Showing posts in category: Mindset

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.  

Always assume that your opponent will be bigger, faster, and stronger than you

Bjj hulk

This is the old school way of thought in Jiu Jitsu that gets overlooked a lot now a days. 

And I think it’s both good and bad. 

Old school Jiu Jitsu, at least in America, was always centered around usefulness in a fight. 

Especially during a time when everyone thought that karate black belts needed to register their hands as deadly weapons and that the dim mak or death touch was real. 

—So what better way to promote Jiu Jitsu than to have it work in a fight?—

Which is exactly what the first UFC did and was designed to do.

To showcase the effectiveness of Jiu Jitsu in a fight. 

But it couldn’t have just been anyone that could fight. 

They needed someone not too big or too strong to properly represent Jiu Jitsu.

There were probably lots of other fighters that could have been chosen to represent Jiu Jitsu from the Gracie family alone. Someone like Rickson was considered one of the best to ever do Jiu Jitsu and MMA. 

However, I doubt that it would have had the same impact if he competed and won. 

They needed some one like Royce if the powers at be were going to sell Jiu Jitsu to the masses. 

He doesn’t look threatening at all. Just a normal guy. 

That’s probably the closest approximation to your average person. 

Not some big muscled dude. 

But the everyman Royce. 

Someone the average person could see themself in. 

The rest is history. 

So how does this all help you?

I think training so that you are prepared for somebody larger and stronger is only going to benefit you. 

1// It’s going to keep your technique true. Whenever I learn a new technique I always ask myself if this move will work on some one larger. 

Yes, okay good.

No, then I probably won’t invest too much time in the technique. 

This won’t always be the case. Of course, the deeper your skill in Jiu Jitsu becomes. Your moves tend to tailor to your opponents.

But when it comes to basic Jiu Jitsu. This is the truth.  

A great example of this is the head lock escape. 

Realistically, the only people that perform headlocks also tend to be the strongest lol. 

That means if your technique isn’t good a.k.a. your head lock escape isn’t up to par. Then you’re just not going to get out. 

2// It will push you to train with those partners that are bigger and stronger. Doubly so if they are faster. 

Big guys roll a lot different than those people smaller than you, or even those partners that are the same size. 

The big guy game tends to be a bit slower but with a lot more pressure and 100% less forgiving. 

There’s been times when I have sparred with training partners significantly larger than myself and if they were able to reach a good position on me. It was game over. 

Just their sheer mass alone means that your technique has to be on point if you are going to stand a chance. 

It’s not easy and can be very rough on your body training with the big boys. 

However, your confidence in knowing that you can go up against a larger opponent and not give up is priceless. 

You will learn that often technique and will power will make up a lot of the difference in size. 

Over training is real

Overtraining in Jiu Jitsu is a real serious condition that many instructors and students don’t talk about. 

I can’t name too many sports were the norm is be in a constant state of over training as much as the sport/art of Jiu Jitsu 

In fact, this ideal of needing to train twice a day or more has been blown out of proportion.  

Some of the best guys in the world may be able to follow this type of training regiment but they often only have to worry about training and not normal stuff like having to work and the elite guys will often taking extra substances that allow them to train this way. 

It took years of forcing myself to train multiple times a day to understand that I was in fact training too much. 

Focus on the quality of your training rather than just the quantity. 

For instance, now whenever I train. I never train just for trainings sake. I always go into training with a specific purpose of making progress on a position or my understanding of a technique. 

Progress becomes the measure of my training and not how much time I spent rolling and repeating the same movements over and over. 

When you first start training, the more mat time the better. You are always making skill gains whenever you show up because you are learning something new and integrating it right then. 

But as your skill rises, the law of diminishing returns rears it’s head and just showing up isn’t enough. 

Just rolling won’t be enough to grow your skills. 

Mindlessly grinding won’t yield results. 

Of course if you are prepping for a major tournament you need to push hard. 

Ramping up your training 8-12 weeks in advance of your tournanment pursuit. 

However, to maintain this year round with no off season is down right illogical and can actually hurt your athletic performance. 

There are some other reasons students tend to over train but I won’t delve to deep into them because this post is starting to get too preachy.

My advice is to listen to your body. 

If you’re constantly sore, always feel sick, losing weight, losing sleep, or overall not enjoying training. 

Take a day or two off. Hell, maybe even a week or two if you feel particularly run down. 

Renew your self and come back healthier, stronger, and more energized. 

Your training will be a lot better.