It’s Just Training!

BJJ academies tend to recognize the value of the saying, “Leave your ego at the door” but it is way more difficult to do in reality.

Most BJJ addicts are competitive personality types and are driven by a powerful desire to win. That drive is what makes us train hard to improve.

The downside of course is that ego applied in the wrong way is counterproductive because it limits your jiu-jitsu. Basically if you are really afraid of tapping in training, you will limit your jiu-jitsu to positions that you are confident in, and your progress in developing new positions slows.

The most helpful way to overcome this mindset is to share that simple quote with training partners: it’s just training!

To elaborate, the primary purpose of training is to improve, not to just win by any means of stalling, 100% strength, or being super conservative.

Your focus should be on experimenting with positions, trying out techniques that you saw in that week’s class, or working on a specific position that you wish to develop in your game.

Observe the roll between Demian Maia and Marcelo Garcia, two World Champions who are intensely competitive, but train in a way that allows an exchange of positions.

If you are afraid of trying something new and your guard gets passed as a result – right in front of your instructor no less! – you will close your game.

Before positional sparring, I will say to the students, “Try the techniques that you learned in class today. I don’t care if your guard gets passed or if you tap. It’s just training!”

Observing the rolling, I will see a technique fail. I see a guard get passed because the student attempted something new and it didn’t work. They pause to retie their belt and look at me, their instructor.

I say “Good! You tried it. It didn’t work that time, but you are learning what works and what didn’t work. Try it again. It’s just training!”

This takes the pressure off. You are free to try things and expand your jiu-jitsu game.


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