Friday, June 15, 2012

Goal Setting

In 2003 an unknown named Eddie Bravo entered the ADCC for the first time. He knew going into it that if he had won his first fight, he would be facing Royler Gracie, a legend in the sport. He was already planning that match in his head. What a feat that would be to beat Royler Gracie. To say you beat a Gracie...

In 2003 an even lesser known grappler named Marcelo Garcia somehow managed to get into the ADCC. He didn't qualify but due to Dennis Hallman pulling out, he got to take his place. What a feat, just to get into the ADCC...

Eddie Bravo won his first fight and he was in there with Royler just as he had imagined. Their match began and Eddie was down on points and the points were accumulating against him. He was just trying to survive and not get finished. But Eddie played this match over and over in his head and he had a goal, to beat Royler. Royler was having fun and underestimated Eddie, as he was so ahead on points. There was a moment, Eddie recovered his guard and had control of Royler's arms. Royler tried to pull out and Eddie seized the moment to wrap him up in a triangle choke to get the finish. He had done it. He beat a Gracie! He got up and celebrated as if he had won the whole thing. But he still had 2 more fights to win the whole tournament.

In the semi-finals with Leo Viera, Eddie lost 14-0. It would have been even more points but under ADCC rules the first half of the match has no points.

Eddie in later interviews said he wanted to win that match with Royler so badly, he blew all his energy and had a huge adrenaline dump. He was emotionally exhausted and had nothing left for his next match. In his mind he had already accomplished his goal.

He had to forfeit his next match for bronze. He has never competed again.

Marcelo also won his first match. He now had Renzo Gracie, possibly a bigger legend because of his MMA career and because of Renzo Gracie Academy in NY that was producing top stars of MMA at the time. He was also a Gracie. Marcelo went into the match calm, started to attack and kept Renzo on the defensive the whole match. It was much like Royler and Eddie except there was no come from behind victory. Renzo had to use all his experience just to not get submitted. The unknown underdog dominated the Gracie from start to finish.

Now he had his semi-final match With Shaolin Ribeiro, the defending champion of his division. Marcelo chokes him unconscious in less than 20 seconds.

Marcelo then went on to beat Otto Olsen to win the ADCC. Then Marcelo entered the Absolute division beating Mike Van Arsdale. Marcelo is now a multiple time ADCC champion and a legend in the tournament and a legend in BJJ himself. But that wasn't enough.

Today my professor Rubens Charles "Cobrinha" shared a story about his first time at the World Championship finals for black belt against Marcio Feitosa. He said people congratulated him just for getting to the finals, that he should be happy just to be there. But to Cobrinha just being there wasn't enough, getting to the semi-finals or finals wasn't enough. No one was expecting him to win and as a fan of BJJ back then, even I didn't expect this unknown Cobra to win as I was a fan of Feitosa. Cobrinha won, and kept winning and racking up even more World Titles. It was the start of his run as champion and his first chance to show he was one of the best. But that wasn't enough...

I am reminded of what Ted Turner, a billionaire and philanthropist once said, "Set your goals so high that you can't achieve them." It was something his father told him. If you set any attainable goal, you will reach it, then you will settle. The only way to be truly successful is to set your sights so high it is unattainable. That is the mark of a true winner.

Why am I quoting a billionaire in a BJJ blog? Why am I using BJJ as an analogy for success? Both are about goal setting. One set an attainable goal and reached it and settled. One seems to never settle with his achievements and keeps striving to achieve even more and in doing so has set his mark as one of the best ever.

I learn a lot from BJJ but 90% of it I apply off the mats. It's not about the belts as Professor Cobrinha puts it. And it's not. It's about the goals.

Life is about your goals.

1 comment:

  1. I think that setting goals too high too soon can be a problem as well in terms of the mental aspect of doing the day-to-day grind. It's like long distance runners always suggest: don't think about how many miles are left, just focus on one step at a time or getting through the next short stretch. Otherwise the immensity of the goal may cause more stress than motivation. Great blog, I'm a big fan.



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