Inhale. Exhale. Stay calm and control the rhythm of the breath. In SCUBA diving, just as in most other physically demanding activities, mastering your respiration is the name of the game. Of course, as you already know, BJJ is no different.
SCUBA (an acronym standing for ‘Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus’) is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences you can possibly try, combining elements of exploration, adventure, athleticism, discipline and fun. If you have a chance to visit a place with a good diving reef, you should do yourself a favor and take an introductory diving lesson. Your eyes will be opened to an entirely foreign underwater world filled with wildlife and wonder. You will also experience the unparalleled sensation of ‘neutral buoyancy’, the state in which you neither float nor sink, allowing you to glide through the underwater world like a fish, moving in any direction you please at any depth while you marvel at the submerged landscapes.
During a trip to the north-eastern part of Australia, I had the privilege to visit the world famous Great Barrier Reef. This impressive underwater ecosystem, just off the coast near the town of Cairns, is the largest reef in the world and offers some of the very best diving around. My buddy and I opted to go out on a four-day dive trip around the reef with a company called Pro-Dive, and it turned out to be a truly unforgettable experience. We dove two to three times per day at a whole host of different dive sites while enjoying the social atmosphere of the relatively small boat with about a dozen other guests. The boat was state-of-the-art and had all of the newest equipment, and we took PADI-certified dive courses with the crew of Dive Masters. For me, the highlight was night-diving with sharks; an experience that is to this day the coolest and scariest thing I have ever done. What was most surprising to me was the level of athleticism required to dive a couple of times per day for a few days in a row; it can be physically taxing, even for someone in good shape who trains BJJ regularly.
SCUBA diving should not be taken lightly, as it can be dangerous and even life threatening if the proper rules and techniques are not followed. Make sure that you dive with a PADI-certified company or instructor and stay alert and attentive while taking your introductory lesson. When done properly, SCUBA can be a truly life-changing experience.
If you are planning an adventurous vacation, consider heading “Down Under” and make sure that you give yourself at least a few weeks, as there is a lot to see and experience. There is also a rich and growing BJJ community, so be sure to check out some academies and drop in for some training sessions. Aussies are incredibly warm and fun people, and will welcome you into their gyms.
Whatever you do, make sure that a visit to the Great Barrier Reef is part of your plans. But be warned, once you try SCUBA diving, you may be hooked! It is highly addictive, and unfortunately it is also a relatively expensive hobby. No worries though, its worth the price of entry. Be safe and enjoy.
Words by Dave Menceles
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