Right in our first few jiujitsu classes, we learn to seek maximum effectiveness with minimal effort. That is, to see how apparently banal, perhaps unimportant details can take our training—and life—to a new level.
Physical trainers and healthy-living specialists have realized the value of this philosophy. In case the person is sedentary, without any excitement for sports, the turnaround can start out slowly. For example, with 150 minutes of physical activity weekly, or walking an estimated ten thousand steps a day—easy and effective for all ages. One just has to leave the car at home and walk to the gym, for example.
If the person cannot control their appetite or is overweight, the change also starts with a very short first step: it's enough to reduce by 10% the amount of food on the plate, in every meal. If you usually ask for three spoons of rice, you'll be eating two and a half. Instead of two full ladles of beans, you can use smaller ladles, or slightly emptier ones. And so on.
In case the biggest discomfort relates to sleep, there are also little measures to take, such as being aware of what you've been consuming after 5 p.m., like coffee, teas or maté. Or dialing down the TV or phone use before bed.
It's part of being human, therefore, to seek (and find!) small solutions that make big differences in our life. But there are few that can beat a simple exercise, worshiped by leading athletes and even samurai like Master Rickson Gracie.
It's an exercise that takes only five daily minutes, which helps us acquire emotional control, mental health, less anxiety, sleep improvement, less tension, and clarity of ideas.
Yes, that exercise exists. Science says that, on average, you breathe twenty-two thousand times per day—that is, your lungs do not stop working. Specialists and researchers realized that the simple fact of making yourself aware of your breathing, and striving to breathe in a paused manner for five minutes, inhaling and exhaling slowly, makes all the difference in your health—both the physical and mental varieties of it. With time and constancy, this exercise can help lower blood pressure and more.
To get started, a small effort will suffice for maximum effectiveness: think of the number 426, and go to town for five minutes. It's four seconds breathing in, two to hold the air in, and six to slowly exhale.
With time, you will become a master of breathing, and realize how that helps you move and think progressively more efficiently.
Now check out, in the following video, one of the twenty-two thousand ways Rickson knows to improve your jiujitsu.