One of the most important lessons to learn in BJJ is to train when you are tired.
Normally, we do not want to do anything when we feel this way. However, studies have shown that training though fatigue results in better maintenance of strength and improved postural control. Specifically, endurance athletes and soccer players who performed strength or balance exercises at the end of their training sessions, rather than at the beginning. They were less negatively impacted by fatigue during their matches. All athletes can also see psychological benefits from pressing past their physical limits.
When you learn to withstand fatigue and push through something difficult, it gives you confidence. It’s empowering and shows you that you can do more than you likely thought you could.
Training tired forces you to use your technique because you do not have any power left. This will make you a better technician on the mat. This is why many smaller practitioners and women generally have better guards than powerful practitioners, because they are forced to rely on their technique.
Danaher on Training Tired:
One of my old training partners and instructors, John Danaher, recently touched on this on his Facebook Page. “Anybody can train when they feel like training – the real question is whether you can train when you don’t feel like it. This constant pushing for better results comes at a price. You see the gym is empty behind us. A few hours previously it was packed with nearly eighty people in an afternoon class. Now they are gone. But Mr Cummings remains. This pattern of extra effort beyond the norm is the distinguishing characteristic of all great enterprises. So often people ask me how my students became so adept at the skills they display in competition – if they could see the daily price they pay in time and effort their question would be answered before it even left their lips…”
It is important to try this. When you train tired, you also find out more about your weaknesses. When we train fresh, especially bigger and stronger practitioners, we can mask weaknesses with explosive strength. You can’t do that when fatigued and as a result, you will find out more about situations where you are weaker.
This is also important especially in self-defense scenarios, when you won’t have control over when you can stop fighting. You will have to know what you are capable of and what you are NOT capable of when exhausted. While, training tired you will gain a deeper understanding of your own strengths and limitations, and in the process will toughen you up. Don’t push it to the point that you hurt yourself, because then you won’t be able to train at all.