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7 Ways to Fail in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

7 Ways to Fail in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

We spend a great amount of our time and energy longing to become great at Jiu-jitsu. There is no perfect formula for everyone and we must all balance our unique physical abilities and experiences with who we are as individuals and our personalities. Knowing this is often not enough to progress at the rate we desire and even those of us with the best attitudes and intentions can fall short. In this blog I’d like to reverse engineer this martial arts dilemma and talk about how to fail in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Perhaps by identifying what hinders progress we can become more aware on what NOT to do. Below is a list of 7 ways to fail in BJJ:

  1. Blame outside circumstances for our lack of growth
  2. Lie to yourself and to others
  3. Rely solely on other people to give you what you need to progress
  4. Take any and all blessings and talents for granted
  5. Take the easy route and avoid hard work
  6. Believe that you have learned all that you need to learn
  7. Accept the unfairness of where you are as your destiny

Wow, that was hard to write. But maybe the message hits home in a unique way that will be better remembered. Now that we’ve identified 7 tried and true ways to fail in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, let’s explore 7 alternative choices that might bring about a more complete martial artist:

  1. Accept responsibility for where you are as a student and where you go moving forward
  2. Be impeccably honest with yourself and others
  3. Acquire the skills needed to gain the improvement that you seek
  4. Practice and express gratitude often
  5. Work harder than you ever thought possible
  6. Keep an open mind and learn new things every day
  7. Create your own destiny by applying yourself and working daily toward a better future

While the ladder list may sound more familiar to you, my goal here is that the contrast between the two will give you a different perspective as to how these ideas can help you. Instead of simply recognizing the truth of the positive list, a better task might be to ask yourself how often you are guilty of items from the first list. We all are at times and this can be a harder pill to swallow. But if we can manage to face our shortcomings, we can move forward and get back to the task of becoming the best Jiu-jitsu black belt we can!


Professor Travis Tooke