Part 2 of 21 improvements BJJ has had on my life. This was inspired by Tangled Triangle: 21 Days of Improvement.

2/21 Improvements from BJJ: Faster Reflexes

Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex. —Norman Vincent Peale

Before I started jiu jitsu, I did very little in the way of physical activities, unless you counted sitting or typing. The only fast reflexes I developed were hand eye coordination on games like Duck Hunt.

This morning I was with another kindergarten teacher. We were watching the kids and I had my arm around her back (with the underhook), and she had her hand over my shoulders. All of a sudden she went to do a head lock on me to joke around, but I shrugged her arm quickly and took her back. I hadn’t even realized what I was doing – it was automatic.

Jiu Jitsu spends a lot of time on timing – figuring out when exactly to do something. Do it too early and it doesn’t work. Too late and you’re in a bad spot. You learn to find and hone that sweet spot and exploit it. It’s meant having to develop my reflexes so that I don’t have to overthink things so much. My reflexes are not nearly as fast as other jiu jitsu folks I know, but they’re no longer “lazy” and I respond a lot faster, physically, than before.

Jiu Jiu’s Question: Has jiu jitsu improved your reflexes? Had you already been responsive?