Check Your Ego at the Door….(don’t be a jerk!)

Larry Shealy // Uncategorized


August 24  

Don’t Be a Jerk

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What exactly is that much talked about ego in JIu-Jitsu? You’ll hear the phrase “leave your ego at the door” probably as many times as you will hear “Oss” in your garden variety Brazilian JIu-Jitsu academy. And, if you ask most people what it means, they’ll have no idea how to really explain it. Most likely, you’ll get an answer along the lines of “it means tapping and not caring about it, bro” or something similar. But that only touches upon the subject of ego in Jiu-=Jitsu, and the different types and forms it can take.

having an ego is not going to help you much in most aspects of life. However, ego is there for a reason. Moreover, there’s no way to get rid of it, so “leaving it at the door” is not really an option. For those that don’t take the phrase literally, things usually work out much better and easier in BJJ. those that think there’s no ego in Jiu-Jitsu should really reconsider their stance. Ego is always going to be present. the trick is not leaving it at the door – it is knowing the different types of ego, and recognizing them so that you can take them into account.

Why Is Ego So Important In BJJ?

The Types of Ego in Jiu-Jitsu: There’s More Than One

What Happens When BJJ And Egos Mix?

Closing Arguments

Why Is Ego So Important In BJJ?  

Ego is a part of human nature. it is a big thing in psychology and it does really play a massive role in our everyday lives. Normally, it has an impact on Jiu-Jitsu as well. that said, there’s no Brazilian Jiu-0Jitsu, or any martial art, or any sport, for that matter, if there’s no ego. So leaving ego out of it, even if it were possible, would actually get us nowehere in BJJ.

The thing with ego is that itis a double-edged sword. it can drive us to success and make us overcome obstacles when properly utilized. It can also give us a very unreal picture of ourselves and prevent us from achieving maximal potential. As you can see, there’s trickery afoot. Controlling our egos is not easy, particularly given that everyone has their own version (and strength) of it. However, embracing our ego is what will eventually make us good at Jiu-Jitsu. We need ego in Jiu-Jitsu as much as we need armbars and chokes.

Now, the aspect of squashing your ego, or at least not letting it guide you is essential as you start to grapple. jiu-Jitsu is unlike any other sport out there, and there’s always going to be someone better than you, no matter how good you are. Moreover, everyone loses in Jiu-Jitsu at a certain point, so there’s no way you can be unbeatable, or untouchable or anything of the sort. Realizing this early on will help you pout an all-important check on your ego, until such time as you need to turn towards it for a bit more motivation.

The Types of Ego in Jiu-Jitsu: There’s More Than One

You’ probably think of ego in Jiu-Jitsu as the pointless pursuit of never losing. That’s the easy way of lookign at things. For those that can’t actually stand the fact that they’ll get mauled by 140 lbs ladies, perhaps even lighter men, and people that look like the cast of the Big Bang theory rather than athletes, BJJ soon becomes something they don’t want to do. This is the first type of ego, or the beginner ego, and itis the best possible filter for douchebags ever! Those that manage to overcome their primordial ego of never losing, will get past the “initiation” point and can start enjoying the art. More or less.

The blue belt ego is a very different type of ego in Jiu-Jitsu. This is when you get selective. There’s still the mentality of “I’ll lose most exchanges” but suddenly, you’re not at the bottom of the food chain. In fact, the blue belt ego is one of the most dangerous out there, particularly in terms of white belts. God forbid a white belt does something to a blue, right? it will hurt even more than the first day when that purple belt girl submitted you 24 ties ina 5-minute roll. Another one to control if you’re ever to move forward in BJJ.

There’s also the “I’m never tapping to that” mindset. That’s ego too, and that’s exactly the ego that got Vinyn Magalhaees his leg broken. in fact, a lot of the fractures that have happened in BJJ competitions are down to this type of ego that “certain moves don’t work on you”. Evidence to the contrary means you should recognize this as apart fo your ego and deal with it.

Now we arrive at the most complicated type fo ego I’ve encountered so far. it comes after a certain time in the game and a good level of experience. It is when you have moves you’re known for, and people can’t escape them . or so you think. Every once in a while, someone you’ve been tapping with your D’arce will sneak out of t. This when this type of ego turns on and you “have to tap them out with that move” to prove how great you are. This can be one of the hardest egos to overcome in BJJ.

Last but not least, there’s the “I have to win” ego in JIu-jitsu. this is usually a mark of competitors, either those starting out or those that have been preparing for a tournament perhaps a bit too much. It is completely unrealistic but often spills out to rolls, making them seem more spazzy than they actually are. Not fun for anyone, and definitely not helpful when learning.

What Happens When BJJ And Egos Mix?         

If you’ve learned anything from the information above is that ego in Jiu-Jitsu is not something you can get rid of. In that sense, you can use it to help you with your journey or inflate it, even more, becoming a person nobody wants to be around.

When you roll, you need to be aware of where you are and what types of ego are most likely to try and take over. control them, and you’ll do great. Even better, use them (up to a point) to actually improve your performance. In the gym, ego will help drive you to improve. You know that feeling when you tap toa triangle fro the hundredth time? Well, it is your ego that will drive you to figure out how to eventually beat it. Moreover, it is your ego that will make your work much more than you thought you could in a match too. As you can see, there is a place for ego in Jiu-Jitsu, and it is an important one

On the other hand, you could let Jiu-Jitsu go to your head as well. Some of the Gracies, particularly among the founders, were known to be highly egotistical, even too much for their own good. This is something that we see to this day as well. You could easily fall into a trap thinking your Jiu-Jitsu game is so good you’re unbeatable at certain aspects of it. It may even go as far as to change your demeanor to others. Trust me, if this is you, start losing and start now because when you fall, it will be a very hard landing. And it will come, I can guarantee that.

Closing Arguments

Ego in Jiu-Jitsu can be a good thing, a bad thing, or a horrible one if your BJJ actually manages to inflate your ego. That said, it takes ego management and not exclusion for you to become good, or even great at grappling. Ego is nothing scary, but you need to respect it as a grappler. That way, the different types of egos will actually help you when the time comes. All it takes is knowing that they exist and they kick off at different times during your BJJ journey.

About the Author

Training in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu since 1994. 4th-Degree Rigan Machado Black Belt Instructor. Christian, Husband, Father, Grateful Small Business Owner.

Larry Shealy