Competition Jiu-Jitsu for the Upper Belts with Prof Ulpiano Malachias

“You have to, inside in your heart really believe that you are going to be the best.”
This week we talk with the coach of GB’s world champion Pedro Marinho – Prof Ulpiano Malachias who has built a strong competition team in Texas. We gain some insight into the mindset required for high-level competition and what it takes to win the gold when the stakes are at their highest.
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Experienced Competitors
Building a strong competition team with Prof Ulpiano Malachias
GB: What is your experience are the most important things for a coach who wants to build a strong competition team? How to build team spirit?
Prof Ulpiano: Number one: the instructor at some point has to have passion for competition. The spirit to build a competitive team is to make sure everybody of focused on the same goal. Nobody is better than anybody else, or nobody is more valuable than anybody else. And together we are all going to be strong and better. That’s what is most important to pass to the competition team.
GB: How does the competitive experience change as competitors rise higher in the belt competitors? What is different in the higher belt categories?
Prof Ulpiano: On the lower belts, the person that wants it more, the person that is dedicated more, and the person that is willing to pay the higher price – they usually do well.
When it comes to the higher belts, it’s not just the person that wants it more, but the person that doesn’t have room to make any mistakes. So I believe that on each belt, you need to be more strategic and worry about fine details you know. On a blue belt, you can make mistakes and try and recover. On purple it’s the same, on brown it becomes even harder to do it. And on the black belt, you can not make a mistake. I see a lot of people that succeed in the colored belts but they don’t succeed in the black belt. It’s the little fine diamond that you have to polish in the end and you can not make a mistake in the black belt.
GB: In the higher belt categories how important is mindset compared to physical conditioning and technical level? (ex. Mental 50% , Conditioning 25%, Technique 25%)
Prof Ulpiano: I think that mind is not 50%. I would say, maybe mental is 25%. The technique is 25%, conditioning is 25%, and..being willing to pay the price to become a champion..the mindset. It’s not like a mental thing it’s like being focused on your goal. Being committed that you are going to be a champion. Believing that you are going to be a champion is the important thing.
GB: What is the mindset/philosophy to carry into a tournament where there will be some tough matches?
Prof Ulpiano: Every time that you look at the bracket, you got to think ‘man, if it’s tough for me, imagine for the other guys.’ So you’ve got to believe in yourself. Think about what you are going to do, not what they are going to do to you. Your mindset must be like ‘I’m going to impose my game and nobody is going to stop me you know. They have to figure out how to stop it – NOT I have to figure out how to avoid it. I think that’s important.
GB: How do you mentally deal with wins and losses? Some competitors feel they let the team down if they lose – while some winners could become overconfident and egoistic
Prof Ulpiano: About winning or losing. A loss is never good. Some people say ‘I learned from my loss.” You saying that you learned that you shouldn’t lose. (Laughing) You know that’s the main lesson that you should learn when you lose you know. But everybody is a human being and you end up, that at one point everybody loses.
I don’t even think about loss. I never tell my students to go into the tournament with the idea IF they lose or anything. It’s always ‘You going to win man!’. I think this is better. To go with the mentality that you going to win. If you lose, it happens. You have to try to find ways to avenge the loss and become confident again.
GB: What advice were you given that helped you most in your competition career? What advice do you give to your GB competition team?
Prof Ulpiano: My advice for those who want to be a champion is to dedicate, push themselves, and believe it. Because if you don’t have the belief that you can be the best, and you are not confident that you are the best ones – you won’t be the best one. Just saying that you are good is not enough. You have to, inside in your heart really believe that you are going to be the best. Sometimes people get confused to be the best is to be cocky or be rude. But you know champions will always be confident and arrogant to a point where they will believe that they are better than everybody.
See also on GB Blog: GB Inspiration: Prof. Flavio Almeida on overcoming struggles
Writer: Mark Mullen, Gracie Barra Black Belt