You Are How You Train

You are how you train

By: Emily Kwok

It’s very common for even the best of us to get locked up when it comes to personal expression. This is true of life in general, but the mats give us the rare opportunity to see where we are literally challenged and liberated.

At the beginning of our BJJ career, we are often fighting ourselves for control of our own bodies. Little triumphant moments are collected in the form of surviving a match without submission, a guard pass here, an escape there…

Then after some many hundreds or thousands of hours on the mat we hope that we mature enough to get all our limbs to collectively move together for entire rounds. Training is not only fun, but once we figure out how to make our bodies to do what we want them to do, BJJ even becomes creative and experimental. At this stage, if we can learn to embrace our quirks and work them to our advantage, it can often give way to greatness.

But what of those little blemishes we see and feel as we add to our repertoire? A second too late here, 2 steps too many there, too stiff, too loose, too much or not enough of…everything.

If we stop and give a thought to where we consistently experience slack in our game, we may find that the slack we express on the mats is also apparent in our day to day life.  

Do you frequently get caught in bad situations because you take a few extra seconds to think about what you should do? Are you studious and cerebral? You may be standing in your own way because you’re thinking vs. feeling the moment.  Try tapping into your more animalistic side to stop yourself from analysis paralysis.

Maybe you notice little gaps in your game. Sweeps that aren’t efficient. Passes that fall short. Have you ever mopped the mats? Do you notice if there are little slivers of dry mat space between the wet mop lines? You might take what you know for granted. Think about being more thorough. Make habits, be diligent and follow through with them.

Or perhaps you’re exhausted after every roll and suffer from a lot of injuries or tend to injure people. Can you feel your partner in the moment? Are you a good listener? You might be so amped up that you aren’t receptive to feedback. Period. Slow down and allow yourself to feel your partner on multiple levels. Don’t force your agenda as much and be present.

We can use all our hours on the mats to help us tighten our game in real life.

It’s why so many of us love Jiu Jitsu.


  • Tiff

    “Don’t force your agenda as much and be present.”

    What a great reminder. Thank you.

  • Yara Badday

    Yes great thoughtful words thank you!

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