Taking Responsibility For Your Success


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu -Taking Responsibility

For Your Success (from Teamtooke.com)

If you look at the most successful athletes out there in Martial Arts, especially Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and grappling arts, they are the ones that really put in the most effort both in and out of the classroom. They put the task of getting better into their own hands and that’s extremely important.

The world is abundant with people that make excuses about why they’re not getting as good as they could and why they can’t do this and that. But there’s really no excuse when your ultimate goal is to really become as good as you can. If you really want it, I mean really, you’re going to do what it takes to get there. Example: Let’s say that you’re a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner and you want to take your game to the next level. You only have so much time to  actually go to class, train in class, work your technique, work your conditioning, work some drills, do some sparring and then class is over. That’s really not a great deal of time, even if you go to class every day. There’s still plenty more that you can do. That goes for any martial art.

Now here are a few examples that are guaranteed to up your Brazilian Jiu JItsu skill level if you aren’t doing them already; meeting with a partner outside of class, doing some extra drills, extra sparring, extra work for your cardio, for your strength, for your conditioning, for your power, for your core strength, for your hip movement,  extra stretching for improved flexibility, your ability to improve your range of motion with your movements. All these things will have a positive effect on your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

If you really and truly want to get better in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, don’t make any excuses. If you’re at an academy that can’t meet your needs to help you reach your goals, you have a couple of choices. If there’s another academy that you know can help you better meet your goals, that’s where you need to be training. You need to find the gym that’s going to give you what you need whether it be more technical, more focused on competition or a better team atmosphere. If there isn’t another gym, then you’re going to have to work even harder. You’re going to have to watch more tapes, maybe travel a little bit, and your going to have to invest in some private training with some outside instruction.

Private lessons in Brazilian Jiu – Jitsu are a great way to get better. Some people say “I can’t afford it, but I really want to get better.” Well, these people likely don’t really want to get better. If you don’t want to pay for it or can’t justify spending the money then that’s fine. It’s not a priority for you. But you also can’t complain that you can’t get what you’re looking for. I see people that say they can’t afford training, yet many of them can afford to go out and spend $300 on alcohol partying one weekend. That’s not someone who’s serious about getting better. If they were, then they would make sacrifices and invest in their training.

I’m not implying that just because someone doesn’t make these sacrifices means that he or she doesn’t want to get better. The person I’m referring to is the serious athlete/competitor. For this individual, there is no excuse for not getting the training you need.


Perhaps the most important homework assignment a grappler can give himself is taking the time to fix his mistakes. I encourage my students to write down notes every time they come to class. Write down problems that you had in class. Write down things that you improved upon and things that you need to work on for the next class. Writing things down, and even filming yourself, filming your tournament matches, filming technique that you’re working, evaluating and dissecting new techniques, critiquing yourself, and of course, believing in yourself. These are the things that are going to make you better.

Believe it or not, in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you really are going to know what you are good at after enough time on the mat, almost better than anyone. But you have to believe in yourself. You may have a world-class coach, you may have some of the best training partners in the world, but you’ve got to take responsibility into your own hands. You’ve got to do your homework. You have to do the extra training. You have to do the drills. You have to do whatever it takes.

If there’s no class one day and you know you need to train that day, you’ve got to force yourself to train and train right. You’ve got to find a partner that’s willing to do drills with you, find a partner that’s willing to spar with you and that’s willing to do technique with you, who’s willing to run sprints with you, lift weights with you and help you push yourself to the next level. If that’s not available and you know you still have to train, then you’ll have to do all that by yourself.

The bottom line is, there really are no excuses. It would be nice for anyone to have the best black belt teachers at their side anytime to train with, but very few people have that luxury. There are, however still some great athletes that didn’t necessarily have the greatest coaches coming up, that took it upon themselves to go out, learn as much as they could, study, make the best of their situation, and when they had the opportunity to get better or learn from others, or just be open minded to learn from someone who could make them better, they took it.

I think two of the key points of success for serious Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters are; a solid work ethic and having a really good coach to help you out. You have to have someone to help you. You can’t just figure things out on your own. But at the same time, if your coach is at perhaps just a medium level, you can learn so much by giving extra effort. Do this by studying tapes, watching competition footage, and by mimicking the athletes that motivate you. I tell my students all the time “I’m going to teach you a-lot, but I will never tell you not to learn from others.” I’ll give my input on it and make sure my students learn the best way I feel they can, but I’ll never try to keep anything from anyone. There’s a lot of great instruction and information out there and you should definitely take advantage of every opportunity that you can to get better

To sum everything up, if you’re not getting the results you want and you know you can get them somewhere else, go to that source. Put more responsibility into your own hands. That goes for anything that you do in life. If you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself. You can’t wait for something miraculous to come along and make you better. You’ve got to do it yourself.

Remember, a great coach will give you the tools you need but he can’t force you to do the extra. It’s up to you to build your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game.