Breathing. It’s something that we do everyday and is necessary for human life. Whether you are finding yourself out of breath while training jiu jitsu, looking to utilize proper breathing techniques to lower your stress levels or curious about the other life changing benefits this practice has to offer, then you’ll want to check out this interview with Chaim Mudde.
Chaim is a breath coach and purple belt BJJ practitioner training out of Twisted Jiu Jitsu in Sofia, Bulgaria. He explains the profound benefits of breathing and how you can become more functional on the mats with these techniques. He also goes into detail about what the most common breathing mistakes are and how to breath properly both on and off the mats.
Submission Shark Community | Instagram: @chaimjitsu
Full Name: Chaim Ariel Mudde
Belt Colour: Purple
Coach(es): Borislav Kirilov Kirilov & Vladimir Dzharkalov
Short Term Goals: Win the ADCC European trials
How long have you been training jiu-jitsu for?
Where do you train out of?
Twisted Jiu Jitsu. Located in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Do you prefer gi or no-gi?
Have your instructors helped you in other aspects of life other than jiu-jitsu?
My current and former instructors in my opinion are not just good at doing an arm lock but know how to be successful fathers, business men, coaches and mentors.
They have a very unique way of looking at things which floods over into their teaching and in the daily conversations we had/have (which are very long sometimes) and in this way I learn a lot about other aspects of life that translate to the mat and vice versa.
What are some lessons you learned from jiu-jitsu that apply to everyday life?
Dealing with stressful situations, discipline, solving problems efficiently, self reflection and expressing myself freely.
How often do you train?
12 to 14 times a week.
What made you want to start training?
Do you plan on training your whole life?
What’s it about jiu jitsu that makes it so addicting?
The struggle and knowing that for the next 100 years you can learn something new everyday.
What has jiu jitsu done for your physical health?
It made me realize that there are many different factors to optimize recovery. Through biohacking I am able to improve my supplementation, sleep, diet, managing physical and mental stress and just finding out what hinders my recovery and removing it from my life.
Has jiu-jitsu benefited your mental health?
Yes, it gave me a sense of purpose which makes me want to wake up everyday.
If you could restart your jiu-jitsu journey, would you do anything differently?
Not to bash on my old coaches because they were just doing the best of their knowledge, but I would switch schools a lot quicker. A lot of things I learned in my first 2 years of training I then had to unlearn in the next couple years.
What’s your advice for someone that’s never tried jiu-jitsu before but is interested in trying it?
Look for a school that's close by, clip your nails and just go without any expectations.
Do you have any aspirations in jiu-jitsu?
Yes, I want to win ADCC at -77kg.
What’s your favourite BJJ move?
The one that either strangles you or breaks you.
If you didn’t discover jiu-jitsu, where do you think you’d be now?
I would be a juiced up guy, not being able to scratch my own head doing pro bodybuilding competitions.
Would you like to see the sport become more mainstream?
Yes and no. Yes because it would grow the sport and the community as a whole and make more people start training, no because there is a danger to it that would cause too many rules to be implemented and change the sport in a negative way.
Have any of your training partners pushed you to reach your full potential?
I had a training partner named John Winter who always asked me the right questions to stay on track with my training and my mindset.
When you were first starting, what was the most difficult concept of jiu-jitsu that you had trouble getting?
That squeezing is not the way to win a fight.
If you could roll with any practitioner, dead or alive, who would it be?
If you had to describe Jiu-Jitsu to someone that's never heard of it before in under 5 words, what would those words be?
Simulating murder for fun
What has been the most memorable moment you've had on the mats so far?
The time Alistair Overeem tried to do a can opener on me.
What makes you want to inspire and motivate others?
The realization that everybody can achieve greatness and seeing it in the other person before them and then watching them realize it themselves is just amazing.
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Was there a difficult moment in your life where jiu-jitsu helped you get through it? If so, please explain.
I went through a very deep depression in which I had suicidal thoughts and didn't do anything but work two days a week, come home and watch Netflix in bed and eat horrible food. Then after a powerful experience with a psychedelic over the weekend I went back to the gym on Monday and it really helped me recover and get back to myself.
How can breathing techniques help BJJ practitioners and other martial artists?
It can help improve their cardio, recovery, focus, stress management, readiness, emotional intelligence, make weight cuts easier, sleep, digestion, sex life and the list goes on and on. It really improves every process in the body and in turn everything that goes on in your life.
What are the most common mistakes you've found in everyday breathing and what are some simple tips to improve the quality of the breath?
- Mouth Breathing,
- Holding The Breath.
- Breathing Too Much.
There are a lot of people who go through their waking hours while constantly breathing through their mouths. This is one of the worst things you can do for your health. You should always aim to breathe through your nose, only not when it's absolutely physically impossible.
“Reprogramming your body and brain to only breathe through the nose can lead to amazing short and long term health benefits.” ~ Chaim Mudde
The next thing is pretty common during normal everyday life but more so on the mats. This is the act of holding your breath when performing an action. In kickboxing and I'm sure in other striking arts you're taught from the very beginning that it's very important to breathe through motion, for example when you throw a punch you breathe out.
For some reason and I have no idea why this is almost never explained in jiu jitsu. I never go a week on the mats without noticing this going on with one of my training partners. This will not only make your move less efficient, it will also gas you out a lot quicker.
The last common mistake humans make is breathing too much, if you never pay attention to your breathing this can happen quite easily.
You notice it more in the training room by people taking big breaths when they feel tired or exhausted, this is the opposite of what you should be doing. Breathing too much distorts the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body which is extremely important for your cells to function optimally.
The bigger breaths you take, the bigger the disbalance and the more tired and stressed you get. ''Take a deep breath'' is actually not advice you should give to someone who is exhausted and stressed, a better thing to do in these situations and in general is to focus on exhaling completely.
How can people get in contact with you and learn more about breathing and it's benefits?
They can always shoot an email to me at email@example.com or find me on Instagram with my handle @chaimjitsu
What would you like to say to everyone that has supported you on your journey?
If we are ever near each other hit me up for a training session and thank you all so much for being a part of my learning process and the journey towards excellence.
When the journey is over, how would you like to be remembered?
The guy that did it
“The self awareness that both breathing practices and jiu jitsu bring can be very helpful for one's life. Through real conscious breathing you can learn a lot about yourself and your psyche and combine this with the constant exposure to your ego/self during jiu jitsu training can lead to a path of a ton of fulfillment.” ~ Chaim Mudde
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Make sure to check out more School of Sharks articles where you can find topics ranging from Athletic Performance, Injury Prevention, Mindset and more or return to the Submission Shark Community to see more interesting stories and perspectives from other martial artists and jiu jitsu practitioners.