EGO – perhaps man’s greatest gift and his greatest curse. It drives men to unbelievable heights and at the same time has the power to blind us to the obvious. The art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is especially challenging to the ego. Why? The goal of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is to submit your opponent, to dominate him, to make him quit. There are no, “I would have done this or that”, there is the submission, you tap, you got caught. There is a definitive end. That is hard for many people to deal with. They view it as a loss and an attack on their self-esteem. No one wants to feel worse about themselves.
The ego can also make practitioners hold out way longer when caught in a submission then they should. This has to be the biggest cause for injury in the art. The mentality “I held out, I didn’t get tapped, I won”, is a mistake, especially if your body takes damage and you are out of training for a week, a month or longer. The battle is “won”, but the war is lost.
If you’ve stop reading by now, great, because I’m about to share with you the secret to getting great at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the less of you who know it, the less competition I and my students have. My students know the secret, I share it with them every class, because I want them to be the best, I want to train with the best. Here it is, a simple formula-
EGO = NO GO
What does this mean? If you have an ego about getting tapped, you’re going to find excuses not to go with guys who do tap you and challenge you. It’s going to spread and you’re going to try to only go with the guys you know you can beat. Worst case scenario – you stop training altogether for fear of getting tapped! Hence EGO = NO GO! You’ve just lost out on something very special.
I may be bias, but I believe Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the greatest Martial Art, it is a way of life and a way of understanding and dealing with everything the world has to offer. And to lose all that because of our ego? You’ve cursed yourself if you let this happen. Tapping and getting caught is how we learn, it’s how our own expression of the art grows. My life has never taken a turn for the worse, because I was tapped. Just the opposite – I learned and my art grew.
Keep your ego in check. Remember why you are training…to learn. If your only goal at the dojo is to “win”, you are hurting yourself, stunting your growth. Train and learn in practice, this will lead to the win when it really matters – the street or competition. Let your ego take you to new heights in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, not hold you back. Every time you’re tapped be thankful, you just learned something and that’s what’s the Dojo is for – learning. See you on the mat.
Len Sonia is Head Instructor of Dojo 1 MMA Academy, Marcy, NY. He has been involved with the Martail Arts since age 8 and has studied Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since 1995. Looking for more information about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Dojo 1 or Len Sonia visit www.dojo1mma.com .