Egos In Jiu-Jitsu: Do They Disappear Or Get Inflated?

Egos in BJJ: Do They Disappear or Get Inflated?


There is a saying in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu “Leave your ego at the door”. How many people actually leave their egos are the door when they come to train? Not as many as you think. Many of us believe that if someone has a bad ego that we can “chin check” said person by tapping them out a few times and giving them a hard time in sparring. While this might work with some new students who have never trained before there are many who will actually be unphased by this. They will keep coming into the academy with their bad egos and keep training hard. The only problem is that the more they train and improve, the worse their egos could get worse.

I have seen white belts who have been training less than a year trying to constantly correct blue and purple belts on the techniques they are doing. The question then becomes “How do you deal with this person’s ego?”.  Do you talk to them about it? Do you try to “chin check” them? Or do you not say anything? There is not a correct answer to that question because every person and situation is different. Ego in BJJ is not always this extreme however. You might just have someone who refuses to tap to someone in training because they are a lower belt or even because they are a girl. While this might not be as difficult to deal with than someone who tries to go around teaching everyone, this is dangerous because it can lead to injuries due to someone being too stingy to tap.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a great martial art to enable people to be able to defend themselves, gain self confidence and just become a better person. However, some people become better practitioners but not necessarily better people.

What do you think about the egos in BJJ? Does it kill our egos, inflate them, or does it depend on the person? Let me know in the comments!  

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    • I am a knucklehead. I am cocky, proud, overconfident and to make it worse a quick learner. A super heavyweight black belt with a sharp tounge and a good eye took me down a better path. Its about being humbled, not just tapped out.

  1. Some are so dangerousn to their own and others health that they need to be excluded from training altogether. That's a rarity however and "Chin Checking" usually irons them out in the long run.

  2. You should train for yourself only, use your colleague to learn. Let them learn from you, from your technique and your attitude. Don't try and teach them unless you are running the class!
    Your responsibility to them and yourself is safety.

  3. I find the egotistical people never last anyway. They either go somewhere else or just leave. I'd recommend "chin checking" first and foremost.

  4. Why not tell them to their face if you find it to be a problem? Why try to force it on them physically before you have actually tried telling that person that they might gain something if they correct their attitude on the mat? If not, then hey, go tap 'em out in an orderly fashion – just give them a friendly heads up before you bring the rain.

  5. I've had something similar happen after throwing a brown belt (im a bjj blue belt, judo black belt) when I run into people with egos on the mat, i just dont roll with them at all. That person usually has a hard time finding someone to train with because of his attitude.

  6. regarding to white belts trying to teach, you have to tell them not to do it. simple. Stop it! If they dont want to tap to lower belts, lets them to have their arms broken. and maybe hell tap next time. And for those who like to be bad with lower belts…tell them to stop and maybe put them against the heavy weights all day, everyday until he undestand.

  7. BJJ kills egos in the beginning, but they grow back when people get good and start doing the tapping instead of getting tapped. That said you can control egos with the atmosphere of the gym and how the instructor carries himself.

  8. Just my experience with these folks, I meant to say it's usually hard to reach people and feels awkward to tell them they need to check their ego.

  9. I think the biggest egos are found with the people that train bjj with they're main focus on mma. Don't know if it's part of mms (as they train to have self confidence as that's important in mma as it helps winning. While in bjj you try to humble so that you can learn because there is so much technique, tweaking abd details to learn). But I'm not a professional here or there, that's just what I've observed.

  10. It is up to the instructor and senior students to lead by example to teach not only technique but also the merits of jiu jitsu. There is no use to repeatedly to tap them. Plus, if they are putting students at risk then it is wise to teach them to respect their partners as without a partner it is hard to improve in the beautiful art.

  11. as a psychology student, and a recentlty fresh practitioner, I find it hard not to advertise for BJJ on improving mental health…
    tho, martial arts, has a record of attracting people with different kinds of mindsets.
    If i might dare to suggest a thing or two, I Belive that if the commonsence of bjj is to perfect inner harmony within one self, as a general principle. This might lead to a wonderfull athletic spirit, within the peace. But its crucial that the ones with higher rankings show this to the newcomers. And- besides, if we put to much pressure on the meaning of belts, we loose the point of it all…if having a higher belt is more crucial than learning how to get there, somethings needs to be improved, mentally..
    but as people say underneath here, people with a "bad" attitude needs to see that respect comes from kindness to oneanother and the willingness to learn from oneanother without putting eachother down in the proess (that sound a bit strang considering its martial arts, but I hope you get the point), I like to play with the idea that in winning in BJJ, one puts a 'dark sleeping blanket' over the others soul, the point aint to destroy it!

  12. Its all on the inside of the person / individual. Not on the outside of how they look. Its on the INSIDE , & in the THEY'RE MINDS. The mind controls your body. There is a gym that I go to every day of the week , & sometimes I see a gentleman come in & boast constantly about himself , the martial arts tournaments he has won in the past , the martial artists that he knows personally , & showing pictures of himself doing marital arts in the earlier yrs , & clips of him breaking boards with his head & hands. I can appreciate your dedication , but you don't have to bray about it all time. Big deal.

  13. I'd also encourage higher belts to be more open to learning from the less experienced. Example, white might have learned a nice sweep over the weekend, that was previously unknown to the rest of his superiors. Also, the lower belts should be appreciated as the stone that you will sharpen your skill with. It's important to be willing to teach, and willing to learn no matter where you are in your skill.

  14. What i have observed in my experience is sort of a rollercoaster with your ego: you feel inflated, then you humble yourself… you become good, then inflate again, and then humble yourself to become better…

    My conclusion is that Ego can be controlled, but never removed entirely. One does take pride on both the lessons and the success obtained. Ego can only be checked and controlled, but never gone, regardless of belt, age, gender, personality, etc.

  15. I’m a blue belt, some of my white belt friends like to “teach” some blue belts. One day I told them they shouldn’t do that, was like talking to a door, they kept doing…I shut my mouth and kept training. I think the “chin check” is the sensei’s job.

  16. Hi there, I reckon that if your ego can put yourself and/or your training partner in danger it should definitely be addressed by either the instructor or a training partner. The way that the issue will be addressed will be very key to understanding why the student acts that way and to hep him/her to move out of that attitude. Re-directing that “ego” for the profit of the team could be a good out come of what looked like a bad attitude. Oss


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