Jiu Jitsu mindset: A question I am often asked is what are mental aspects of Jiu jitsu that play a role in the outcome of competition? It’s a fascinating and deep question that deserves a truly involved discussion, nonetheless we can make a few preliminary points with regards a highly successful athlete whose mindset definitely plays a role in his competitive success – Gordon Ryan. First, let’s distinguish between two elements of the mental game. The first is TRAINING/LIFESTYLE mentality. The second is STAGE PERFORMANCE mentality. Most people only talk about the mental aspects of going onstage in competition. That’s certainly important, but the greatest determinant of the outcome of your matches over time by a landslide is your training/lifestyle mentality. This is the mindset you carry every day as you train and progress. This is what determines your skill acquisition over time. Mr Ryan always operates with the spirit of incremental improvement over time via discipline in training schedule, extreme attention to detail in technique, endless experimentation in response to emerging problems in training, refusal to get distracted by other demands on his attention and interestingly, a constant need to initiate and sustain light hearted conflict with opponents/rivals/“haters” as a means to sustain motivation levels over time throughout an exhausting training program. This need to prove haters wrong is a powerful motivational tool that he uses throughout the year to stay focused year round and sustain progress through multi year training cycles. With regards stage performance mentality, his most obvious feature is high levels of self confidence that enable him to perform on stage at a level very close to his gym performance level. Interestingly the focus of his confidence training is never himself, but his technique/tactics. He does not try to build confidence as an attribute in itself, but as a by product of technical training program and the success he has with it in the gym. This creates a strong link between the two main areas of the mental game – the training/lifestyle mindset and the stage mindset.