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Why we should tap out

It’s a good idea to tap out

So I’ve been meaning to do a post on this for a while now and it pretty much covers why you should tap out and when to tap out. 

Just from this last ADCC, there was a crazy match with Tye Ruotolo and Paulo Miyao. I just wanted to say that Paulo is an outlier in that he has flexible joints and high pain tolerance. 

So what you guys are seeing is a high level athlete who makes a living competing. He and his brother have made the conscious decision to not tap out to any type of leg locks or really any (joint)submissions and that has paid off for both of them as far as accomplishing major wins and medals at the most prestigious tournaments. 

Paulo was able to survive Tye’s knee bar attempt and take the victory in their match and secure the third place finish at the 2019 ADCC World Championship. 

But the flip side is that their bodies are beat up, practically destroyed, and we might not see that now because they’re still a little young. But I think 10, 15, 20 years down the line they’re going to be in massive pain. I’m sure they’re in pain now, but definitely in the future they’re going to be in a lot of pain. I’m sure their quality of life has been impacted now, but it’s going to be worse off not being able to train in middle age. 

So guys, just be careful out there, be smart and know that tapping is important. It’s important to tap out because it keeps your body healthy. You tap out when you get caught and then you slap hands and go again. It’s as simple as that. 

Again, these athletes made the conscious decision to not tap out, but if you’re a normal person, a hobbyist, a weekend warrior or realistically anybody with a life outside of training Jiu Jitsu. There comes a point when you need to tap out. 

What you don’t see is all the years of rehabilitation and surgeries and time being out of training. And that’s what happens when you don’t tap out. 

We really shouldn’t celebrate this kind of behavior. I mean, the top competitors do it, they made that conscious decision. They’re professionals, but for everyone else that’s not possible. 

There’s been times where I was in a submission and I had to scream to get out. All it takes is not tapping quick enough to keep you off the mats for months not being able to train, compete, do seminars, etc. 

If you take anything away from this post I hope it’s that there’s nothing wrong with tapping out. It saves your body, the body you’re going to have for a long time.

It’s okay to tap out. I’ve tapped out training for the 2019 ADCC. I tapped out so many times in training it was partly embarrassing but it was okay. I think it’s important to let that go. Just let it go. Just like a drop of water, beading off your skin. Just let it go.

It’s better to be able to train and live. Live to fight another day than to go out on your shield. I actually have a rule that I live by that the only time I won’t tap out is if it’s the final of the world championship and there’s only like five seconds left. And I’m already up on points and I know got it in the bag. 

So guys be safe out there. Tap out when you need to and keep training.

What is a good mindset for competing in Jiu Jitsu?

Competing is tough. It’s not easy. I think I’ve done everything from being self-deprecating to being like, man, I can do it. 

I think it’s tough preparing yourself before your matches. I’ve touched on knowledge gaps before in previous posts but it’s always great to touch on this topic since there are new students joining Jiu Jitsu academies all over the world every day. The best preparation in my opinion is to make sure that you understand your positions as well as you can. That means having a deep understanding of your strong guard and passing techniques and knowing your attacks. As well as studying your week positions. 

I recently competed and a big sticking point for me was passing the reverse De la Riva and stopping my opponents ability to invert. I had a few options but didn’t have them down enough to shut do my skilled opponent. 

So that means lots of positional sparring from the reverse De La Riva guard when I get back home. Putting myself in it and really dialing down my passing so that I will be ready the next time around. 

Preparation in your techniques is important but also mentally preparing yourself for the upcoming competition is key. 

What has helped me at all levels of competition is going into the event with out any expectations because we can’t control if we win or not. 

We can control our effort, but we can’t control if we get first place or second place. That’s another reason why competing is so tough. You can put in a ton of work and it still not pay off on that day and it’s okay. It’s not easy but you will survive this. 

There’s been many times when I hating the training leading up to a competition. 

It’s normal to ask yourself, “Why am I fucking doing this shit?” Or , “Why did I sign up for this tournament?”. 

I do Jiu Jitsu as a vocation so I know the average person training has had similar thoughts cross their mind. 

Enjoy the experience 

I remember when I did the ADCC trials. I was very calm and I wasn’t thinking the whole day. I let myself enjoy the experience and I was able to perform better than I ever did because I didn’t have expectations. 

I didn’t think about winning or losing. I just wanted to do my best.

Everyone’s mentality is different. 

But I think universally it helps to stay positive. Don’t let negative thoughts affect you. Don’t let someone telling you about the other competitor distract you or try to change up your techniques or strategies last second. Don’t let anything get to you. I think it goes a long way. If you feel any negative thoughts, kill them immediately with positivity and rational thought. When you think you won’t perform. Remember all the hard work and sacrifice that you put in to make it to this point. 

Everyone’s nervous 

One thing that really helps me is realizing that everyone’s nervous. I think that’s something we don’t all talk about. Even the best guys in the world like Lucas Lepri and Marcelo Garcia, they’re nervous too even though they’re really great. However, I have noticed that they have a very strong belief in themselves. Like they just know — they can’t control their opponent — but they know intrinsically that their technique is really good and that they trained really hard.

I think you have to have that kind of mentality if you want to move forward in competing as well as with any challenges that you will have to face in life.  

The progression of suckage

Jiu jitsu is hard and you will suck for a long time. There I said it 😆. 

I’m serious, Jiu Jitsu is a hard art form  to pick up. Because it has lots of weird movements that will take your body time to adjust too as well as just the over all skill set you will need to become proficient in before you can even have an idea of what you’re doing.  

In the beginning, you can kind of brute force your way through training. But that’s a quick way to getting injured or burning out. 

I like to look at training very much like how you would teach mathematics to students. 

Starting as a little kid you learn how to count. You learn the numbers. 

You have no idea what they mean. 

So when some one asks you how many toys you have you might know the numbers by name but you haven’t quite connected the idea of the number with the corresponding quantity. 

All this to say that it takes times to put into practice even the simplest of concepts. 

But you have to get these simple concepts down before you can do more complex steps. 

Just like how you have to learn to count before you can start to add and subtract. 

Once you have a strong foundation in the basics then you can move up into higher levels. 

The same thing in Jiu Jitsu. You move up a skill level only to find that you have some weakness that you need to work on or that your skill is not meeting the proficiency of others at your skill or belt rank. 

When that happens, a lot of students focus what they’re bad at. They focus only on the fact that they suck in comparison to their peer group.  But I can tell you as an instructor with 10+ years of experience that everyone does something really well. It’s just a matter of finding that something. 

If you have a good instructor then they may be able to point that out to you or to at least keep you motivated until you find that certain something that you are great at. 

If you only focus on what you’re bad at or what you suck at like the poster above. Your mindset is way to negative to make progress. 

Instead focus on what you do right and from that figure out what you do well. 

It could be a certain move that you are able to hit consistently or maybe your defense is so good that it gives higher belts a hard time. 

Keep your mind on the positives and I’m sure it will payoff throughout the entirety of your Jiu Jitsu and life.