BJJ: Abandon Your Machismo


Far too often I see machismo on the mats. I see people hold out on tapping resulting in injury or I see people getting angry at their training partners for challenging them. Machismo doesn’t accomplish anything. The baddest dudes on the mat are more often than not smiley and approachable. There’s a reason for this.

Jiu Jitsu is an art in which hard work and dedication beats natural ability, and when the two are combined you have top echelon competitors. The result of this is that anyone can get good at it if they put their mind to it. The skinny kid with glasses can be a black belt absolute champ, just look at the Miyaos. For this reason, machismo is pretty much useless.

Smile more

When I go to competitions I go out of my way to be as smiley and cheerful as possible, even if I am bored and nervous. The more I smile, the more relaxed I am. The more relaxed I am the more likely I am to win. If I needed to put on some weird tough guy exterior, I smiling wouldn’t be part of my repertoire. If smiling weren’t part of my repertoire, I wouldn’t win as many matches as I win… Ergo smiling = victory.

In the gym be willing to be creative and silly. Some of my biggest breakthroughs that I’ve had were while flow rolling and laughing my *** off. It’s just part of the game. If you’re not having fun why bother?

I see people with stern expressions walking around at tournaments and at gyms that I visit. I see guys at tournaments pacing about all awkwardly and nervously. Meantime I’m busy asking my opponents if they brought chocolate chips because the bakeoff is about to begin. I’m all about baking those cookies. I have no clue what this grappling stuff that you guys are talking about is…

I’ll repeat what I’ve said so many times: the less tense you are the better you’ll be able to flow. The better you’re able to flow the better you’ll be able to become the hammer when the time becomes right and smash the nail that is your opponent. It’s as simple as that. The harder you try to be a bad ****, the more you’ll wear yourself out before you ever even compete.

Do you try to be as relaxed and collected as possible? Or do you want everyone to know how much of a tough guy you are? Do you believe in being relaxed at tournaments?

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Emil Fischer is an active purple belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training at Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts and Training Center near Cleveland Ohio ( For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at and Emil is sponsored by Meerkatsu (, discount code EmilKatsu) Pony Club Grappling Gear (, The Original Amy Joy Donuts ( mention Emil Fischer when visiting), Valor Fightwear ( discount code COOKIES), Cleveland Cryo ( discount code EmilCryo,) Code Chiro, CannaBody ( discount code EmilCanna) Impact Mouthguards ( discount code EMILIMPACT), North South Jiu Jitsu Underwear, Hydrus ( discount code COOKIES) as well as a brand ambassador for Ludwig Van ( discount code FAMILY).

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