Talent Doesn't Always Win the Game

While not everyone is lucky enough to win the genetics lottery – bestowed with awesome physique, height, strength, an overly active / reactive senses / or mutant powers (Ok, scratch that. Mutant powers do not exist, I think) – you have to remember that talent doesn’t always win the game. And in BJJ, it has been proven repeatedly: underdogs, dark horses in tourneys, have had success despite the lack of talent.


Not everyone is born a Michael Jordan or a George Saint-Pierre. However, the question is: how do you compensate? How do you become good just by utilizing your own god-given uniqueness?

Again. Talent doesn’t always win the game. The same goes that not everyone wins all the time. However, you can change all that. And it’s just the mindset.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 3.50.09 PMSo what is your current mindset about yourself?

Try to look at your game. While  you are grappling, do you hesitate in that split second opportunity to sweep and take a more dominant position? When you saw the arm and the elbow free to be taken for an armbar, what made you decide to just coast along and stay in guard? Your reaction to the stimulus is all about mindset. It’s not mindset about techniques! It’s mindset about yourself. And mindsets typically can dictate how we react… or in some cases fail to act. And whenever we see ourselves a tad too incapable, we risk not developing our strengths. So be honest about your mindset. How well can you objectively see yourself? Do you think that the cause of this self-defeating mindset is that you lack the talent?


Talent is overrated. Talent is often misunderstood. Prowess over another person’s similar abilities is not talent. The underlying cause for one’s prowess is the next line item below.

It’s PRACTICE that is underrated

Practice leads to mastery. As we practice, we develop the habits needed to succeed. Not just in BJJ, but also in our careers. Seeing a black belt perform well required of him years of practice, hours of dedicating to one move, and certainly commitment to the craft! No one was born a black belt. No one was born and was destined to be the welterweight champion of the world. These prime athletes practiced and became successful in what they did.

Focusing on Core Skills

_MG_1199You are probably wondering what core skills you need to succeed in BJJ. I say it depends. In our recent articles, we discussed the importance of defining your own game. Are you the aggressive, go-down-blazing type? Build on your submission game! Practice the core basic skills of being a good submission artist! Delve into books about submission. Watch videos. Get feedback! Feed your ability to submit!

Believe that you can develop the talent to move past your mindset. Believe that the path to becoming a better individual through Jiu-jitsu can happen (and it will happen). Believe in your training and the development of your mastery! You do not need talent, you need the right attitude!