GB Values – Positive Attitude on the Mats


At the time of this post, your GB school is most likely closed and you are in quarantine. In addition to trying to stay active and keep your bodies flexible and muscles working, we must also make an effort to keep our attitudes positive.
It is easy to have a positive mental attitude when everything in life is going smoothly. Our resolve is tested however when life isn’t going so well. At these times, we need to reflect on maintaining a positive attitude.
While Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t carry the same emphasis on philosophy as say the Shaolin monks and their Kung Fu, Jiu-Jitsu tradition does have some precepts for how to think and live in the best way.
Some of you may remember reading this important piece of philosophy from Grand Master Carlos Gracie Sr.
Grand Master Carlos Gracie Sr. – 12 commandments
    1 – To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
    2 – Speak to every one of happiness, health and prosperity.
    3 – Give all your friends the feeling that they are valuable.
    4 – Always look at events from a positive point of view, and turn positivity into a reality in life.
    5 – Think always in the best, work solely for the best and expect always the best.
    6 – Always be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
    7 – Forget about past mistakes and concentrate your energies on the victories ahead.
    8 – Always keep your fellow men joyful and have a pleasant attitude to all that address you.
    9 – Spend all the time you need in perfecting yourself, but leave no time to criticise the others.
    10 – Become too big to feel unrest, too noble to feel anger, too strong to feel fear and too happy to tumble in adversity.
    11 – Always have a positive opinion about yourself and tell it to the world, not through words of vanity but through benevolence.
    12 – Have the strong belief that the world is beside you if you keep true to what is best within you.
How can we as students of Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu put our positive attitude into action?
Here are a few ways we as GB students can spread a positive attitude.
1. Be the first to say hello. Do you remember how apprehensive you felt in your first Jiu-Jitsu classes? You didn’t know what to expect. The school was full of people who all seemed to know each other and you felt like a stranger.
As an experienced student in your GB school, make the effort to be the first person to go up to a new student and say hello and ask them how everything is going in their training. This simple ice breaker can alleviate much of the nervousness of new students.
A story from my own experience about being friendly with new students. I received a message from a student saying that several years ago they had trained at our Gracie Barra school. I met a lot of new faces and I felt a little disappointed that I failed to recall that specific meeting. The student (now an instructor himself) said “I only trained at that school  short time, but I remember how nice you were to me. I really appreciated it.” Let’s create more of this feeling inside our GB school by being open and positive with new students.
2. Catch someone doing something RIGHT! When Jiu-Jitsu students are learning new positions, it can be a challenge to understand and apply all of the details and correct mechanics of the techniques. Most of the necessary corrections will be in the form of “Oh, your grip is wrong” or “You are not performing the movement like the instructor taught.” This is an awful lot of negative feedback at times.
As senior students, helpful training partners we need to balance the “oh, you are doing this or that wrong” with positive feedback.
A good way to be more positive is to “catch” them doing a move correctly and pointing out how they have a nice sweep or escape.
3. Help out in small ways around the school. In running a clean, safe school that everyone enjoys attending several times every week, there are hundreds of minor tasks that are necessary. Taking ownership of your school is something that we all can do and contribute in small but significant ways to the overall positive attitude in our GB school.
Pick up empty water bottles left on the mat after class. Toss that forgotten t-shirt in the change room into the lost and found box. Ask if one of the students needs a ride home after class. Post a photo on your social media tagging your school and expressing how much you enjoy the class. These minor acts all build a positive atmosphere in your school.
4. No negative talk about other schools. Yes, I know some of the top personalities in combat sports generate a lot of attention by trash talking. Leave that negative talk to these professional self promoters. Most of us have witnessed negative bjj politics at some point between rival Jiu-Jitsu schools. Someone said or posted something negative about another school…they heard about it and responded with some negative words of their own and on it goes… and grows into bad feelings.
Stick to positive posts on social media. Don’t speak idly and say negative things about other Jiu-Jitsu schools around the other students. Refuse to participate. Be the positive example like Grandmaster Carlos Gracie Sr says “Spend all the time you need in perfecting yourself, but leave no time to criticise the others.”