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Old 05-09-2008, 12:02 PM   #1
Anton Emery
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Default Dealing with the Ego

Thought i would see if i could get some discussion going on this. Even though i have been training BJJ for a few years i still find that i deal with my ego alot. Not so much that i stomp around the mat and get mad when i lose, or that i try to slam my way out of subs. I guess i just get down on myself when i get tapped by someone who has alot less experience than me or that i feel i should able to beat. I look at it as a reflection on my lack of skill.

I've been at Straight Blast Gym in Portland OR about a year and a half. I got my blue belt after 8 months there. I had several years experience before that training alot of no-gi in Tallahassee Florida. There wasn't a black belt in town, just a bunch of guys who would get together and train, a few of them had blue belts from other instructors in the state. It was not bad training by a long shot, but training at SBG has helped my technique alot. I am not the biggest guy a 5'10" 160lbs, but i feel my conditioning is good and i dont get overpowered by guys my same size.

The other day i was rolling with someone in class, bigger guy, has not been there that long, but just super strong and aggressive. I went for a takedown, he sprawled, and ended up getting in the basic headlock position from top. This is one of the first positions we learn to escape from, and i kept trying to get out, but this guy had monster strength. Then he trapped my arm between his legs for the kimura/armbar. There was not much i could do.

Its frustarating, because i am more technical than him, and i knew how to get out and what to do, i just could not do it. I guess sometimes strength overcomes technique.

My wife trains too and talking to her about it she says not to compare myself to other people, its about comparing how i performed in the past to how i perform now. Its just tough, especially in a sport like BJJ, where your goal is to submit the other person, so obviously he becomes a basis for comparison.

I dont ever see myself quitting i just need to learn to see it all as part of the journey of improving, so i dont get frustrated after being tapped by less technical, though perhaps bigger and stronger opponents.


Anton
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:40 PM   #2
Mike ODonnell
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Even the best athletes lose. Once you can enjoy what you do...and not be focused so much on the outcome that has or has not happened....your overall performance will probably increase and you will do better and perhaps win more in the process. Focus only on what you need to do in the present moment where the ego can not exist...as it is too caught up in the past and future.

After every match...smile...go shake your opponents hand...tell him nice job...and know you gave it your best. Then just move on.....
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:11 PM   #3
Derek Simonds
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If nothing else putting it out there in writing helps to deal with it.

We all have ego and it is hard sometimes to deal with the simple things. Your wife is right and so are you it is a journey. There are a couple of guys on here with a lot darker belts than mine so I hope they chime in.

When I first started training it would bother me when I got subbed and I would try and use my strength to get out of them. Now if someone catches me and they do I will tap and try to learn from it. Someone told me or I read that every time you get tapped you should ask the person to show you how they did it. I also try to bring my attitude of gratitude to the mat and tell people upfront that I appreciate them training with me.

There is one guy at our academy who weighs around 260 and when we roll no-gi if I let him get away from me he just absolutely dominates me. He can basically sub me at will. I still roll with him whenever we are there together and I look at it as a challenge.
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:56 PM   #4
Dave Paton
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Well, sometimes sports just isn't "fair". And sometimes brute strength beats out technique. Do the best with what tools you have.
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Old 05-09-2008, 05:19 PM   #5
Allen Yeh
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This isn't meant as being a dick or anything.

Get stronger.

I actually have been in the position of being the less technical but stronger person in wrestling and I used to be able to dominate the other guys that were faster, more knowledgable and more experienced simply because I was much much stronger and bigger than most of the other guys in the wrestling club. Only when I was pitted against people that were about my strength did their skills shine through and I'd be wrapped up in a pretzel very quickly. It wasn't even just a weight thing because there were 2 guys that were my weight but bodyfat wise at least 10% more, so pound for pound I was stronger.
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Old 05-09-2008, 08:15 PM   #6
Mark Joseph Limbaga
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I had a similar experience yesterday.

I was rolling with a teammate that I believe I am more skilled compared to him, yet he outweighed me by around 25 pounds. I was trying an open guard sweep but couldn't pull it off on him and no matter how much I turned to my side in half guard, I always get flattened out. I also got tapped by a simple forearm choke, which I could normally defend.

Its true, sometimes if a guy is just stronger than you he can outmuscle you, the only thing left to do is to outthink the person or beat him to a move by 2 steps.

But, as one of my teammates said, if you wanna get better, its always good that you spar with guys who are very strong, and then mix it up with guys who are really technical. that way, you learn to adjust against different opponents
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Old 05-10-2008, 09:32 PM   #7
Gant Grimes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen Yeh View Post
This isn't meant as being a dick or anything.

Get stronger.

I actually have been in the position of being the less technical but stronger person in wrestling and I used to be able to dominate the other guys that were faster, more knowledgable and more experienced simply because I was much much stronger and bigger than most of the other guys in the wrestling club. Only when I was pitted against people that were about my strength did their skills shine through and I'd be wrapped up in a pretzel very quickly. It wasn't even just a weight thing because there were 2 guys that were my weight but bodyfat wise at least 10% more, so pound for pound I was stronger.
Second.

I did a sidebar article in the CFJ several months ago about this ("Strength on the Mat," I believe). If you're a BJJ blue belt, your technique is pretty squared away. Yes, your technique can improve, but it will take a longer time to make smaller improvements at this stage. On the other hand, it sounds like there are some things you can do about your strength in short order.

As far as ego, look at it this way: this guy has shown you a way that you can be defeated. Now you are able to shore up this weakness so that it may not be exploited again. By beating you, he shared important knowledge with you.
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:11 AM   #8
Michael Miller
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Look at this as a gift, not as a blow to who you are, or what you do...it really has nothing to do with eaither. Empty your cup, stay open to experiences like these, they really are the ones that matter the most. This will help you not to become stagnant in your developement...if you never got tapped, choked out etc you would never learn anything of value.

I cannot tell you how many times i have seen someone who is inexperienced do well against a more experienced martial artist...that includes guys off the street that virtually know nothing. Theoretically yes, a more experienced person should be able to do well against someone not as seasoned, but sparring, fighting, combat etc are so alive, there are really never any guarantee's.

Let go of all those pre concieved notions, then you will actually be free to enjoy the journey.
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Old 05-11-2008, 08:55 AM   #9
Yael Grauer
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That happens to me a lot a lot and it is super frustrating. I try not to see it as a reflection on my skill level. If my skill and techniques work on people around my size but don't work on the big guys, I just keep working it as conditioning for next time. I guess my only consolation is knowing what they're doing won't work on many other people... I also try to vary up who I roll with so it doesn't happen constantly... almost everyone at my gym is bigger than me but I try to find more technical guys when I can because it's more fun and they use way less strength (even if they are bigger).

I think the ego is always going to be there but just being aware of it helps.
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Old 05-11-2008, 01:32 PM   #10
Anton Emery
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gant Grimes View Post
Second.

I did a sidebar article in the CFJ several months ago about this ("Strength on the Mat," I believe). If you're a BJJ blue belt, your technique is pretty squared away. Yes, your technique can improve, but it will take a longer time to make smaller improvements at this stage. On the other hand, it sounds like there are some things you can do about your strength in short order.

As far as ego, look at it this way: this guy has shown you a way that you can be defeated. Now you are able to shore up this weakness so that it may not be exploited again. By beating you, he shared important knowledge with you.
Gant,

Yea, i read your article not to long ago for the first time. That and Mark Rippetoe's main article Strong Enough were good stuff. It gave me alot to think about.

So i guess i need to figure out where to improve my strength. I can deadlift double bodyweight, do a muscle up, i think standing overhead press 135lbs or so. Havn't done much squatting lately so i am not sure what my max is on that. I train at CF Portland, so my workouts are whatever is planned for that class. I know those lifts are not overly big but i think they represent a decent baseline of strength. Perhaps i need to do more odd object or strongman style training so it transfers more easily to grappling. Its not all the time i get straight up overpowered, but when it does its frustarating.

thanks for the replies and advice everyone. I am going to try hard to have a better attitude about it.

Anton
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