How The Ego Affects Your Grappling Performance
Author: Jason Scully
The Grapplers Guide
It’s very important that you make sure you check your ego at the door from your first day grappling. If you don’t control your ego, you may not realize it, but it’ll slow down your learning progress and improvement substantially.
Here are some things that you may experience if you don’t learn how to control your ego.
- You’ll get frustrated and angry. Many times this happens with people who feel they should “already” do well in grappling and not get submitted or controlled. If that were the case then you wouldn’t need to take any classes.
- You’ll think you’re not learning anything because every time your ego gets in the way you’ll get frustrated, lose focus, and not pick up what is being taught as well.
- You won’t enjoy your training. The more you get mad at yourself or your partners due to your ego, the less and less you’ll have fun training. This usually leads to individuals quitting something they may have really enjoyed and benefited from in the future.
- You’ll get injured. Having an ego is one of the most common ways to get injured. Why is that, you may ask? This is because you’re stubborn. You refuse to tap and you don’t want to accept a “loss” in training. This type of thinking is very chaotic and will lead to injuries very fast.
- You’ll injure you’re training partners. The same goes for you injuring your training partners. The worst-case scenario you can have, is two people grappling together who don’t have their egos in check. This is a disaster waiting to happen. One person may refuse to tap, while the other may refuse to release a submission that they know they have applied correctly. What’s the result? An injured training partner whether it’s you or the other person.
- You’re training partners may not want to train with you. People who have egos on the mat are usually the ones that most grappling members avoid. The reason for this is because they don’t want to get injured or deal with rolling in a competitive manner when they just want to get some good relaxed training in for the day.
There are many ways that you can control your ego and enjoy your training from the beginning. The sooner you do, the better off you’ll be.
Ways you can control your ego are:
- Accept that you will get submitted. It’s going to happen. If you don’t ever get submitted then you probably don’t need to train in grappling. You’re already good. The chances of this really happening are slim to none, but that would be the case. Know that you will get submitted eventually and do the best you can to learn from it and try to ensure that you will make it much harder for your training partner to get you again in the same thing. This way you’ll actually be learning.
- Make sure you tap to avoid injury. The other end of the spectrum is actually tapping when someone has a submission sunk in correctly. Not tapping only leads to you getting injured or you possibly looking silly because you are left unconscious in front of everyone. Just tap if they have it, and improve from there.
- Accept that there are people who are better then you. Once again if there aren’t people who are better then you when you first start grappling, you either need to find another gym to train at or you’re a special type of person who already is good at grappling (probably not going to happen though). The sooner you realize that many of your training partners have put the time in and have more technical knowledge then you, the quicker you’ll improve and will be able to feed off of the knowledge they can provide.
- Accept that if you are new you won’t know anything about grappling and the more you train, the more you’ll learn. Most new students start with a clean slate. The more you train and the less you have an ego the quicker you’ll fill up your database of techniques and your grappling will improve every training session.
- Don’t get mad or frustrated. This will only hold you back and decrease your learning rate. The more you get frustrated the less time you will actually spend on learning. You are focusing more on being upset that you “lost” then actually being excited that you have something to learn and improve upon. You have many more days to train in the future, so try not to spend any of those training session aggravated with yourself or your partner because it’ll only end up making that current training session a waste.
- Take every situation as a learning experience because that’s just what it is. When an instructor show’s you a move or concept, learn from it. When you get submitted learn from it. When you submit someone, learn from it. When you escape, learn from it. When you compete, learn from it.
- Don’t be vengeful. Just because someone got the best of you or tapped you doesn’t mean that you have to get revenge on them. Training isn’t a competition or a battle; it’s a learning tool.
- Don’t sulk. Don’t go home with your head down and upset that you didn’t do well or you got tapped out. Sulking isn’t a healthy attitude. It doesn’t lead to anything good or productive. There isn’t any need to feel down about your training and then bring it home with you. Training is supposed to be fun and a stress reliever. You shouldn’t feel any pressure when you train. You shouldn’t feel nervous when you train. You should be excited about going to class because you know you’re going to get a great workout, learn some great things, and have fun. Regardless of how you performed in class, know that you still did something and still got something out of it in some way.
- Don’t repeat your actions. If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, chances are you’re going to experience the same result. If you keep experiencing the same result then it’s going to lead to the ego kicking in and then frustration and anger begins. Try your best to change your actions. That way you can experience different things related to the same situation. By doing that, you’ll eventually figure out an answer to the problem and then you’re well on your way to improving your grappling.
The benefits of training in an ego-free manner are:
- It’ll keep you from getting injured.
- You’ll learn much faster.
- You’ll have training partners that will like training with you.
- You’ll ensure that you train in a safe and comfortable environment.
- People will be comfortable asking you questions and answering your questions.
- You’ll want to train more and you’re instructor will be even more willing to help you.
As you can see from reading this section, it doesn’t pay to have an ego in grappling. Having an ego will only lead to negative effects in the long run and will hinder both your learning and it will crush the positive experiences you can gain from participating in grappling. Remember to have fun, relax your shoulders, and be calm when training. Everyone including yourself will benefit from it.
Thanks for reading,