One of the Biggest Misconceptions In The Game…

Since I started 40 Plus BJJ Success I’ve had many
people write me about their training experiences,
trials and challenges.

One of the most common themes I hear about is
dealing with the hyper aggressive BJJ “jocks.” It
goes beyond the fact that these guys seem to want
to try and kill you on the mat…

Very often, the harder part to deal with are the
feelings of being a kind of second-class citizen
in the eyes of the tough athletes on the mat. Even
though you’re at a different place in your life,
and your goals may be different than theirs, they
seem to gauge your worth in terms of how close you
are to their own mindset with respect to training.

It’s high school all over again.

This is a conversation I’ve had quite a few times
not only with students (and definitely my staff),
but with other instructors and coaches as well.

But whether you’re a student or an instructor,
unless you train exclusively with a competition
team, this is important to recognize:

Be careful not to impose your motivations for
training on others!

I wish I could say this was just a phenomenon
limited to the young guys. Unfortunately I’ve seen
it even in advanced students and instructors in
their 40s.

It can start as early as white belt but typically
it’s a case of either a reflection of the
instructor’s mindset, or a case of “purple
belt-itis” when it comes to students.

(A solid purple belt is always dangerous and has
the ability to give upper belts game, even tap them
sometimes, so when you combine that with a jock
mentality you get something like the post
pubescent teenager who starts to get “man strength”
and strong opinions but lacks the emotional
maturity or life experience to realize how much
he still doesn’t know).

A bunch of bad things happen with this dynamic…

• Social cliques are formed and the less competitive
students are not taken seriously or valued as
peers (students judging and marginalizing other
• Instructors become apathetic or alienating toward
their students (instructors judging and
marginalizing students).
• Competitive students lose respect for instructors
who are not also present competitors (students
judging and marginalizing instructors).

40 plus bjj
Now here’s the interesting thing about all of this
– which just shows the complete lack of
perspective involved and how unnecessary it all
is…. The very same person (student or coach) who
at one point is on a mission to compete, train
like a madman, be a champion, etc. and treats
anyone who isn’t on that same trip like loser may
almost inevitably will be the same person who at
another point, past or future, is rationalizing all
the reasons why they can’t be focused on competing
or training as much as everyone else.

And don’t get me wrong. If you ARE on a
competition team, should be training hard to win,
period. Anything less than that and you’re selling
yourself and your teammates short. And as a coach,
if you see a student who is not falling behind in
effort or motivation, it may just be that you need to
give them a pep talk, or even a Braveheart
speech, to get them off their butts! But that’s
not what I’m talking about.

Motivation and inspiration are great. And
competition is great. But it is a myth that the
fighter/competitor is necessarily more
well-adjusted because part of competing involves
putting one’s ego on the line.

When you boil it down, people tend to approach
competition from one of two primary motivations.
And they are very different:

The first is for sincere growth and personal
development; perseverance and focusing on
improving oneself and performing one’s best in
order to accomplish a worthy goal.

The other is to fuel and bolster one’s ego… to
identify with the image of the champion they want
to be for narcissistic purposes.

Coaches Be Like...
And make no mistake, number two will always
pretend and talk like number one. But the
difference is in attitude and mindset.

Why is this so important?

Because as much as we focus on the training, the
physical technique, and the individual psychology,
sometimes we also have to recognize the critical
importance of the culture we’re a part of.

As a speaker I heard said recently, when a fish in
your aquarium is ill, do you treat the fish? No…
you treat the water.

So: motivate others, but be sure not to confuse
your reasons and ambitions for training with
theirs. And always remember that wherever your
mindset with respect to training is at right now,
it is almost sure to change.

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