There are many similarities between a Brazilian jiu-jitsu student and a grapevine. A long time ago, growers found out that if you indulge the vine — giving it lots of water and rich soil — it will produce mediocre grapes. They discovered that in order to produce grapes that are of the highest quality, they actually have to distress the vines. By providing the vines with just enough water and nutrients to survive, the growers force the vines to work hard to produce its grapes. Amazingly, this process brings out the very best concentration and complexity in the grape. You can take the easy path and achieve some success. But if you take the difficult path by forcing yourself to face your most daunting challenges, you will reach heights you never thought possible. Perseverance is by far the biggest obstacle in your path to achieving your black belt. There are also other obstacles that stand in your way. Some are easier than others to break through. Perhaps the most obvious is the seemingly never-ending setbacks you'll face during training. Whether it’s learning the movements or techniques, tapping out a lot during training, or dealing with injuries, you'll encounter many challenges during your journey and it will not stop once you receive your blue belt. In fact, the challenges come at you harder as you move up in rank. However, it is these challenges that help define you not only as a martial artist but also as a person. This is very empowering because with each breakthrough, not only will your technique improve but also your mindset. It is also important to surround yourself with positive energy, both on and off the mat. It’s not enough to think or hope you can make it to black belt — you have to believe it. At the Jean Jacques Machado Academy (as well as my own office), you'll find many motivational quotes and statements hanging on the walls. Everywhere you look, you are reminded that you can accomplish anything if you do two things: Believe in yourself and never quit. Once you get into this mindset, you can and will find motivation anywhere. About the Author: Jay Zeballos is a Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2009 gold-medalist black belt under Jean Jacques Machado. He has been training with him for more than a decade. Zeballos is also the co-author of The Grappler’s Handbook: Gi and No-Gi Techniques. His most recent book with Machado is The Grappler’s Handbook Vol. 2: Tactics for Defense.

Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

Talks About Being a Smaller Fighter in a Combat Sport Ruled by Giants

At first glance, most people — most martial artists, even — will zero in on the smaller person in any fight and deem him or her to be at a distinct disadvantage. It's a natural tendency to draw this conclusion based on obvious attributes such as height, weight and reach. However, that tendency does not always lead to accurate conclusions.

Keep Reading Show less

Intuition is always right in at least two important ways. It is always in response to something. It always has your best interest at heart. ­— Gavin de Becker

When intuition grabs our attention to warn us of danger in our surroundings, it often feels like an alarm going off in our body. When danger is present, the sensation we feel, in the words of some people, is like an electric current that starts in the gut and radiates outward. Others have described the feeling as a chill running up the spine or a generalized lack of comfort.

The commonality is a definite sense of unease, a nagging feeling that won't go away. There also might be a flash of insight or a sensation that comes to us, one that we never sought out.

Keep Reading Show less

Bellator 242 Official Fight Bard

Bellator 242 will officially be the promotions return to the spotlight on July 24th since canceling its remaining events due to COVID earlier this year. The main event for the card will feature Ricky Bandejas vs. Sergio Pettis.

As promoters and fans alike begin to settle in to the new normal, Bellator MMA has announced it will resume fights beginning with Bellator 242 July 24th. With UFC, One Championship, Invicta FC, and many other small promotions having already returned fans have been anxiously awaiting Bellators next move.

Keep Reading Show less

ONE Championship is set to return on July 31 in Bangkok, and now the full card has been finalized with four ONE Super Series bouts and two mixed martial arts affairs.

Previously announced was the top of the ticket with two title tilts and an epic trilogy bout of two high-profile signees making their organizational debut.

In the main event, Rodtang Jitmuangnon puts his ONE Flyweight World Championship on the line against Petchdam Petchyindee Academy. This will also be a trilogy bout for the headliners with the series even at 1-1.

Keep Reading Show less
Free Bruce Lee Guide
Have you ever wondered how Bruce Lee’s boxing influenced his jeet kune do techniques? Read all about it in this free guide.
Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter