If Jiu Jitsu was a test of strength, we could just have a set of weights at the door – and a contest as you come in to see who is strongest, and then go home having never touched the mats. Now wouldn’t that be silly?
You know how new White belts rely on strength and physicality? And upper belts tell them they should use less strength and more technique, right? But wait… some upper belts come across as using strength at times don’t they? Have you ever noticed how a 165 pound black belt can feel like he weighs over 200 pounds? The experienced guys can focus their strength in ways that perhaps make you think they are much stronger than you or that they are using strength but that may or may not be true.
Multiple times BJJ world champion Caio Terra has devoted his whole life to Jiu-Jitsu. He has won the worlds Gi and No-Gi, in addition to titles at the Pan-European and American nationals.
Currently, Caio Terra is more focused on his role as a coach, as some injuries have kept him away from major competitions. Caio is a small guy, competing at Jiu-Jitsu’s lightest weight class, yet he has already won major IBJJF Open Class divisions against some much bigger opponents, such as Bruno Bastos.
Caio shared his thoughts on what he thinks is true strength in BJJ:
Many people assume I’m weak because of my size, they underestimate me and fail to realize true strength has nothing to do with our muscle and more to do with our mind.
I started jiujitsu around 17 years old, a little late to start at any sport competitively. I was told by people that I couldn’t win, people I competed against would have much more experience, but that never stopped me.
At the age of 20 I was already a black belt, people doubted me, saying:
“how can anyone truly be at the black belt level so fast?”. Now I’m almost 32, I have won the Worlds at the black belt level multiple times and have only been defeated by one person in my division.
Am I weak? Maybe in the bench or deadlift but true strength, how strong we really are, comes from our mind. It’s never too early and never too late to be whoever you want to be. You can either change or stay the same, but the goal should always be to live a life that you are proud of. Be strong, chase your dreams and never let someone’s opinion of who you should be determine who you are.
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