Friday, February 17, 2012

Ego and Jiu Jitsu


I am going to be reprinting some old classic entries from my previous blog called The Angry Grappler. It will chronicle the evolution in my understanding of martial arts.
17 December 2008 @ 11:04 pm

A lot of academies have mat rules, "leave your ego at the door." You hear it all the time in BJJ. Have no ego. My ego gets in the way. No ego no politics. But the thing is it's very hard!

Because it's not a switch that you can turn off. It's something you have to try to accomplish every day. And it's hard! Because jiu jitsu is a sport, competitive, and it has winners and losers. That makes it hard not to care, even a little.

I told myself since white belt, that I won't care if I get tapped or not. And I change my mind as soon as I get tapped! Nothing slows down your learning curve than ego. And it seems like the lower belts have more pride than some of the higher belts. On average people stay in blue belt longer than any other belt because of ego. I think it's like being the sophomore.

I see guys who seem like they don't care at all about getting tapped. And every day it gets harder and harder to tap them. I envy their ability to tap, I really do. It's something I still struggle with. Playing, flowing, and tapping.

If I can just flop around and not care about getting tapped, just consider it a reset button and work on the moves I need to work on, I think that's more of a scientific empirical approach.

Let's say I suck at basing in someone's guard. If I always bail out of on because I keep getting tapped in their guard, how will I build my sea legs?

It's a vicious cycle, the body gives out, makes your mind give up, and that breaks your spirit. Oh no you tap. Your spirit breaks and your body never gets stronger, mind makes you give up, breaks spirit, repeat, recycle.

And then you want revenge and want to return the favor which leads you to learn nothing. And any day where you learn absolutely nothing in class is a worthless day.

Why take anything personal?

I roll with lower belts and sometimes I think to myself man I should just tap, instead for whatever reason I somehow escape. Which isn't always bad cuz you don't want to make quit tapping a habit. But then again I think, man who cares. I learned not to make that mistake that got me caught, so tap and don't do it next time.

Even still though. My first year in HBJJ. As a white belt then blue. I don't know how many times I got tapped. I tried not to care. And some days were harder than other days. Somehow the worst ones to get over was when it was my own dumb mistake! Somehow I took those more personal and blamed everything else but myself when the only reason I am mad over it IS cuz it's my own fault. But the next day I made myself not care again and I chugged along and somewhere in the 2nd year I became really hard to tap.

I am confident about my jiu jitsu and knowledge, but I really believe my rolling style tries to be ego-less meaning, doesn't force things, flops around, doesn't rely on speed and when I am for real caught I will tap quickly. I will never spaz or seek to even tap you or get revenge, if it happens it happens, and that's when it happens the most.

When I roll with our black belts, they aren't trying to tap me, they are just trying to play their jiu jitsu and me tapping is just a result of them playing their jiu jitsu well.

Ego rhymes with emo, and having ego on the mat will surely have you leave the mat emo...
About the Author:

Sam Y. is a Master Personal Trainer, Certified Nutritionist, Coach, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Corrective Enhancement Specialist, Yoga and Pilates instructor, and holds multiple certifications. He is also an avid Martial Artist, training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing, and MMA. He is also the author of the popular fitness blog All Out Effort as well as the popular martial arts blog Inner BJJ. You can find him in the Los Angeles area personal training his clients, or at home annoying his wife, or on Facebook at his personal fitness page.

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