The Unspoken Side of Losing

4 min read
The part of Jiu-Jitsu nobody seems to want to talk about and how if you can humble yourself to learn from it, you can be better than you imagined

The Unspoken Side of Losing

The part of Jiu-Jitsu nobody seems to want to talk about and how if you can humble yourself to learn from it, you can be better than you imagined

Location: Sherwood Park, AB

Photo by: IBJJF Dielle Pike

Everyone is so quick to cheer you on and tell you how good you’re going to do before a competition, or maybe even before a class that you know will be a little harder than the rest. You’ll hear a lot of words, most of them kind and along the lines of “you’re going to do amazing!”.

Of course, this is understandable as no one wants to be told anything other than that right before they step onto the mats, but when will we reach the point in time where we realize that everyone loses eventually. What if we approached the whole thought of losing completely differently and chose to really learn from our losses like we always say we will?

It’s one thing to read and hear the saying, “In Jiu-Jitsu, you don’t lose, you learn,” but it’s an entirely different skill and choice to actually absorb that thought and use it to its highest potential.

I said it earlier, and I’ll say it again. Everyone loses eventually. Yes, even you, me, and the guy sitting next to you, and that’s okay! We need to realize that losing isn’t the end of the world, and it should be used to help mold and shape us into better practitioners as a whole.

Imagine if you won every match, you did both in class or in every tournament. Not only would the sport get boring fast, but would you stop and take a look at new ways to execute different moves, or try new techniques or make up new guards if given the opportunity? Of course, not! You’re winning everything anyway, so why would you try anything different?

Now let’s think a little deeper. What if everyone stopped trying new things? Jiu-Jitsu would stop evolving, and it would no longer be the fantastic sport it has grown into today. You need to lose at some point to develop as a person and for the sport to evolve.

Go into every class, and every tournament with the highest of expectations of yourself; however, always ensure you’re mentally prepared to lose because it can happen at any point in time. I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t look at a loss as only negative.

Sure, losing sucks big time. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to enjoy losing and to accept fate. I’m simply telling you to try and look at it differently. Watch and re-watch all of your matches to see where it went wrong. Where you could’ve tightened a position up, what position you could’ve gone to instead of where you chose to go, and what you plan to do next time to make it better.

What do you do next? Drill it over and over again. Play around with the new technique until it’s so far embedded into your muscle memory that you could execute it in your sleep. Then try it during live rolling, during a competition, or wherever you want! All that matters is that you as a practitioner are evolving because, in turn, the rest of the sport will evolve as well.

Accept loss as a part of your journey, and don’t fear failure. It’s all a part of the sport, and it has turned Jiu-Jitsu into what it is today. There isn’t one champion out there who hasn’t failed at some point, and your turn will eventually come. Be ready for it, accept it, and take advantage of it whenever it comes around.



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