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Beginning Jiu Jitsu: How to Avoid Mental Errors

By Vinicius \"Draculino\" Magalhaes

The sport of Jiu Jitsu is both physically and mentally challenging. In fact, many refer to jiu jitsu as physical chess! What is wonderful about this sport is that even if you are physically the best player out there, you can still be beaten by your opponent if he is stronger mentally.

In the early part of the 1990s, an excellent illustration of this can be seen in Royce Gracie and his jiu jitsu matches. Gracie was never the biggest guy out there, however he grabbed the top title in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th UFC. This was incredible, and it was obvious that he possessed abilities that his opponents could not defeat.

But what does this mean for you?

Preparing for a fight mentally is as essential as preparing for it physically. Understand what you are good at and what you need to work on. Understand what the other guy is good at and bad at, too. Lay out your jiu jitsu plan that is going to benefit what you are good at and prey on what your opponent is bad at. Then, all you have to do is make it happen.

If you are a small and fast guy, don’t play bottom against someone much stronger. If you are heavy, be sure to utilize your weight when playing top. If your best submissions are arm bars, stick to them and make them even better!

Now don’t mistake this tip for making your game one dimensional focusing only on what you are good at. Your jiu jitsu foundation should always be as broad and deep as possible so you understand the full breadth of your art. Instead, use this as a motivator for actually thinking about how you approach competition and live training. If you use your brain you’ll be ahead of half of the other guys out there!

My advice to you is to write down on a piece of paper: what you are good at, what you need to improve on, and the two techniques you intend to develop. Now practice the two you want to work on. And after every roll, see what falls under your strengths and weaknesses. Once these are written down you are committed, so hold yourself responsible for working on them.

Draculino holds a 4th degree black belt in jiu jitsu, has been a world champion several times, and trains people who have become champions in BJJ, MMA, and grappling. If you are interested in reading more about him, visit his jiu jitsu training site or visit the jiu jitsu forum.

categories: jiu jitsu,bjj,grappling,jujitsu,martial arts,sports,health,recreation

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Magalhaes, Vinicius \. "Beginning Jiu Jitsu: How to Avoid Mental Errors." Beginning Jiu Jitsu: How to Avoid Mental Errors. 22 May. 2010. 13 Sep 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Magalhaes, V (2010, May 22). Beginning Jiu Jitsu: How to Avoid Mental Errors. Retrieved September 13, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Magalhaes, Vinicius \. "Beginning Jiu Jitsu: How to Avoid Mental Errors"

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