get back to the actual practice, I did try and picture this cycle as I went through repetitions of circular breathing (trying to equalize the inhale and exhale). Counting in my head the seconds, feeling the sensation of breathing, and keeping the vision of a circular image helped improve the practice both yesterday and today.

I am heading to the gym now and will finish writing shortly after I get back. I always have a clearer head after rolling . . . À tantôt. That just means see you real soon.

Okay, back and finished rolling. Cold shower after the gym was great. Really refreshing. I’m finding that I can control my breathing while I’m showering by focusing on exhaling fully. This becomes very important during difficult stages of jiu jitsu when a training partner is pinning you on your back by placing all of their weight onto your sternum with their knee. Inhales are not as easy as exhales at that point. So I can control myself and not panic by pushing air out. By emptying my lungs, unless my chest has collapsed, I will easily be able to get in enough fresh air.

I don’t have much in terms of observations. My schedule seems bearable and my body feels good when I take time to work on mobility and breathing. And, my mind feels good when I take time to sit. I put it all together when I take time to write. So, I’m glad I made time for it today. The rest of the week may be more difficult. But I am looking forward to the challenge.