On the Top of Your Game: Harnessing the Mental and Physical Aspects of BJJ


GB Association Webinar to Discuss Strategies to Build a Successful BJJ Competition team at your GB School.

The competitive sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) has created a huge  following in the United States since its introduction. At the core of every competitive sport is training and motivation. These can be both internal and external. Every high-level BJJ athlete is driven by desire to excel and at the top of their game. Answering the question; “why I am doing Jiu Jitsu,” dictates how far a student is willing to push himself both physically and mentally.

Gracie Barra takes very seriously the challenge of developing individual students character and Jiu-Jitsu skills, paving the way for top performance at tournaments. It is the goal of our athletic division to help each GB instructor creating the proper training environment and program to help GB competitors prepare for peak performance.

With this end in Mind, GB Association is putting together a Webinar with tips and suggestion for creating a strong competiton team at your BJJ School. The special guest for this event will be Professor Vinicius Draculino Magalhaes, one of the most well accomplished Jiu-Jitsu instructors of Gracie Barra. (Click here for more info)

As we all know, the physical aspect of the BJJ is as important the as the mental aspect. The body responds to the mind. But for the body to do what the mind says, it has to be equipped and able. This is where training comes in. It is only through training that our students become top class athletes. The training that a student receives needs to be effective. One of the ways to gauge the effectiveness of each training session is through noticeable improvement in their movement and application of the techniques they have learned.

Behind every top-level BJJ specialist is a mentor that work tirelessly with their students and at the same time encourage development. Each Gracie Barra BJJ school is spearheaded by notable professors in the person of Prof. Vinicius Draculino Magalhaes. Both of them have produced world class, top-level BJJ athletes.

Now we get to find out what how important training and motivation is for our student from the words of our esteemed professors. We will get to know the importance of sticking with the essentials of each training session.

In this article, we had the pleasure of being able to get the insights of Prof. Magalhaes on the various topics of motivation and physical training.

Motivation: Keep the Desire Burning

No one can question the power of motivation. The driving force of the human soul is also the core each martial arts discipline. The motivation that we give our students will be their springboard towards their own success. While most may think that it is goal that drives the athletes, the root of each goal is motivation. As professors, mentors and confidants of our BJJ students, it is our duty to motivate them. Give them insight. Make them realize the importance of the sport to their well being. Drive them to exceed their own limitations.

In a BJJ training setting, there are different types of students in any given class. The environment that we put our students into affects their motivation. One of our esteemed teachers and colleague, Prof. Draculino, pointed out that there will always pros and cons in a training setting. According to Prof Draculino, pushing our students hard in the class may result to having a selected number students that will have great technical knowledge of the sport and great conditioning. Students who are pushed hard during each training session can achieve more in competitions. Eventually it breeds students that are more committed to the sport. It breeds a different set of students ONLY if the students accepts the type of motivation in training.

GB.com: What kind of motivation do you give your students? Physical prowess, belts and stripes earned, personal development etc.

Professor Magalhaes:  “A combination of a lot of things. One that I really love is giving them examples of people who had similar situations in the past and through motivation they conquered really big goals.”

GB.com: What characteristics do you instill in the students for them to become the best in the game? How do you keep the fire inside them burning?

Professor Magalhaes: “Praising when they deserve and reprimanding when they deserve to. Biting but also blowing : ) They have to feel that you genuinely care to make them better. Only compliments don’t do that. You have to be real. They feel that and appreciate.”

The downside of pushing students hard in training is that it is very possible that there school will only have a limited number of students who will continue on training with us. Taking into consideration physical prowess, individual learning curve, and each natural physical ability of the students. The biggest downside to it can be the fact that we as an organization is limiting ourselves to only the competitive side of sport. The organization may have a limited number of enrollees whom may possibly see the Jiu Jitsu as a high level competitive sport.

In conclusion, trainers have the innate ability to balance the competitive side and the business. The careful profiling of each student can help each trainer to provide the right amount of motivation which is at par with the vision of the entire organization.

Physical Training: In Harmony with Motivation

While any athlete may have the motivation to succeed, it would be but null if they are physically unprepared. The rigorous sport of BJJ requires each at
but of his mater’s. hlete to be physically prepared. No one can put enough stress on its importance. Generally, this is something that most athletes usually fail at. As trainers and mentors, instilling the physical discipline in them is one of our roles. A wise man once said that a student’s failure is not his failure,

Tough training will always have its upsides and downsides. Again, it all depends on what the students may accept during the class. It depends on how far they can drive themselves to success. An instructor is the best gauge for the type of motivation that a student needs. As always, communication is

vital between student and his trainer in knowing what both parties wants to achieve. Gracie Barra is known to be on the top of the game when it comes to competing and staying on top. The motivation that our brand name provides can will be vital for each coach / instructor and professor.

GB.com: How important is motivation compared to physical training? What’s the percentage of motivation versus hard work in Jiu Jitsu?

Professor Magalhaes: “Motivation is key and if you put that with Hard Work, you will have a perfect formula for success. In BJJ, self motivation is big, since is in a  an individual sport. The Coach can help but at the end it is on you.”

GB.com: The physical aspect of the game is as important as the mental aspect. Please share your best practices that you may include in your training sessions and during preparations in competitions

Professor Magalhaes:  “Again, both are important but I would say that today, when everyone is strong, fit and technical, the mental aspect makes the difference. The champions are, no exception, really tough people, physically and mentally. What I do a lot of times is the push people to exhaustion and see how they behave. Then, depending on the reaction to that stressful situation, you give advices, you praise, you yell, then their mindset gets on the right zone for the good results.”

The link between motivation and physical training should be a strong one. By experience, the body reinforces the mind which houses the motivation. It’s synchronized and symbiotic. One cannot exist without the other.

GB.com: Lastly,any advise for our network of professors in the Gracie Barra schools?

Professor Magalhaes: “Your financial and legacy rewards comes directly connected to the amount of work and care that you put on your students to make them the BEST THAT THEY CAN BE. There is no other way.”

In conclusion, trainers have the innate ability to balance the competitive side and the business. We have to strike a strong balance between keeping the influx of students coming while we maintain the quality of lessons that we provide. The careful profiling of each student can help each trainer to provide the right amount of motivation which is at par with the vision of the entire group. The formula for success in this competitive field is simple: the balance between the mental and physical aspects of the sport and considering the business need of the organization.

Prof. Magalhaes willbe our guest speaker for webinar on the 29th of June discussing the subject of training essentials for our schools. Please get in touch with GB Association’s support group at support@graciebarra.com or  check graciebarra.com for the attendance details and slot reservation.

To sign up for the webinar, click here