The Role of Obsession in Jiu-Jitsu Success and in Life

The Role of Obsession in Jiu-Jitsu Success and in Life

photo by Banejitsu

Anybody can try something but not everybody has the right aptitude to be great at anything. This is something that can relate to each and everyone’s grappling journey as well as various life aspects.

The talent plays a minuscule role, it can only give you a head start and a push in the right direction. It’s entirely up to you to take it in stride and keep grinding. Same goes for lack of talent. Commitment is the first and most important factor that goes into success.

Obsession as a word has many negative connotations and in general it’s always great to maintain a healthy balance in your life no matter what the pop psychology gurus will tell you with their catchy taglines. The widely accepted definition of obsession is this:

 Obsession is the inability of a person to stop thinking about a particular topic or feeling a certain emotion without a high amount of anxiety. When obsessed, an individual continues the obsession in order to avoid the consequent anxiety.

Perhaps the icon of obsession in sports has been Lance Armstrong in these later years. Armstrong overcame cancer and put in an extreme amount of hard work, dedication into micro managing every aspect of his life and in the end making him the most successful cycling athlete and the most successful cycler in terms of doping. But by all means he’s the epitome of a narcissistic personality.

But in professional sports, obsession is a must regardless of whether you take it to extremes so if you’re planning on taking the grappling world by storm you better be prepared to put in all the extra miles you have.

Obsession is certainly one way to distinguish yourself from the crowd but it comes at the cost of everything else in life.

Here is what their instructor Cicero Costha, had to say about the personality and extreme training habits of his students:

In an article with Tatame Magazine:

“It’s hard to talk to them. They are very concentrated on training and improving”

“They think about Jiu-Jitsu all the time, do the same things. From time to time, go online to talk with family and see videos of positions. They are inseparable. They eat the same food, sleep in the same place …”

About how the Miyaos choose to live in the gym after all these years:

“They have a better financial condition now, but they are accustomed and like to stay in the gym. I’ve tried to find an apartment for them, but they would not take it. I asked twice … I do not ask any more. They do not want to miss a minute of training and feel good there, so I let them. “

The Miyaos on why they still live in the gym after all these years:

Paulo Miyao: “I wake up and I start training, it is easier for me. No need to take bus or other transportation.”

Joao: “I am very comfortable in the gym. Here we are 24/7 focused on Jiu-Jitsu.”

“Right now, I’m just thinking about the title”

“The focus has to be 100% in Jiu-Jitsu, I can not worry about other things.”

However if your goals are short of becoming a sensational pro athlete you might want to substitute obsession (even though it makes for a great tagline) with perhaps commitment and dedication.

The obsessed athlete is one that has nothing outside of, in this case, outside the grappling experience but the committed one understands that success is a result of hard work and dedication put in daily – but without it overpowering the whole entirety of the rest of his or her life.

You can gauge how one views this by the approach and the role they assign to drilling. Drilling is immensely helpful – but it is only as helpful as your entire approach applied. It’s a grain of sand approach. You need to plan for a sand castle and to skillfully lay the ground work believing that one day you’ll be standing in front of a clear rock solid foundation. And for a sport that’s largely practiced by hobbyists it’s best to steadily focus on building blocks. Belief in your self and commitment is integral.

One thing that you could take away from the concept of obsession without wreaking havoc on your life is singular focus. Modern age is quite a distraction, the constant push of social media and the abundance of information within reach can often make focusing on a single thing a great issue. And this is universal- all you need in life is to be the single best person doing this job, hopefully something you also enjoy.

But it all depends on one important thing – a goal.

What is your end game? Is it open-ended journey? Do your short term goals match the long term ones? What are you hoping to accomplish? Can you realistically pull this off?

To make yourself a successful grappler and to be successful in any aspect of life you need to shape an approach and to give it all of your commitment and dedication so perhaps this list is a great way to start!