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Ego training

Get comfortable being uncomfortable

Find the bad spots


When practicing jiu jitsu our egos can take a huge grip over us.

It exerts it’s power over us in ways we don’t even know or realise sometimes when it comes to our training.

Now having an ego can be said to be a positive thing in a competitive athlete, and in some regards I would agree. The desire and need to push farther and compete harder and prove something can be instrumental in an athletes success in the cage, on the mats, on the field or wherever the competition lays.

The desire to be the best and constantly improve absolutely provides the much needed emphasis on progression in the athletes endeavour, the thought of competition driving to push more and perform better.

However, in our training (and in our lives) it can absolutely be at a detriment to allow the ego space in our thoughts.

How many times have you seen it on the mat, the greatest in the gym upset or shocked when they get submitted by someone they feel they shouldn’t.

Threatened by a lesser level partner they actively begin to avoid training with them or risk being submitted, causing their ego to go in to overdrive.

Instead of taking the huge opportunity to grow and get better, the ego manages to weave its web and associate the tap in training with winning and also with their identity.

If they are to get submitted by someone of a ‘lesser’ ability or level their whole world would collapse. Their identity would take a hit.

Instead of embracing the challenge to be better they cower from it as their ego tries to mask reason upon reason to not do it. They know they should be Placing themselves in situations that make them uncomfortable so that they can become accustomed to the adversity to then go past and beyond it when they undoubtedly come across it in active competition.

Tapping in the gym isn’t losing.

It’s learning. It’s extremely important to find your mistakes in the place you feel safe with partners you feel safe with.

That doesn’t mean you don’t go hard, of course, if you’re a competitor you still go hard, just sensible. But your ego will only protect itself, not you and it won’t be helping you achieve your dreams and goals when it’s trying to save itself.

So get your partner to get you in these threatening positions, start under someone’s side control. Let them have your back. See how you get caught. Get caught again. Learn how they did it.

Back when I was an active fighter and competitor, I first met my Brazilian jiu jitsu coach and we rolled together back and forth for a long time.

It was a great session and he eventually caught me with a head and arm choke. He caught me in a way I’d never seen and it was super tight. The other Brazilian members of the team were also sat around watching as we rolled, their English wasn’t the best, but it was certainly better than my Portuguese, as they hadn’t been over here very long but they were excited to see their master submit me with a choke.

“Again” I asked.

And we wrestled again. And again my coach caught me with the choke.

“Can we go again please?”

And I learned exactly what was being done to me.

The other guys found it strange. They were training with their ego but o was training with the mind of learning so I don’t get caught with it again.

It would’ve been easy for me to submit, then rest and leave it another day and I’m sure my ego would’ve preferred it at the time, but I learned an extremely valuable lesson that day close to twenty years ago. One I would implement many times and one I wish I’d implemented at other times too.

See, I’m not immune to my ego grabbing me some days, even now, in many facets of life. Giving talks, teaching lessons, writing, business, there’d plenty opportunity for ego to pop up and prevent growth, you just have to be mindful of spotting it.


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