Winning, Losing, and Keeping Score in Training

I truly believe that to improve in jiu jitsu I have to knock the idea of winning or losing in training out of my silly ape brain. There are several reasons for this:

  1. I will feel shitty on days when I “lose” more than I “win”.
  2. I will avoid new techniques in training because they will make me “lose”. Or I will do those techniques at 50% so that it’s clear to my opponent that I’m not really trying.
  3. People who are not keeping track of this won’t want to train with me because this mindset is contagious.

I’d like to believe that I have achieved this goal, but in reality I’m far from it. I distinctly catch myself feeling good when I get a submission, and being frustrated when I get submitted. Of course, it’s perhaps impossible to fully move past that while still going 100% but I’m certainly far from achieving a reasonably minimal level of ego.

Some approaches I use for improving in this department are as follows:

  1. Roll with people who I wouldn’t want to “lose” to for whatever reason, and use a new technique I’m working on at 100% without care for anything except the success of that technique. If I get frustrated at some point, I catch myself and just laugh (on the inside) at the foolishness of my frustration.
  2. Never count “match points”. I’ll consider the points scored in an individual scramble just for the sake of tournament preparation, but never who has scored more points or submissions in the match. A lot of people I look up to actually do keep track of points because it makes it more fun, but for me the fun can too easily cross over into excessive competitiveness where my game is in danger of stagnating.

One last important point, I believe in the long term I can’t fake not caring about winning or losing in training. Even if I don’t say anything, it comes out in subtle ways that people can pick up on. But like for many things in life, one of the best approaches to achieving a desired state of mind is to fake it till you make it.

0 thoughts on “Winning, Losing, and Keeping Score in Training

  1. Jiu Jitsu Indianapolis

    Good points here. There are times when you train to go all out and there are times when you train that you must lab out techniques that you are not as good at. Most important is that you have training partners that you are comfortable with to do this.


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