Wow. After writing that title I realized that it sounds like this going to be a depressing post. But, thankfully it is not! Leslie, one of my training partners and owner of the blog BJJGrrl, recently posted in response to a comment from a young man who had questions about training more often because his parents only let him go to class once a week. After she answered, he then asked about losing to people in the gym during rolls and she responded in kind. It was something in her response about ego and gym wins that sparked this post, so some of the credit goes to her.
I’ve been thinking about this analogy for a while, so after the spark I decided I’d go ahead and put my thoughts on how ego suppresses progression. In Leslie’s response she stated that if you get focused on gym wins, you then get focused on learning certain techniques just so you can “beat” your training partners, instead of becoming a well-rounded BJJ practitioner. The fact of the matter is that if you do this, you simply won’t grow. Ego stunts growth. But, why? Well, here’s my analogy and hopefully it’s not to cheesy.
You see, I see my BJJ game as a ship out on the sea. It’s sinking and it has holes in it. Those holes are mistakes in my game. They’re me getting caught in submissions, missing passes, failing sweeps, getting swept, releasing submissions and so on and so forth. As I notice these holes, I run around and patch them up. I also explore my ship. I visit the crows nest, the crews cabins, and the captain’s quarters. This exploration is me trying new things. It’s trying butterfly guard, even though I’ve never used butterfly guard before. It’s going for a crazy sweep, even though I’ve only drilled it. It’s putting my ego aside so that I can grow. When I try new things, I know I’m most likely going to get smashed and lose, but I’m going to keep at it and will eventually get better at what I’m attempting to do.
For those that just patch up their game to win, their ship looks much different. In fact, they aren’t even on their ship. They’re instead out in a life boat, which is their “A” game that helps them win, paddling away as their ship is sinking into the ocean behind them. They never think to explore the ship or patch the holes. If they continue in their life boat, eventually a large wave will come along and flip them over.
If you’re invested in gym “wins”, then stop. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your growth. Turn your life boat around and paddle back to your ship. Start exploring and patching!
(Once again, sorry for the cheesy analogy.)