The Mental Art of Competition: Part 2 ANGER

Photo by: BJJPIX

The better I get at competing, the more I explore my many emotions while I compete. In the exploration of the mental art of competition, the reality of emotion is crucial. One key emotion to competition and exploring your own human potential is Anger/Rage, which can be a sometimes destructive, sometimes productive but always profound emotion.

When I compete, I do my best to be free of emotion, but occasionally an opponent will manage to piss me off. When I get angry, I get vengeful; when I get vengeful my chances of submitting the other guy go up substantially, but so does my recklessness.

As an anecdote: I competed at a tournament a few months back and there was a guy in my division with whom I was evenly matched. We had a no Gi match at the very beginning of the tournament, and at a certain point the other guy was awarded points for something that he should not have been, I got mad and started making stupid mistakes which resulted in me losing by a substantial point margin.

Later in the day, he and I faced each other in the Gi. At this point I was planning on playing a smart and calculated game. We started the match and I immediately scored 2 points. As the match progressed, so did his desperation, but I was staying calm and refusing to play into his frenetic pace. Then he did something (unintentionally) that woke up the bear in me: he kicked me. After this I came after him hard and wound up submitting him.

Had this opponent not kicked me I would have been content winning the match on points, but he made me angry and so I came after him. Coming after him, I opened up potential opportunities for him, but still wound up winning.

Anger can make us both reckless AND effective (not necessarily at the same time, but not necessarily at different times either.) I have seen people whose anger blinds them to the bad situations and results in crushing defeat. But when you are able to channel your anger into resolve, and are able to insist on your desired outcome, it can be a valuable weapon.

Anger is, however, very draining and unhealthy. Anger makes a match that could be fun, not fun. One person winds up trying to impose their will on the other and the result can be a very aggressive match. I’ve seen matches like this end in injury. If you need an extra boost in the last few moments of a match, anger can be a way to go, but be careful relying on it as it can cloud your judgment and make you weak.

During training, try to experience different emotions and see which make you most effective. Bruce Lee said “We need emotional content.” Try to apply that to your Jiu Jitsu and see how it enhances or inhibits your skills.



Emil Fischer is an active blue belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training with Strong Style Brasa and is sponsored by Pony Club Grappling Gear and Cruz Combat. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at and


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here