Understanding the Difference Between Confidence and Cockiness with Tom DeBlass

In this exclusive video for the Jiu-Jitsu Times, Professor Tom DeBlass shares his thoughts on the nature of the much confused distinction between confidence and cockiness.  Many times, especially on social media, jiu-jitsu practitioners and fans can blur the lines between these two concepts.


Confidence, first and foremost, is grounded in hard work.  When you have dedicated yourself to the utilization of jiu-jitsu to meet whatever goals you have set before you and you have trained and studied to the best of your ability, you must have confidence in yourself and your jiu-jitsu.

Confidence can most easily be seen emanating from competitors who have put countless hours into their preparation, so that they can walk onto the mat and believe with everything in their hearts they will execute their game plan with perfect jiu-jitsu and come out victorious.  And even if they do not, they are still able to hold their heads high because they know they did the work and will learn from their loss and come back even stronger.

But confidence is not limited to only the hardcore competitor.  All practitioners, no matter what their goals are, must work to be confident and believe in their jiu-jitsu and the power of the art to transform and help them achieve their goals.

Cockiness, on the other hand, manifests itself in practitioners who perhaps talk more than they train.  Maybe they feel that they are too good to train with everyone at the academy or perhaps they try to bully people who aren’t as skilled as they might be.

Social media, whether it is Facebook, Instragram or the next big platform gives EVERYONE a venue to share their thoughts and opinions.  With all of the incredibly positive things this brings to the jiu-jitsu community, it can also have a darker side.  It can create an apparent safe haven for people to needlessly criticize, ridicule, and even bully other people.  This is another aspect of cockiness and has even spawned a saying that “Your real jiu-jitsu better be as good as your Facebook jiu-jitsu.”

In the end, everyone must constantly be reminded that we all started out as white belts.  We all walked onto the mats for the first time, looking for something and shaking like a leaf inside, even if we didn’t show it.  The confident practitioner knows that EVERYONE in the academy has something to teach no matter what their rank, whether it be on the mats or something about life outside.

Cocky practitioners will never know.  Sadly, they will miss the wisdom that’s right in front of them on the mats.

Follow Professor Tom DeBlass on Facebook here.

Check out Professor DeBlass’ Academy Ocean County BJJ.


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