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Athletic success requires a thorough understanding of a sport’s fundamentals, a foundation all advanced skills can enhance and build upon. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ, is not different. From the outside, BJJ can look intimidating, but beginners learn quickly that learning the basics and having them down solid goes a long way in their journey with the sport. The following mental techniques are essential to succeeding in BJJ and will help you develop the skills you need to advance.

Control Your Breath

Your state of mind plays a huge factor in the outcome of a match or your ability to learn. You can learn to calm your mind by mastering your breathing. Smooth and controlled breaths will translate into your movements and allow you to think clearly in the moment. On the other hand, wheezing and panting will make your moves erratic and will muddy up your ability to strategize when you need to most.

Let Go of Your Ego

Nobody likes to lose. Nobody likes to feel weak, either. I can tell you right now that your journey with BJJ will be unsuccessful if you don’t let go of your fear of failure and accept the fact that you’ll have to lose a few times to get better. Learning to relax on the mat, whether during training or a match, is paramount to advancing in this sport. If your only concern is winning, rather than improving, you probably won’t be relaxed enough to learn and get better.

Memorize Movements

Practicing moves is great and definitely an important part of advancing in BJJ. However, being mindful of the movement your body makes, or is supposed to make, while performing a move is also essential. When we put all our focus on practicing a move successfully, we sometimes lose track of how the move is supposed to be performed. As long as we’re getting results it doesn’t matter if the movement is off, right? Wrong. Movements should be prioritized, as they help us prevent bodily injuries and perform moves swiftly in a way that reflects natural body movements.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu differs from most sports due to its reliance on mental strength. The ability to strategize while under pressure is definitely learned and takes time to master, but doing so creates a base in which you can learn the moves more quickly and successfully. Mastering the above techniques will set you up for a bright future in BJJ.