A Tale of a Self-Confessed Bad BJJ Athlete

The word “bad” may come in a bit too strong if we are talking about the awesome world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but the goal of this article is to expound on what qualifies a “bad BJJ athlete.” Or to answer the question of whether one really does exist. So are there really bad athletes in the world of BJJ? Sad to say, I would have to say that there are. However, how we define the sport and the standard that it upholds, I think that there is still hope… even for those who are really bad at it.


To be honest, this is one of the toughest questions that I ever had to answer. For a moment in my career as a BJJ artist, I would have to deal with the question if I am a bad one. For a period of about two weeks, I actually had concluded that I was. You see. I am not the most physically gifted athlete there ever was. I was a bit over my ideal weight limit, I react slow, I am sluggish and grapple like a koala. At least that’s how they described my game.

It didn’t take long before I wanted to quit BJJ and pursue knitting instead. I couldn’t get my guard as efficient as I thought it should be. I rarely pull off submissions. I fidget and fumble over simple guard passes and sweeps. Yes. I was that bad. With a tournament record in the gutter with five tournaments with no medals, I was ready to just quit and donate my gi to the salvation army.

I tend to put my know-how of problem solving skills I learned in the corporate world to good use.

8635252175_d0e5831591_oI Needed Coaching

It was time to cry for help when I felt that my skills were not up to par with the length of time I had spent in training. Taking into consideration how I have been rolling, I needed real time coaching. And so I did. I asked help from my coaches during one training session. And I got help from him. He was able to figure out gaps in my game: too much passivity and not much aggression. When he asked me why I wasn’t as aggressive in my game, I told him that I wanted to be gentle and I was living up to the “gentleness” of the sport. He chuckled. He said that if I wanted to succeed in this cut-throat sport, I need to show my fangs and try to aggro my way to victory.

I Needed Practice

_MG_1311Taking into account the number of times I go to the dojo. I am ashamed to admit that I wasn’t really spending time in the gym. I come in late and leave early. So who was to stop me from not training, anyway? So I wasn’t as faithful to going to it. Therefore, I shouldn’t be expecting much results with the level of commitment that I have.

Think Less, Do MoreSlowRoll1

I am a thinker. Or at least, an apt term would be over-analyzing. Tending to overanalyze in this sport will not gain you anything. Or at least will not help you rank up. I learned that I shouldn’t overthink techniques and try to reinvent learning. The forefathers of BJJ have laid the groundwork and paved the road for us to follow. Why reinvent the whole thing and stress over tiny details of learning? Thinking less about what could have been and instead, taking action.