There are several BJJ sayings out there that, once you start doing BJJ, you are GUARANTEED to hear. Some of these include: “The mat is my church, the ground is my heaven, Jiu-Jitsu is my religion. And once you hit the ground you’re in my world. My world is like the ocean, I’m like a shark and most people don’t even know how to swim – Draculino. “Flow with the go,” Rickson Gracie. “If you think, you’re late. If you’re late, you use strength. If you use strength, you tire. If you tire, you die.” – Saulo Ribeiro. And of course, “Leave your ego at the door.”
What exactly does that mean, to “Leave your ego at the door?” I’ve done some Internet research so you don’t have to (but check back, because I guarantee Slideyfoot will have more awesome articles to link to!).
There are 130,000 Google results for bjj + ego. To put this into perspective, there are 213,000 for bjj + hero, 283,000 for bjj + classes, 420,000 for bjj + techniques, 429,000 for bjj + women, 685,000 for bjj + gi, and . So it’s clearly something that BJJers have pontificated upon. Let’s examine some of these articles:
Georgette focused on how she’d been unintentionally rolling too rough and being too competitive. An article by Angry Grappler, called Ego and Jiu Jitsu, comes at it from the tapping angle: if you leave your ego at the door, it won’t matter how often or to whom you tap. Meg also connected the ego-less-ness with tapping and wrote about Excellence Through Fearlessness and came from the angle that when you tap to a lower belt THEY will still be able to respect you! The Jiu-Jitsu Fighter wrote an article about ego vs progressing and how Leaving Your Ego on the Edge of the Mat is a balancing act and that you should still revel in small victories. Grapple Arts featured an article by Tal Williams called The Way to Train, which talks about not being a douchebag and about not focusing solely on winning and losing.
For me, it comes down to definition: an inflated feeling of pride in your superiority to others. I think it comes down to being humble, how you treat your training partners, not being a sore loser, being approachable, and being okay to tap to people even if they are a lower belt than you. In the words of Wil Wheaton:
Everyone seems to have an opinion about what it means to “check your ego at the door,” so what does it mean to you? What does it mean to your academy? Do you have a favorite article to link (yeah, I’m talkin to you, Slidey!)?