Loser’s Mindset in BJJ

My Professor recently reposted an interesting article here titled “5 Life Lessons of BJJ”. I most enjoyed the mentioning of the loser’s mindset in BJJ.  The article states, “It is a loser’s mindset to hate on someone because they are superior to you at something. Respecting and acknowledging mastery comes with exposure to the red pill mindset, and with exposure to jiu-jitsu as well.”  The loser’s mindset is detrimental not only to your personal game but to the growth of your teammates and your academy’s jiu jitsu program as well.  If there’s anything you should learn and  understand it’s that you WILL tap and there will ALWAYS be someone that is better than you.

The loser’s mindset makes your daily sessions less enjoyable because you’re essentially viewing your teammates as opponents and it can put a lot of mental and emotional strain on yourself and the roll. You may find yourself frequently disappointed by your own perceived ‘lack of growth’.
Signs that you are engaging in the loser’s mindset:

  • Throwing a temper tantrum because you got caught
  • Withhold technique details from the lower belt you’re rolling with to have an advantage
  • Tell the person you’re rolling against that you “let” them to do something (it’s very rude, plus if it’s legitimate we usually know when someone is letting us work.)
  • Grinding on your teammates face for a choke or alternate body part to get a submission because the tap is just that important in class.
  • Want to quit because your frequently being tapped out
  • Want to quit bjj because of an unsuccessful run at a tournament
  • Instead of being receptive to help when someone tries to point out a flaw during rolling or provides additional technique details you shrug them off or verbalize that you are not interested in the help they are trying to provide
"Anger brought me to jiu-jitsu, love made me stay"-Abmar Barbosa

“Anger brought me to jiu-jitsu, love made me stay”-Abmar Barbosa

There’s nothing wrong with being frustrated with your progress in bjj.  I think that is where the great debate stirs.  You will inevitably be frustrated along your jiu-jitsu and life journey in general. If you don’t compete you gauge your progress against your teammates.  If you do compete then you may find yourself disappointed regardless of result.  If you lost then well the world is over, if you win then sometimes you feel that you should’ve finished sooner, been more dominant, etc.  Training plateaus, injuries, family, work, and life happen.

I used to think that the white belts were the worst with accepting this distinctive truth about jiu-jitsu but observances over the past few years have proven me way wrong.  At my own academy and academies where I’ve visited I’ve watched blue belts and above throw temper tantrums after rolls or make comments aloud that insult the ability and skill of the person they were just tapped by.  One of two things happen to the person who throws temper tantrums either A.)No one wants to roll with you or are weary of rolling with you because you might blow up at any second, or B.)People want to roll more aggressively with you to put you in check.  It’s not just upper belt males that embody this, females can be just as bad.  Some girls like being the ‘Top Woman on the Mat,’ it’s a sad truth.   You get used to being the only girl or one of few girls and when someone new comes and all the attention isn’t on you sometimes women too will seek to be rougher to establish dominance.

Over the years I’ve had outburst, panic attacks, crying sessions in the bathroom, and wanted to knockout drag out fight someone on the mat before but my awareness on how that affects everyone’s perception of me has changed a lot of things. When someone taps me then I look at the clock to see if there’s more time if so I motion to them to keep going.  The world is not over.  You have to be watchful if like me you too suffer from 0 to 10 syndrome. Not familiar with 0 to 10 Syndrome?  Trademarked by my step-father who says my mom and I both suffer from it.  I have a bad habit of on a scale of 0 to 10 going to a straight 10 if I get mad.  There’s no middle ground. People who suffer from 0 to 10 can work on being more conscious of it by seeking objective advice from third parties prior to flipping their sh*t on someone else.

If you’re in a funk, a personal or bjj funk , try not to take it out on your bjj teammates. I know it’s hard but they notice.  Don’t roll hard if you don’t want someone to roll super hard either. If you’re grinding a choke over someone’s face and they do something rough back to you in return, then womp womp you deserved it.

You can’t have individuals that live and breath by this “loser’s mindset” teaching class or in senior positions at the gym.  These individuals may encourage newcomers to maintain these egotistical ideals and when it comes time to correct them the first thing that comes out of their mouth is “Well so & so does/says it…”.  I’m not entirely guilt free. I’ve accepted the fact that whether I win or lose I’ll never be 100% satisfied with my performance which is good because I always have a goal when I go to the gym.  It helps keep me centered.

7 Responses to “Loser’s Mindset in BJJ”
  1. DFM2099 says:

    GREAT article. I see this alot, and it gets frustrating to deal with sometimes.

  2. allansbak says:

    Thought-provoking article. Thanks! 🙂

  3. shakiaharris says:

    thanks everyone. sorry it’s all over the place im still editing it to try to get it to transition better

  4. Trianglejon says:

    We’re lucky to not see very much of this in our school. I’ve always been very proud of all the guys (and girls) on the team in victory, defeat, and training. I believe that it’s all about positive role models in the gym, and not necessarily in authoritative positions. I believe that any random person can come off the street and be a positive influence on a team or club with the right attitude and energy.

  5. Spot on. i think it goes to say not only in bjj but in everything. i’ve burnt a lot of bridges with this detrimental mindset that I am currently mastering. it’s really lowered everyone’s perception of my upbringing. and hearing it from others just adds salt to the rub. It takes real maturity to take in the correction without throwing a tantrum.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Harris wrote an interesting article about the “Loser’s Mindset in BJJ“. It’s pretty interesting and you should check it out. Also, I happened to catch her […]

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