Most jiu-jitsu addicts have heard the popular saying, “leave your ego at the door.” I have even seen this printed on a sign at the entrance of the mats at BJJ schools.
But what does it mean? Is having some ego really a bad thing?
Anyone who has spent time around professional athletes that there is a large amount of ego involved in competing in a combat sport. Most top athletes have intensely competitive personalities. Do you see them as being utterly without ego?! Do you think that they don’t mind losing?
Of course not. The competitive drive is what fuels BJJ fighters to train so hard and endure sacrifices in pursuit of their goals.
So what does this popular saying mean for the BJJ student?
Ego in BJJ is a negative when it interferes with the most important in training jiu-jitsu : to improve!
1) Do you focus primarily on winning every roll instead of training your techniques? This is something I have heard time and time again from top black belts. If there is a secret of top competitors, it is to approach your rolling with the mindset of improving, not of just winning.
2) Do you curse and throw your belt angrily into the corner of the mat if you get tapped by a lower belt? This is not displaying the best attitude to your training partners.
3) Do you make excuses to others for getting your guard passed? This might mean that you are overly concerned with counting points in training.
4) Are you afraid to try techniques outside of your current comfort zone? When you experiment with a new technique, it is likely to fail at first. But you can’t allow that to stop you from working to expand your game. Don’t allow your ego to prevent you from trying new things.
Ego can prevent us from putting it on the line. Whether that is fear of embarrassment of losing in a tournament, in front of your instructor, or of tapping to the new, athletic white belt. Don’t allow the ego to deprive you of what will benefit your jiu-jitsu: getting out of your comfort zone and testing your capabilities.