Train to improve, compete to win.

train to improve

Having recently read the book Jiu-Jitsu in the South Zone, 1997-2008, one of the parts of the book that stuck with me was the part with Sylvio Behring. The following is a quote from the book which is something we all need to remember about our training.

“The main thing is to relax and enjoy your training”, Sylvio says…….. “Rolling isn’t competing therefore you can’t “lose”. What you can do however is waste your time. If you are serious about your Jiu-Jitsu, wasting training time is not what you want to do…..Rolling to get better and competing to win medals and trophies are two completely different things. If someone is being excessively defensive, doing nothing, just trying to survive, then maybe you aren’t getting anything out of training with that person. You are squandering valuable training time, roll with someone with a more productive mentality”


He also speaks about training with different body types and different skill levels. When rolling with weaker guys (strength and skill) you need to take something from the experience, maybe handicap yourself in some way? He says to isolate the weakest parts of your game when not competing. I think these are things we all know we should be doing but are very hard to do, for whatever reason. Maybe we get too comfortable with our own game, maybe we fear tapping in front our students or team mates, maybe our ego gets in the way, maybe it’s a little bit of all those things. I know that I for one fall into those traps every now and again. Training is not about winning it’s about learning.

We need to follow the advice of these vastly more experienced guys from Brazil. This is a great book I would highly recommend to anyone studying Jiu-Jitsu, not just for all the pearls of wisdom from the older Jiu-Jitsu generation in Brazil but for the history, for sure you will learn something you didn’t know before.

Remember: Train to improve, Compete to win.

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