When I first started training BJJ 12 years ago, I wanted to quit. I think most people do. They never tell you that. Some are ashamed of that, but the truth is almost everyone is tempted with that thought. Jiu-jitsu is not easy and when you see how far you have to go to get a black belt, you want to quit. Heck, even a blue belt is a hard accomplishment.
Last month, my student Mariah Bragg entered the adult division of the 2017 Pan American Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament. This is one of the biggest and most competitive tournaments in world.
Let’s rewind a year ago. Mariah walked into the mat room unaware of what jiu-jitsu was. she seemed determined and that’s all she really needed. She tried a tournament and did well. she earned second place. But then she challenged herself and competed at the 2016 IBJJF Charlotte Open. She lost in her first round. I am more than sure she was tempted with wanting to quit. But she went back on the following Monday, grabbed her note pad, and dove deep into her BJJ thinking palace. The results: well she trained and drilled everyday for 6 months.
She entered her next tournament and submitted all the girls in one division and won the other. She double golded in the famous US grappling tournament. Then, she got bronze in the Pan Ams. Her match to get to the semi-finals was close. In fact she was losing 3-0. Then, she avoided side control and executed a sweep which ended in a full mount. She ended up winning 6-3. This was all in the last 15 seconds by the way.
It was all the Mental practice of not giving up that taught her to find that will power and come from behind. She lost in the semi-final 2-0 to the girl who won the division. We are so proud of her because of her willingness to always fight and learn.
Here are three things we can all learn from Mariah as we train to get better tomorrow:
- Never give up! As cliche as it is, it’s true! Mariah was down mentally and emotionally after her loss at the Charlotte Open. She could have gone back to her daily routine and been like “BJJ isn’t for me.” But she didn’t. She went back to the drawing board and set a plan to get her training where she needed to be.
- Take Risks! In one of her matches, she was losing, but she took the risk she needed to win. Life is about taking those risks sometimes. Do the same in BJJ and in life.
- Stay Focused! She stayed determined with her goal. She avoided crappy food, beer and alcohol, and trained on some nights when most people were doing something else. Stay focused with whatever you’re doing. That’s the key to getting where you need to be.
So there. Simple, but not easy. Here’s the great part. This isn’t limited to just Jiu-Jitsu. It’s a blue print to success in the real world.
Hope this helps. If you are interested in asking me a question I can answer, please contact Team Casarez BJJ today.
Oss and happy training!