Rickson Gracie Secret: Improve By Making Yourself The Worst Guy In Your Academy

Rickson Gracie Secret: Improve By Making Yourself The Worst Guy In Your Academy

If there were one thing that would immediately guarantee you that you’d keep on improving in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as time flies, what would it be? What would it be that you’d need to do?
Kama Jiu-Jitsu‘s Ryan Young explains what that „thing“ is: it’s the BJJ mindset of being the worst jiujiteiro in the room; which has, among other things, been one of Rickson Gracie’s secrets to continuous improvement.


To start, Ryan first points to the question that a lot of jiujiteiros have: how is it that grandmaster Rickson Gracie had become better when nobody was better than him?
He answers that this is due to the sort of a BJJ mindset that everybody should take on: the one of making yourself into the worst jiujiteiro in the room.

This kind of a mindset and approach, says Ryan, comes in two parts: if you truly are the worst practitioner in the room, then you need to be okay with that – and if you’re not, then you need to consciously make yourself into one.
What this means is that if you’re not the worst guy in the room – let’s say that you are in the „middle“ when compared to your training partners, or that you may even be the best guy out there, like Rickson was – that you then need to make yourself into the worst student, technique-wise, in there! For example, if you’re a colored belt and you are in a room full of white belts, you need to give them a head start; like letting them get into Mount and giving them the freedom to setup the choke almost until the very end… And it’s only then that you’d allow yourself to start defending.

That essentially means, Ryan points out, that you need to do what Rickson had always said you need to be doing: that you need to let others impose themselves on you, to let them climb all over you and to give them advantage.
Sure, this is the sort of a mentality that takes some getting used to, as it’s sometimes confusing to understand how it is that we are going to become better by making ourselves be worse on purpose, says Ryan. It might be that you find it uncomfortable to let people who are at a lower level than you are catch you. But, if you want to keep on progressing, then it’s just a matter of seeing it for what it is and changing your mentality along the way.

It’s helpful to think of it from an instructor‘s point of view as well: by giving others advantage over you and letting them work, you are giving them room to improve themselves! So, it’s not only that you are growing – because you are giving yourself an opportunity to figure out how to work from bad positions – but it’s that you are growing together with everybody else!


…if you want to get better in BJJ, make a decision to become the worst practitioner in the room. Ryan says that if you find yourself being at the top of your class and you’re not willing to lower yourself down, then you lose on a big opportunity to become even better.
It is much easier to work your way from bottom-up, than it is to be confined to the limitations of being the best at all times… Only to then fall down from the “throne” due to the lack of a proper mindset.

Watch Ryan explaining this winning BJJ mindset in the video below: