Training Jiu Jitsu exposes a lot of our inner ego to those around us. It comes out in various way depending on what is buried in our psyche.
The classic version we have of an ego issue in Jiu Jitsu is of the new meat head who goes ham and tries to hurt people, avoids people who can beat him, and freaks out if he gets caught in anything. I consider this to be the active aggressive ego – and I think most people start out with a little bit of this in their system. It’s natural to try to protect yourself from failure or looking incompetent. The sincere student will train and improve, learning that failure is the path to improvement. The rest… well they generally don’t stick around too long
The more passive aggressive mat ego comes out as you start progressing more. This is the person known as “the coacher” during rolls. It is the responsibility of the upper level student to help the lower level improve, but while keeping the proper mindset. Meaning: is the mid-roll instruction being made to help the person improve, or to make the information giver feel better/take a break/etc? Giving instruction mid-roll stops the flow of the match, and sparring time is not instruction time (at least not at our school). I make it a rule for myself that I don’t coach someone I am rolling with unless they are brand spanking new or are visibly frustrated. I have no problems fielding questions after class, but I leave the mid-roll coaching to the actual class instructor.
The trap I catch myself in is not seeking out enough higher level belts who can beat the tar out of me when sparring. I have spent so many years just getting beat on that sometimes it’s nice to just have some fun and turn the tables on someone less experienced than I am. And that is a privilege that I have earned! I just need to make sure that it is not all fun and games and I am still working on learning through failure – that got me this far, and it seems to be working!
I’m sure there are plenty more forms of ego on the mat, and honestly, it’s good to have a healthy ego! Without one you would have no sense of purpose or driving force to improve – so it all comes back to balance. Is that ego acting for your best interest or is it hindering you? This is a hard question to ask yourself and no one but yourself can distinguish the answer. I have a history of self-sabotage and I am ready to be done and over with it! It just takes constant double checking to make sure everything is lined up in the direction it needs to go.
I have a busy year coming up and I need to make sure that my training is on point! I have a few minor boo boos that are annoying me, but I have time for them to heal up before the new year starts. Check out my Upcoming Travel and Events page to see! It’s all going to be super exciting! This was more of a brain dump writing session for me today. If you made it to the end, I applaud you!