Spring Cleaning Tips For Your BJJ Game
It’s that time of year again… Spring cleaning.
Most people dread it, some look forward to it, but regardless, it’s a necessary part of offloading all that crap from the past year – or, hey, years… COVID, am I right?. Can I still use that as an excuse? Meh. I’ll do it anyway.
While spring cleaning for your home and personal wardrobe is a no-brainer, have you thought about spring cleaning your BJJ game? If you’re spring cleaning one part of your life, why not all parts of your life?
So what does that mean in a jiu-jitsu context? Read on to find out…
Clean Out Your Jiu-Jitsu Closet
First of all, let’s get the obvious out of the way. We accumulate a lot – I’m talking A LOT – of actual jiu-jitsu related stuff. Don’t worry; there’s no shame there. It happens to the best of us.
But even the best of us should stop and think about we are actually using and enjoying the stuff that we have, or just holding on to it. And even if we are using it… is it actually serving us?
Here are some things to consider when you’re trying to decide what should stay and what should go:
- Is it still… fresh? – No, not in the sense of being stylish. I’m talking about funk. Fabrics retain bacteria over time… and sometimes no amount of washing will completely eliminate it. If, five minutes into practice, you’re “clean” gi or gear no longer smells like it… there’s your answer.
- Does it fit? – Just stop. Don’t hold on to things that don’t fit, in the off chance that they do fit at a later date. That’s some psychological gymnastics you don’t need in your life. Does it fit now? Today? If not, get rid of it.
- How old is it? – Fabric breaks down over time, especially with consistent use. Styles change. Maybe you While older items tend to collect “sentimental value” over time, if it’s not a family heirloom or an item you tend to make into one, let it go.
The best part of cleaning out your jiu-jitsu closet? You get to make room for awesome new gis and gear.
Let Go of Your A-Game Moves
Spring cleaning doesn’t only have to be about stuff. Spring cleaning can also be about your actual jiu-jitsu game – those set of techniques that you’ve come to favor over time.
Yes, we know that triangle from spider guard is your go-to. Yes, we know you can hit it on just about everyone. Congratulations, give yourself a pat on the back. Now, when you’ve finished with that, think about whether your A-game moves have actually caused you to stagnate… or *gasp* become a boring roll.
Think about how cleaning out your game will allow space for you to master other techniques and evolve as a jiu-jitsu practitioner. All that time spent going straight to your A-game, subbing your opponent, then doing that again and again... could be better spent trying something new, failing at it, trying again, failing a little less at it, and trying again.
It’s called growth, and while it may suck at times, eventually it makes you a stronger, smarter player on the mat.
Toss Your Ego
Now we’ve come to the big one. Spring cleaning your jiu-jitsu game can also mean cleaning out some of those thoughts and behaviors that aren’t serving you. You know, like your ego.
And yes, I know that ego isn’t inherently a bad thing, but for the sake of this article, let’s focus on the standard negative conception of the ego… that little voice that whispers that you’re better than that person, that what’s-his/her-face shouldn’t be able to tap you, or so-and-so disrespected you in some arbitrary way on the mat and now you must either ignore him/her or smash him/her to pieces every time you roll.
We all have this ego – man, woman, young, old, white, black, brown, human, alien, amorphous blob, whatever. We all have it. Additionally, the hierarchical system in jiu-jitsu tends to exacerbate it. And no matter what your favorite BJJ hero might say, jiu-jitsu does not kill it. That’s a load of bull. And, in fact, some people allow it to grow on the mat.
However, you can consciously work on minimizing your ego. Here are some thoughts that might help:
- Your jiu-jitsu doesn’t make you better or worse than anyone else. Being able to tap everyone on the mat doesn’t make you a good human being in the grand scheme of things.
- Being tapped by a lower belt doesn’t undermine your worth. Acting like a jerk afterward, however, does.
- Everyone is fighting their own personal battles. Have compassion. Even if you don’t necessarily like, get along with, or share the same beliefs as him/her.
Think about spring cleaning your BJJ game as a time to shed your skin and become a new person, as well as a new and better jiu-jitsu practitioner.