During your earliest days training in BJJ, you likely had a bit of anxiety stepping onto a mat full of tough looking guys and gals with tattoos and cauliflower ears.
Chances are you nervously kept to yourself before class as you saw the gym’s upper belts and veterans socialize and walk around with comfort and ease. During class, you would get frustrated as you struggled to string together the movements and details to execute techniques and flows.
Fast forward one to two years and you are a much different person on and off of the mats.
Physically, you are stronger, tougher to manhandle, and your coordination and movements have improved dramatically. Mentally, your belief in yourself and your BJJ have soared through the roof.
Here are five signs you have gained self-confidence through BJJ.
You go from just wanting to win one match to being disappointed you didn’t get the gold
When you signed up for your first tournament, you were just hoping you wouldn’t get submitting in under 30 seconds. Two years later, you are mad when you don’t win the gold medal. Your entire mentality has shifted from not wanting to lose or just being happy to be there to expecting to win each time you are out there on the mats.
You go from being afraid of upper belts to wondering how you would do against one.
When you first started rolling with upper belts, you could barely last 30 seconds without getting submitted. You were always the nail and never the hammer.
When it was time to find a new training partner, your heart sank when the large upper belt would make eye contact with you and ask you to roll.
Now, you are no longer the nail all the time and the fear and anxiety of rolling with upper belts is gone. When a new upper belt walks onto the mats, instead of cowering, you now wonder how you would fare against him or her.
You don’t get frazzled when you are on the mats with world champions
You likely felt inadequate and out of place the first time you shared the mats for a training session with world class grapplers.
While most playground or rec league basketball players will never play a pickup game with LeBron James or Steph Curry, in BJJ it is possible to meet and roll with the top competitors in the sport.
The first time you train and roll with them, you won’t feel worthy of being in the same room. Two years later, your skills likely wouldn’t have evolved to the point where you can score a point on a world class competitor, but you will have a sense of confidence and camaraderie where you won’t be star struck or feel out of place on the mats.
You don’t mind being the new guy on the mats.
When you first started training, you didn’t even feel comfortable on your home gym’s mats, much less another gym’s mats as a visitor.
Building friendships and bonds on the mats can take several months since training partners want to know you will stick around. It takes hours of training together to build a relationship on and off the mats.
As you progress in BJJ, there is a good chance you will want to train while on the road for business or pleasure. You will go from the quiet newbie to the guy or gal who can walk into any gym and introduce yourself to all of the students and coaches with confidence while making yourself at home.
You don’t get frustrated when you can’t get a new technique down pat on the first day
The first time you couldn’t grasp a technique, you got flustered and frustrated. You looked around the room and felt like the only person who couldn’t get it and wondered if you were ever going to get good at BJJ.
Fast forward two years and there are times you still can get a technique on the first day or even the second. However, you don’t get frustrated or down on yourself since you know you will keep drilling, asking questions, and working on it until you get it down pat.
This is a sign of confidence, maturity, and dedication that you developed over time while in the training room.