A black belt under Leonardo Vieira and a head coach of the powerful Zenith BJJ Team, Robert Drysdale is regarded as one of the top American grapplers of his generation and is one of the rare competitors that have beaten Marcelo Garcia.
Drysdale shares his ultimate mindset prior and during the legendary ADCC 2007 where he submitted the Marcelo Garcia, winning the ADCC absolute.
“People tend to focus a lot on physical and mental talents. Those are unquestionable, of course… However, they are non-idealistic and cynical – in ways that they reinforce that some of us have superior physical and mental traits compared to others.
I mean, sure, we aren’t clones and we differ dramatically psychologically and physically between each other. But there is something more important that both sides of this argument often ignore.
Namely, that is the “why”. Why do you do BJJ and what does it mean for you? It is an important question, but most competitors can’t give you a straight answer. And the reason for that is because they’ve never given it enough thought.
I only came to understand my own reasons after retirement, by looking back on my career. Many competitors want to win because they have their eyes on the reward – whether it is prestige, money, notoriety… But those are the same athletes whose motivation is short-lived because they are feeding off of external motives. Having pure motivations will drive you longer in my opinion, because your motives are now internal. The best competitors compete because they have something to prove to themselves. Sure, some may disagree on this, but it is just my opinion.”
In this Ted talk Drysdale describes the struggle of winning as well as asking the question of why we struggle so much in order to win.