The Mental Art of Competition: Part 6 CONFIDENCE

When getting ready to compete, we always have doubts. We know that if the tournament is worth its price chances are we’ll be up against people of comparable skill sets and athletic ability. That said, one major factor in being mentally fit to compete is confidence.

Perhaps the most important aspect of confidence is to not allow it to merge into arrogance. Arrogance is, simply put, an inaccurate self appraisal. In terms of Jiu Jitsu it is the belief that one’s skills exempt them from needing to properly prepare, and limit their opponent. My skills don’t determine what the other guy is or isn’t capable of, rather they determine what I alone am capable of. As soon as I start to assume that my own abilities will render the other person incapable of beating me, I make myself easier to be beaten.

Take every opponent seriously, but as soon as the referee says “Combate” do not consider the possibility of defeat. They can’t beat you. They won’t beat you. You will win. If you lose the match, as you very well may, that certainty didn’t increase the likelihood of that happening. However, if you go into any match with doubts your movements will be slower, you will be less effective and decisive and your chances of victory go down substantially.

Always. Be. Confident.

Raijin Fight Wear has a slogan “Respect All Fear None”, I think that is the very best advice for tournaments. Respect your opponent’s abilities, be aware of the potential traps they may set for you, but go in there and be decisive with every single movement. Do not think twice about any individual movement or chances are that movement will fail you.

When possible, I like to bolster my confidence with a game plan. Many jiujiteiros post their highlights online. If possible I like to search my opponents online before I compete. I determine what their favored tactics are, and then play a different game. In doing this I go in more confident because I know that the game we are playing is not the game they want to play. (Never, however, assume that they are limited to their online persona as you may wind up sadly mistaken.) Watch people’s matches, put yourself in the shoes of their opponents and figure out what they do right and what they do wrong, so that you may be able to capitalize on that.

Be confident. Be smart about being confident. And above all else go into every match with a mental plan of what you want to do. In doing this you will elevate your confidence and be able to improve your results. Perhaps one of the trickiest weapons you can add to your mental arsenal is that of confidence, but it can be one of the most effective.

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


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