Mindset Principles Explained
MUTUAL BENEFIT & RESPECT: Training in Jiu Jitsu is not a one-way street. it is important that we think of our teammates and training partners as ESSENTIAL to our development in this art. We gain more when we increase other’s skill sets. “Iron sharpens iron” is a BJJ motto that fits well with this mindset principle. As we train we should never forget that as our partners skills increase so do our own. We should never “use” our teammates solely for our own ends. They are not fresh meat to beat up and leave behind. If everyone had this selfish mindset progress would be stagnate and the dojo would be an ugly place to be. For the practitioners with more experience never forget what it was like to be brand new. This mindset reminds us that we MUST help raise the lower belts up. And in doing so we benefit because they will push us further. The goal of any BJJ teacher should be to have his students get so skilled as to constantly challenge him. Thus, with this cycle we evolve…together.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR TRAINING PARTNER: Cause no injury! Because we cannot learn BJJ on our own, we must take great care of our partners/teammates. We NEVER aim to injure anyone. So, we need to understand that “getting the tap” is never worth causing any injury to our partner. In some cases, there will be those who train that haven’t yet checked their egos and refuse to tap. This happens. When it does we have two options. Cause Injury and prove a point or let it go knowing within yourself that you had the submission. I insist you do the latter…let it go and hope that one day they will see the light and adopt the correct mindsets. If you injure your partner you are responsible even if they refuse to tap (barring any freak movement accidents that aren’t submission related).
STAY CALM: It is more impressive to be relaxed and have a calm expression on our face than an angry or strained scowl. A sure way to tell if someone is exerting way to much force/strength is by their facial expression. We should aim to look meditative while applying our Jiu Jitsu. When someone makes the comment, “you make it look so easy.” it is almost certainly due to a calm and serene facial expression. Defensively this mindset reminds us to never panic. Even in the face of death itself, stay clam. When we are calm we don’t miss opportunities to escape. When we freak out we get caught.
TAKE RISKS: A good way to not evolve is to stay in our comfort zone. Only doing techniques that we have good success with. Employing the same strategies over and over. Some avoid taking risks for fear of getting swept, submitted or their guards passed. Taking risks is a Big Picture mindset. We sacrifice short term success for long term development. We avoid playing butterfly guard because our guard gets passed too easily…so we stick with closed guard. Thus, we stay in our comfort zone and never develop into something more. We stagnate. Throw your fear of looking bad out the window. Who cares if you get swept or submitted. The goal is evolution of Jiu Jitsu, not appearing unbeatable. Those that brag that they rarely get swept or submitted are not taking enough risks. Remember this: Risk induces flow!
ACCEPT FAILURE GRACIOUSLY: Failure is a part of development. An unavoidable part! If you attempt technique and fail, you have just refined the technique. The next time it will not fail as bad…until it starts to work. Failure is automatically error-correcting. There is no avoiding messing up. It is delusional for someone to think they can learn a complex martial art like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu without error. If you attempt a sweep and it doesn’t work, don’t curse and pout. Be better than that.
KEEP AN EMPTY CUP: Basically, never think you know it all. This art is so deep that you can study it for a decade and just scratch the surface. When you solve one riddle in BJJ, two more pop up. Be receptive to new information. Be open to different interpretations of BJJ. Judge cautiously. Know-it-alls will be left far behind as the ones with the empty cups continue to evolve endlessly.
TAP, AND BE THANKFUL: Smile when you get swept. Laugh when you get submitted. If you are passed, swept or submitted be stoked by the fact that Jiu Jitsu works…even if its you its working on! Celebrate your partner’s victory. Those that tap readily from correctly applied technique will avoid injury AND learn. When you are on the receiving end of a submission (or guard pass, sweep, etc.) you also gain insight into that technique. A submission is two sides of the same coin. One giver, one receiver. Don’t be to proud to tap, and NEVER count how many times you’ve been submitted. Let it go…tapping is learning.
REPETITION/DRILL: Don’t waste mat time being idle. You have been given an opportunity to improve. Quite your mouth, work your techniques. In short, put in the work. Repetition is the mother of skill. We need to move our techniques from the conscious mind to the subconscious mind (ie: muscle memory). This is only done by drilling technique over and over. Don’t waste any opportunity to drill.
NO SHORTCUTS TO MASTERY: Never look for shortcuts, cheat codes or hidden techniques that will give you an edge up on your teammates. Instead. put in your 10,000 hours of work! Work on the basics! MAT TIME is the way. Avoid the need for instant gratification / results. Searching YouTube for secret-hidden-ninja techniques that will “Wow” your teammates is a waste of time and an ineffective way to progress. It is more impressive to use common Jiu Jitsu tools masterfully and effortlessly than it is to pull off Berimbolos. Trust the process, it works.