Don’t Panic


“Whenever you get into a crisis or an emergency, become the calmest person in the room. You’ll be able to figure your way out.” – Rudy Giuliani

Life will test us.

I was reminded of this last week during a Jiu Jitsu sparring session.

A larger, stronger opponent wrestled me to the ground.

He tried to submit me while I was in an awkward position.

For a moment – I FROZE.

  • I held my breath.
  • I forgot my training.
  • I made the situation worse.

PANIC started to creep in.

How we respond to PRESSURE defines who we are.        

PRESSURE is a given, PANIC is optional.

We have to be PREPARED to operate in less than ideal circumstances.

We must learn to get comfortable in uncomfortable situations.

I learned that life will knock us down when we:

  • Get complacent.
  • Don’t prepare
  • Lose focus.

The ONE THING we can’t do is PANIC.

Here is what I learned in Jiu Jitsu about stopping PANIC and remaining CALM while almost getting choked unconscious:

  • BREATH:  My first step in this situation was to focus on my breathing. I took slow, deep breaths.  This calmed my body & mind.
  • STAY CALM:  Controlling my breathing gave me the ability to relax. It’s amazing how staying calm slows the situation down.
  • ASSESS:  With a clear mind, I was able to assess my immediate need – to create space. This would allow me to maneuver out of that bad position.
  • CREATE OPPORTUNITY: After creating some space, I was able to make minor adjustments that made a huge difference.
  • SURVIVE: Winston Churchill said, “When you are going through hell – keep going.”  I kept making adjustments until I found my opportunity to escape.
  • LEARN:  Afterwards, I took a moment to reflect on what I learned and how to prevent that situation from happening again.
  • SHARE:  I incorporated the lesson in the very next GRACIE Basics class I taught. No need for my students (or me) to repeat that mistake.

PANIC under pressure is AVERAGE.

The feeling of getting up after being knocked down is REMARKABLE.

– Joe Ciccarone

About Joe Ciccarone

Host of the “Built Not Born” podcast, Blogger ( & BJJ Black Belt. "Escape Average, Be Remarkable."
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1 Response to Don’t Panic

  1. Josh says:

    Well said Joe, being calm is a learned skill. Thanks for sharing.

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