Who has never felt the butterflies in their stomach before a competition? Not only at fight time, but days before, the first signs of anxiety and nervousness start to appear: you can’t sleep, you wake up in the middle of the night, and training is the only thing you can think about.
If you’ve ever lived or live these pre-season feelings with some frequency, you know quite well what we are talking about. Anxiety or nervousness? It depends much on what passes through your mind to properly define if you are anxious or nervous.
Normally, the athlete who cannot wait to fight, counting the days and hours until the day of the competition, has the profile of an anxious person. On the other hand, the nervous person, even being well prepared, can only think about what bad could happen to him/her. They will see themselves already losing, giving an explanation, they will think about an excuse in advance… That’s to say: They are those typical people who cannot control their own emotions and end up letting it bother them.
This is not a new thing. The pre-season adrenaline is common in any sport; no matter how good you are, you will always feel it. Hélio Gracie, Rolls, the myth, although they are great names within the gentle art, in friends’ comments from books and reports there is always the description of those moments before the combat. But behind every great fighter, there is a great teacher. Guess what: Who was the “coach” for these guy? Simply the father of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Great Master Carlos Gracie.
Think only about best, work only for the best and always hope for the best” Grandmaster Carlos Gracie
Carlos Gracie was not just a teacher. In addition to the hard physical trainings, balanced diet and no “dating” in the weeks that would precede a fight, Carlos Gracie was also concerned with the energy and mental condition of the athletes.
In that time when the gentle art was spreading and the newspapers were announcing fights, the pressure was certainly much higher. The Gracie family patriarch did know about the atmosphere around them and that no one had used to study the balance of those energies that surrounded them. And exactly based on his studies and beliefs, Carlos Gracie left teachings that apply to anyone’s life. Being strong when facing the problems of everyday life and controlling anxiety and nervousness preceding a competition are not easy tasks. He knew that.
Carlos Gracie trained Rolls and Hélio in something that no coach had ever trained their athletes before: just inside their minds. Carlos taught them and everyone that crossed his life that being strong does not necessarily mean that you have to be huge or muscular. Being mentally strong makes you a differentiated athlete and ready for any combat. Thanks to that, Carlos left us one of his most famous teachings: “Think only about best, work only for the best and always hope for the best”
Think: Visualize, view yourself winning. See in your mind that so desired moment. The referee raising your arm.
Work: Train hard. Give your best, respecting the limits of your body. After all, when you have a championship in mind, you must exercise very cautiously to not injure yourself.
Expect: Keep in mind that the best is to come. Remember you have already completed the path to victory. Now, it’s just a matter of putting your hands on it. Never imagine yourself losing, always expect the best. Positive attitudes will only help you to get into a competition in a better condition. Safer and calm.