So You Want to Be More Bold in Jiu Jitsu
But you have no idea how
To be more bold in jiu jitsu, you have to get over a few things. Not saying that you are always thinking about these things, but since I’ve been practicing for a while, I have had my share of struggles.
The first thing you need to get over is the fear that your training partners won’t like you anymore if you’re too bold. Most of your training partners will appreciate it if you push the pace. If they’re less experienced, they get to feel what it’s like to have an opponent that attacks actively and defends ferociously. If they’re more experienced, then they are challenged than they would be otherwise than if you gave up in the first minute. What you don’t want to do is to be a jerk… no one likes that person who cranks submissions, go so wild that they lose track of mat space, or resort to dirty tactics. But using strength is okay. Using your physical attributes is okay.
Being bold also means that you have to get over that your technique isn’t going to look pretty. My coach has a saying: we’re not going for style points here. What your technique has to be, though, is appropriately calibrated in terms of tempo and rhythm. Some moves don’t work unless there is a proper exit velocity. My mentor is fond of saying: you can’t jump in slow motion. Sometimes, I have found myself holding back because I’m afraid that the person will face plant. This is when my coach has asked me: well, were they okay? The answer has always been yes. I’m told that I worry too much. I try to worry just a little less.
This isn’t about becoming a bigger spaz. We want to apply boldness to produce good results, not destruction. Boldness in jiu jitsu is most effective when it is precise. Think of the Imperial troopers that can’t hit anything—they’re kind of a joke, right? In jiu jitsu, the same logic applies: lots of firepower without precision and accuracy is wasted energy. So when you embrace boldness, keep the context in mind. Still pay attention to where you’re framing, how you’re off-balancing your opponent, and what opportunities exist. Make the next cross-collab in your jiu jitsu game be bold x intentional.
And no, you’re not too out of shape to be bold. This is not about coming out of the race gates going wild, until you gas out and lose that way. Instead, it’s about releasing your resistance to being bold. For those out of you out there holding back because you’re afraid of what you can do if you let yourself go, consider confronting your fears. You’ll be able to handle it.
Boldness need not only be physical—it can be mental as well. It can be staying aware for every moment in a match; daring to take risks; and remaining calm when staying in a tough spot. Boldness chooses to fight in this fight, instead of running or freezing. It acts without hesitation and with a whole lotta self-trust. If you don’t have self-trust, fret not—you can develop it over time. It all starts by taking small moments and pushing yourself just a little harder. You’ll start to trust yourself more as you get to know yourself more in new situations. And yeah, it’ll be scary. It’ll suck to confront hard truths. You have to be prepared for it to suck, so you can keep going.
Cast away those old stories about staying small, being nice, or people-pleasing.
This is your game to play. This is your match to win. This is your life to live.