Stop Making Excuses

Training in BJJ, we have all experienced obstacles and hit walls. It comes with the territory of a competitive sport and is also inevitable because nobody is perfect. The one thing we should not be doing though is making excuses. Excuses do not justify any obstacle we may face, any match we may lose, or any downfall we have in the sport. We are all solely responsible for our performance, and preparation towards how we achieve goals and how we handle specific circumstances.

I attended an in house tournament at my gym the other week. I went to support all those competing and as one match finished, I noticed something that I found to be interesting. The guy who lost his match came off the mat, looked at his teammates and said “well, I was tired.” As if that alone, and only that, was the reason he lost his match. We cannot and should not be using excuses to justify losses. If you lose, you lose. I have noticed this at many competitions. Some of the excuses that come to mind are :

I was tired.

He/she was a *insert stripe* blue, purple, brown belt.

He/she won my division so I don’t feel so bad.


The ref made a bad decision.

I wasn’t prepared, but I’ll do better next time.


No. None of these are acceptable excuses to justify an unwanted outcome of a circumstance. Playing the blame game will not help you, or any athletes, performance. By looking for something to blame our pitfalls on, we are not able to get the necessary feedback in order to improve technique, strategy etc. It is extremely important to just take ownership so that you can learn to control your performance. The last thing you want is to start blaming and using excuses because your performance will continue to suffer.

Essentially, all you are doing is self-handicapping yourself. This is a term that describes cognitive strategy that people use to stop failures from hurting self-esteem. The effects of self-handicapping can be both large and small and found in almost any environment where humans are expected to perform. Self-handicapping behavior allows individuals to externalize failures but internalize success, accepting credit for achievements but consenting to excuses for failures. There have been studies done on this type of behavior, and it has been proven that everyone is different and it is linked to certain personality traits.


I am not saying it is easy. We have all done it at one point or another but next time something does not go your way(in BJJ or anything else), stop before you try to blame some other reason for it. Instead, think about what YOU could have done differently. You have to learn to discipline the mind.  Find solutions to the issue and get right back into the gym and fix any necessary mistakes. We are all responsible for our own performance. Stop making excuses. If you want to succeed in BJJ, take responsibility for your performance and use a positive mental state to constantly improve.

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