How Do You Play the BJJ / MMA Game?

I found a short video by Hapkido master Fariborz Azhak where he talks about how to play the game. Which game you may ask.

The way he explains it is that anytime we do something that may involve a risk(such as love, work, school or indeed MMA / BJJ or any other sport) we assume a certain attitude or style, which would put us on one of four quadrants:

First quadrant: playing to lose. "I'm here, but chances are it'll go wrong anyway!"
Second quadrant: playing only when it's fun. "I don't want to do the hard work. I just wanna play!"
Third quadrant: playing not to lose. "Eyes are on me. I better find out what's exactly required not to lose and make sure I hit just that!"
Fourth quadrant: playing to WIN, where he defines WIN: focusing on What’s Important Now.

Do you know what it would be like in each quadrant when: on the training mat, at a comp, at work, in your relationships with people?

If you do know what it'd be like, where do you find yourself spending most of your time*?

It's human nature to first think about others and where we think they'd fit in the quadrant. We like to judge others. I've met many people who've either faked injury to get off the mat or, even worse, sparred out of their comfort zone either technique-wise (beginners jumping for triangles) or attribute-wise (going 200miles an hour in the warm-up and then tell you they're tired throughout the whole session) just to have an excuse.

Where are you, or more accurately, where do you think you are?

*I believe people fluctuate a lot of the time between these states of mind, not just in life but actually from minute to minute. If you love what you do, then all will be well.

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SkinnyD said...

I have definitely been in each of these categories at one time or another, but I think for a few mohtns now I've been in quadrant least I hope so. But it's a constant effort to stay there.

SkinnyD said...

I have definitely been in each of these categories at one time or another, but I think for a few mohtns now I've been in quadrant least I hope so. But it's a constant effort to stay there.

A.D. McClish said...

I think I fluctuate between the third and fourth quadrant. I worry too much about what other people think (I know, big shock!) instead of just focusing on the roll.

The Part Time Grappler said...

I agree. I don't think anyone is ever "fixed" in one quadrant for any length of time. I sometimes even catch myself floating between quadrants WITHIN the same roll!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I have a hard time with this simply because of the WIN part. I guess when I'm rolling with a partner, unless it's at a competition, I don't tend to think about winning/losing. For me, tapping =/= losing, getting a submission =/= winning.

However, if I take it for an overall and if I replace WIN with "being good at BJJ" or "improving my BJJ game" or "getting a move" then I can understand it better.

I would say that I am often in the first quadrant. I don't think that makes me a bad BJJ player, though, because my attitude is: I may suck, but I'm sticking with it! I don't have much confidence in my physical ability.

Does that mean I'm not serious when I roll? Not at all. I do shoot for things I know and I do try to incorporate what I've been learning.

I suppose I internally fluctuate mostly between 1 and 3. For me, it's hard to think about "Winning" when you're a BJJ n00b.

The Part Time Grappler said...

That's so honest of you Julia. The way I understood the clip (and I could be wrong) is that WIN is an acronym. You become a winner by focusing on What's Important Now = WIN.

If you're in mount bottom and you focus on keeping your elbows tucked in, your head glued to the mat and your legs in the right configuration...etc. then you are focusing on what's important now and you win. That's it.

If you have a time period in your year when work/study is taking a lot of time and energy but you're still giving yourself shit for not training enough then you are NOT focusing on What's Important Now and you need to re-focus. you get the picture.

As for fluctuating, I'm sure that that's how everybody sways. BJJ is very in-your-face and whatever attitude you walk onto the mat with, chances are it will be challenged and swayed :o)