Why Your Ego Is Not Your Amigo
When all you know of violence is what’s on TV, it gives you false notions about what real fighting is. You might think to yourself, “I could do that” or “if I were in that situation…” Even if you’ve never been in that situation, you’ll have unrealistic expectations of what you can and can’t do in a real fight.
So when people come into our gym and try BJJ for the first time, sometimes they have those false ideas about what a real fight looks like. They’ve used those ideas to build up an image of themselves that they want to protect.
So they’re surprised to find out what its really like to be in a physical situation. They get more protective of that ego when they get into a bad position, whether that’s submitting to someone smaller or less experienced, or (in the case of men) submitting to a woman. That image they had of themselves shatters, and they’re forced to reckon with their ego.
In other martial arts, those fighters would be able to make excuses when a match doesn’t go their way. There would be moves that they can’t even try on other people, because of how harmful those moves are. So that always leaves “something else”, something else a fighter could have tried to win the fight.
In BJJ you don’t have those excuses, and there’s never “something else” you could have done. BJJ is the art of gentle submission. Giving people an opportunity to submit and put them in holds without breaking anything or hurting them, you can give them an opportunity to get caught and surrender or fight their way out of it. It’s not designed to hurt people, so there is never a move that you have to withhold because you could hurt someone.
BJJ won’t allow you to hide behind false pretenses, and it won’t protect your ego by allowing you to hide from those truths. You have all the tools you need, and the outcome of a match depends entirely on how strong and skilled you are as a fighter.
The good news is, how good of a fighter you are depends entirely on you. Every class you attend and every open mat you jump into is a step closer to being a better fighter. When you learn from your coaches, your teammates, and your loses, you have everything you need to be a better fighter. It’s up to you what you do with it.