There is no spoon.
Are you feeling completely gassed after rolling for just 5 minutes? Well then just breathe. Yeah it sounds simple but it’s definitely easier said than done especially when your adrenalin is pumping, your opponent has your back, his hooks in, and you are desperately trying to escape a rear naked choke. Learning to relax and breathing properly while training is essential to performing well on the mat. Your muscles will have more energy when you need them and you won’t tire out as easily. Your mind will also be sharper and you’ll be able to focus better on your escapes and attacks.
I remember when I first started training my Gi would be completely soaked with sweat after class. When I rolled with a more experienced opponent, I would be exhausted, drenched and dripping with perspiration, while the other guy looked calm, relaxed and seemed barely tired at all. It was, and still is, a constant mental battle. I feel a lot more comfortable now but there are still times when the adrenaline takes over and I find myself struggling too much, not breathing, and not performing the appropriate techniques. When panic sets in, you’re not only fighting your opponent, you’re also fighting yourself; and two against one are not good odds.
Try not to psyche yourself out by thinking the other guy is better than you before you even start rolling. You’ve already lost if you start out thinking that way. Ignore the color of the belts and just play your game. If you get submitted, get up, and roll again. If you get a submission, then let him get up, and roll again. It doesn’t matter what color belt the other guy was wearing when he tapped you out, what matters is that you learn how and why you got tapped out so you can prevent it from happening again. Mike always says that “you will learn more from being submitted than from submitting somebody”. Don’t get mad; don’t get even, just get with it.