Technique is what wins competitions. Your competition mindset is often what loses them.
Now, I love Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu…I really do. Sometimes, I have to remind myself of that fact. It’s not that I have any issues with training…though I’d usually rather be doing any one of a thousand things than working drills in my off time. I actually love pushing myself to the limit and seeing what I’m made of when I’ve been stripped of everything but instinct due to exhaustion. Not only that, but I’m not half bad for a chubby, barely-blue belt. I hang pretty well squaring off against some pretty intense dudes on my team. The place where I really seem to have the most trouble is in the competition arena.
Other than supercharging my training and dividing up time between work and family to devote more time to sharpening the blade, I’ve boiled up my tournament inadequacies to one thing: my mindset. I won’t bother trying to give any advice on this subject, as I’m obviously not qualified. Instead, we decided to call upon our good buddy, 6x World Champion, Black Belt Joel Blanton to give you a peek into his competition mindset. You may have heard of him. If not, check him out.
Here’s what Joel had to tell us about his competition mindset–
“In getting into my competition mindset, I’ve already had the tournament on my mind long before I registered. I’m mentally running through matches in my head. My training days and my approach to them are very similar every time: My bags are packed the night before, and they’re always left in the same spot. On the way to the academy, I’m mentally preparing for the evening’s training. Once I’m inside, everything is done exactly. The way I get dressed out, taping my fingers, tying my belt, rolling out my muscles, and movement exercises to get warm are all in a specific order.
In either drilling or rolling before class, everything my pre- competition mindset is A-game-minded. I always drill my go-to first, that way it’s ingrained even better. When class starts, I warm up with the class & drill through technique like everyone else. When rolling starts, we start in whatever position we were just drilling…closed guard, rear, side control, mount…working ONLY my A-game advances and escapes. I do as many rounds as I can, and I ALWAYS ask for feedback!
On competition day, I address the venue; where we’re sitting, checking weight immediately, relaxing… When I go to get ready I get ready the same way I do at the academy for a training session. I keep the exact same order…including rolling out on my roller, warm ups, walking to the mat, the way I step on the mat, my walk out to the middle, shaking the referee’s hand, shaking my opponent’s hand…….FIGHT!
Do you notice a pattern? My preparation and competition mindset are consistently the same. I treat it like drilling a technique; the more I do it correctly, the more I will do it correctly. There will always be small details that are unique, just like in a match. The more you stay consistently correct, the better your outcome will be consistently. The small positives over time are what lead to success. BE SUCCESSFUL!”
Wow. Huge thanks to Joel Blanton for sharing that brief glimpse of the competition mindset that’s guided Joel through all his success on the world stage and into his Black Belt! Powerful stuff, and the recurring theme is one that we at A-Game are always pushing: CONSISTENCY! Consistency in mindset, attitude, and effort will take you VERY far along the sometimes-meandering path of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training, as well as your life in general. Make a gameplan, and stick to it! Like Joel said, BE SUCCESSFUL!!
As always, thanks a ton for reading! We appreciate you stopping by our page, so don’t be afraid to make your presence known! Let us know what you think in the comments, share our posts that mean the most, and stay on your grind! Now maybe it’s time for me to take some of Joel’s advice and adjust my own competition mindset. Super EGO is in November, and I’m competing in Blue Belt Unlimited. Yikes!
PS – Here are some more links regarding the Baby Silverback himself: “Baby Silverback” Video – Strength Matters Podcast – MMA Highlights Video – Jiu-Jitsu Times Interview – Twitter (@BlantonJoel) – IG (@baby_silverback) – Facebook