I Suck At Jiu Jitsu- Dealing With Defeat

What's up guys! So I had a tournament this weekend. As confident as I was walking in, it just didn't end up being my day. Usually after defeat I'm pretty hard on myself until I watch the videos.

First, get the "I suck" mentality out of your head. Everyone has their day on the mat where they are untouchable and other days you just plain suck. This goes with both training and tournaments. I know how you feel though. Like I said, I have that "I suck" mentality until I re-watch how the matches went. It doesn't matter how many people tell me how great I did, I still feel that way. 

At Church last Saturday our pastor had a great point. The race our pastor was talking about was a completely different race that we should be focusing on but I think it still applies here. Back around the time of the first Olympics the olive wreath was the prize for the winner. It was an olive branch, off the wild-olive tree that grew at Olympia, intertwined to form a circle or a horse-shoe. Do you know how long that prize lasted? I'm not sure myself but I imagine not very long. My point is even if you got that olive wreath the memory of it for other people lasts about as long as the olive wreath does. How many of your tournaments do you remember the name of the person who took gold out of your grasp? Maybe every single one but how about the person that got gold in the weight class above or below yours? Personally I have no clue. 

Every race is your race. Every match and every tournament is your and yours alone.

So how do you deal with the tournament blues? 


I really like to have video of my matches. There is so much going on during a match that I don't remember why or how we got into a certain position, how they set up that submission or sweep, but being able to re-watch really helps with that. 

Go Train

Get that aggression out. 99% of the time when I step on those mats my sadness and my anger goes away. You just had a tournament where your holes were exposed. They say that either you win or you learn. Now is the time to make those holes so minuscule that no one will ever do it to you again. 

Go Indulge

Maybe you just had a tough weight cut and were super good about training when you needed to. You didn't drink that beer or eat that slice of cake. I guess indulging is different for everybody but maybe don't drink a case of beer and down an entire cheesecake but a little never hurt anybody. We have kind of made it a tradition to go to Red Robin after a tournament. Burgers and milkshakes as a reward. It is so good after a hard day. 

Think About The Good

Think about what you got out of this tournament. I meet some great people and get to see old friends. To me a tournament is no different than an open mat. You roll with people that maybe you've never rolled with before. You get different looks at different games and most importantly you learn your weaknesses and solidify you strengths. You stepped on the scale and beat it and you stepped on the mat and put it on the line. Do you realize how much of a mental battle it is to just do those two things alone? If you haven't competed then you have no clue. And if you never do compete then you never will know. Once I've accomplished the weight cut and step on the competition mats then I've already won no matter how the matches go.


We all have these feelings. We all get angry at ourselves or try to find blame in others. We might even think we have to throw out everything we did during our training camp and switch it up but just know these feelings are normal. Give it a couple days and you'll be back to your normal self but at least 1% better because you went for it.

I hope to see y'all on the mats

Brent Smith

Cauliflower Ear Family


Jesus & Jiu Jitsu!

Get yours HERE


Leave a comment