The Myth Of Control. Curing BJJ depression!

Uncategorized Nov 18, 2016

BJJ can be a transformative tool for the lives of its students. I and countless others have found their negative emotions and thinking habits replaced by positive, inspiring ones. However, with this perk, there also comes a quirk. The quirk is that we tend to recreate our depression and anxiety on the mats! Let me explain.... If you have ever been 'down' along with your Jiu Jitsu journey, it is likely because you were tapped too often, your new techniques aren't working out, everybody escapes your mount, etc, etc.

However, we need to realise that all of these things are NORMAL. In Autumn, deciduous trees have their leaves change colour and fall off. Do you or the tree worry and get depressed? NO! It is part of the natural cycle of things in a world that is constantly changing and never truly under our control.

So next time you get unhappy with your Jiu Jitsu, perhaps ask if you are just unhappy because things didn't go YOUR WAY or turned out differently than your 'ideal plans'. Now there is nothing wrong with making plans and in fact, I recommend doing this. But in a sport where your partner has opposite goals than you, we need to stay flexible about both the process and outcomes of our Jiu Jitsu. Tapping or failing on the mat is not good or bad unless you tell yourself it is. One thing my Professor John Will taught me was the saying "Tapping is learning".

For those who want to apply this to their BJJ, try this. Next time you achieve side control position with an underhook, try easing up on your pressure and allow them to turn towards you which is what they are fighting for anyway. Then dive for the far armbar or move to a front control kimura. This is much easier than trying to pin them sometimes and often leads to great submissions.

While I would have liked to write about 2,000 more words on this topic, I hope this might still spur some thoughts in those reading this about how much of their suffering on the mats comes from the mental constructs of control we place on events that happen in our lives.

So next time something 'bad' happens on the mat or elsewhere, try not to take it personally and look for the opportunities and lessons that this 'bad' event has given you. I just wish I had learnt this lesson long before now!


Coach Tom

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