Jiu jitsu causes weird emotional reactions sometimes. For example, I didn’t get submitted at all on Tuesday night, and yet I felt like a failure after class, because I was unable to execute my game plan. On the other hand, I was much more upbeat after tonight’s class, despite being submitted by two different people. I think the main difference is that I felt like I was able to get a couple of reversals with the half guard techniques that I have been working on for the last few weeks. I think my emotional state after each class had to do with the fact that my goal was to try and pull off those moves primarily, and avoid submissions secondarily. The idea is that, in order to improve, sometimes you have to take risks by trying new moves. Until you have perfected the move in question, you might be vulnerable to all kinds of counter attacks. It’s all part of the learning process. People often talk about the need to leave your ego at the door when doing jiu jitsu. That’s because the trial and error process of learning involves a lot of failure before you finally achieve success. If you are not psychologically prepared for this dynamic, you will most likely conclude that you lack talent and will want to give up, rather than risk another humiliating defeat. But, the “defeat” is only humiliating if you define yourself by your successes and failures, rather than using your failures as a learning tool to get better.

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