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Having a healthy, strong mindset on the mat is far easier said than done. Whether you’re competing in your first local tournament or hopping onto the solid white mats at the ADCC World Championship, your mind is guaranteed to be racing. You would think that in a combat sport such as BJJ, characteristics such as strength, speed, and agility would be the most beneficial qualities to have. While these attributes are necessary to excel in the sport, having the ability to take control of your thoughts is extremely important when competing in the sport of Jiu Jitsu.
The Power of the Mind: How a Strong Mindset Can Take Your BJJ to the Next Level
More than half the battle of Jiu-Jitsu is in your head. Developing a strong mindset can cause exponential growth in your technique and overall game. Being confident can help commit to submission attempts, and being gritty can help you escape those uncomfortable positions and win those scraps that could go either way. Being calm and focused during a match could allow you to keep your cool and not gas out as fast. All of the attributes of a strong mind can bring your Jiu-Jitsu to the next level.
Overcoming Challenges on the Mat: Mental Toughness in BJJ
Just like any other sport in the world, Jiu-Jitsu calls for physical, emotional, and mental toughness. Many people quit sports such as Bjj because they are too challenging. The truth is, combat sports are some of the hardest sports on the planet. Along your Jiu-jitsu journey, you may feel physically and mentally exhausted. Not only that, but losses can diminish your motivation and make it difficult to find the discipline to continue training and competing. So how do you get past these difficulties? By strengthening your mind. Here are some tips on increasing your mental toughness.
- Push Past Your Comfort Zone: Getting out of your comfort zone is the key to growth in any part of life. While this can be difficult for many, pushing past the point you believe you are capable of is a surefire way of strengthening your mind. When participating in actions that push you out of your comfort zone you prove to yourself what incredible things you’re capable of. In the case of Jiu-Jitsu, strengthening your mindset can improve confidence on the mats which is an incredible attribute to have while competing.
- Practice Gratitude: While practicing gratitude may not seem like it would correlate to mental toughness, this action can be very beneficial when trying to increase the strength of your mind. Practicing gratitude allows you to ponder on what you are thankful for. The realization of how much we have is extremely humbling. For many, this practice can increase motivation and build up mental health. A healthier mind is a stronger mind.
- Endure the hard times: No matter who you are or what you do, life will always throw difficulties your way. Instead of resorting to unhealthy vices to endure the pain that life sends, turn the difficulty into strength. Use the pain of the experience to fuel your motivation and determination. There are always going to be a challenge to overcome. Being able to turn those bad experiences into fuel is an attribute that will strengthen your mind swiftly.
Mindset Mistakes to Avoid: Common Mental Traps in BJJ and How to Overcome Them
The journey of Jiu-Jitsu is filled with many highs and lows. Wins, losses, victories, and defeats. At times you could feel on top of the world, then a few days later, you could be down in the dirt. While it is difficult, it is important to maintain control of your mind during these hard times. Here are a few thoughts and mindset mistakes to avoid.
Lack of confidence:
A lack of confidence is one of the worst feelings you can have before a tournament. The feeling of not being prepared leaves you already beaten mentally. In many cases, this leads to your loss in reality as well. So how can you feel more confident when stepping onto the mats?
- Train hard during practice
- Focus on the progress you have been making
- Limit your Bracket Watching (Do not obsess about who you are grappling)
- Keep your diet clean and hydrate well
Overcoming plateaus can be a difficult process but it is ultimately something that you will face when you start to train BJJ. They happen to everyone and how you react it happens will paint a picture of where you are mentally. Overcoming this is a must. Just like in life, you will face these moments of lax or mundane, you need to continue moving forward no matter how it feels in the moment. The feeling of the absence of progress can be crippling and extremely demotivating. Here are a few tips that may help you out.
- Compete more often. The competition gives you the spark you need.
- Cross-train other martial arts. Judo, Wrestling, or even switching it up with your weightlifting routine can help a lot when getting yourself out of a funk.
- Get motivated! Find out your why and stick with a positive story to tell yourself.
- Try new techniques that push you outside of your comfort zone
Giving your opponent too much respect:
In the sport of Jiu-Jitsu, we always show our respect to our opponent. This is a given. Competitors make sure to bow and shake hands before and after a match.
With all of this in mind, you should never feel as if your opponent has the right to beat you. You train and compete to win. Many practitioners go into tournaments with a losing mindset because they checked their opponents’ profiles and saw a bunch of titles and wins at different competitions. Going in with a losing mindset is one of the easiest ways to get pummeled into the mat. As previously stated, staying confident in your skills and avoiding bracket-watching excessively are both great ways to deal with these mental mistakes.
All in all, the most beneficial and important trait you can possess for any aspect of life is a strong mindset. Having the ability to be beaten down and get right back up is a true advantage in the world of combat sports. Constantly push past your comfort zone and remember to stay confident and in control of your thoughts and feelings. Having a solid mental state will put you miles ahead of your competition.