Brazilian jiu jitsu is usually thought of as the Arte Suave, the gentle art. Aggression has it’s place in the sport, though. The aggression helps in tournaments, it helps you push through, and drive for more. I always thought I was a very aggressive grappler. I pushed the pace, went for techniques, tried whatever I could to win. Even when I was a new white belt I just kind of went for it, not in the crazy way but I kept trying to move, kept trying to do the techniques I was taught. I just went for it.
At tournaments I was even more aggressive. Looking at videos of my past competitions, I was much more aggressive as a young blue belt. I didn’t talk to anyone at the tournament that could have been in my division until after I competed. I had no fear, I wanted to win. I wanted to make everyone proud. I wanted to live up to my expectations. My theory was, what my coach taught me is good technique. I train hard, and I am getting better and better at the techniques. What I have been taught is better than what they have been taught. I am strong, confident, with better conditioning and technique. If I lose, it’s not because they are better than me but because I made the mistake. And I could tell you exactly which technique I did wrong. I remember explaining this to a teammate in Indianapolis once, he gave me a weird look and told me that’s not how I should think, I should make friends and know that I’m gonna get beat at some point by someone better than me. I’ve made friends with some of the girls I’ve competed against, but I’ve always made sure to not talk to them before competing.
I can still tell you where I went wrong after a match. Sometimes though, I’m at a loss for what I need to do right. My technique is right, but I just can’t do it… My coach Robert says it’s because I’m not being aggressive, I’m not pushing, I’m being too passive. Honestly that is pretty new. I can remember being aggressive. I can remember the events that made me stop being aggressive, and now that they are gone, I still have that mental block.. Now I have to push to be aggressive. I will be going and training with another team every once and a while. It’s our sister school. I’ve never been here but it is a very different school. Much more aggressive, much rougher. I’ll have to work, be aggressive and fight hard. If this is what I need to do to get my aggressive edge back I will willingly do it.