Attitude and Mindset with GB Champion Kendall Reusing

“Winning and achieving a certain goal long-term can only happen when they’re having fun”
Prof. Kendall shares her story about her start in Jiu-Jitsu, her mindset for competition, and some advice for young people on how to enjoy and stick with Jiu-Jitsu.
GB: Let’s start by telling the Gracie Barra readers a little about you and your background. How and when did you start training Jiu-Jitsu? Where is your current home Gracie Barra school?
Prof. Kendall: I started training at 5 years old at Gracie Barra Temecula. When I was 10 years old my dad opened GB Corona and GB Riverside. And then only one year ago we opened GB Newport Beach. So I started with my dad. They wanted a way for me to have fun and learn self-defense.
I loved it right from the very beginning and always wanted to be on the mat. They always let me choose to train, they never forced it on me, so because I got to choose, it always remained fun and I wanted to do it forever.

I’m currently training at GB Corona and GB Riverside and GB Newport Beach.
GB: Can we talk about competition mindset? What is the difference between entering a bjj tournament to have fun and gain experience and preparing to try to win a major competition at a high level?
Prof. Kendall: To be honest I used to think that there was a huge difference between training to enter a tournament to have fun and entering a tournament to win a world championship. But the longer that I compete and the longer that I’ve done this it seems very similar to me because anytime that i go out to do something, I want to do my best – whether it’s a small or big tournament. No matter who the competitor is, I want to do my best. And doing my best IS part of having fun because when I do my best, whether I win or lose – of course it’s uncomfortable and sad to lose, I’m able to think about it as a fun experience and think about it as a growth experience. That has come with a lot of time and experience. I didn’t used to be able to think about it that way. I used to only be able to think about it as fun if I won. That was the only way it was good enough for me.
I don’t necessarily feel that way anymore because of the experiences that I’ve been having..
My biggest piece of advice for young GB competitors is to follow the fun and follow the passion! Yes, sometimes there are things – like if we have a big goal, we have to do things that we don’t feel like doing. We have to have discipline. Those things are very real. There are days when I wake up and I don’t feel like going to training – until I’m in the middle of training – then I feel happy to be doing it. But it takes me a lot of discipline to get there and that’s important. Especially as a seasoned competitor who knows what my goals are and knows my “why’s” for my goals. But when I was young, it was all about having fun. My parents never forced me to do anything. They never pushed me. It was always my idea. I was always very passionate about it.
GB: Can you share a piece of advice for young GB competitors?
Prof. Kendall: My advice to not only any young GB competitors, but also any parents out there is to make sure that the whole idea is to support the child out there and to have fun. Not only to win ir achieve a certain goal.
Because winning and achieving a certain goal long-term can only happen when they’re having fun, when they are having passion, when it’s coming from a place of heart and when they’re feeling good about what they’re doing. It may come short term from forcing it, but it won’t last. The best thing that we can do for our young GB competitors is give them space, let them have fun, support them win or lose. Give them every piece that they need to have fun and success in their endeavor. Support them along the way with love and care.
For young competitors, the idea is not to be too hard on yourself. Do what makes you happy. Do what’s fun. Have the discipline to accomplish the goals as they come along – but to know that what’s important is the life that you are living every single day and enjoying the little parts of it. Not just enjoying the medal at the end. Because if you don’t enjoy the journey of it, then the medal at the end is not going to make you as happy as you think that it will.
Sometimes we think that it is all going to be worth it once we win the championship. But from experience, winning a championship doesn’t make a miserable life worth it. Just the same way as living a beautiful life isn’t ruined if we don’t win the championship at the end. We’ve still lived a beautiful life. So it’s very important to enjoy the day to day – not just be living for one goal at the end. From personal experience, it has never worked out for me. It’s actually why I quit a previous sport.
GB Values: Jiu-Jitsu Culture
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia