the 300 spartans were losers

In training and in competition, there are the things you can control and the things you cannot.

You can control most of your training, arranging your schedule and finances, diet, pre-class or tourney checklist, the breaks you take in class and the questions you ask. To assume that we can’t control the things that we can is already half defeated. Your opponent has those same opportunities to control those same aspects in his or her life. Control what you can…this you can be judged on, because this is you and who you are.

But also, to attempt to control the things we can’t, is as harmful. You can’t control MOST things in life, the scale used for weigh-ins, the tournament venue temperature, who’s in your division and how well he’s prepared himself. And most of all, you can’t control who’s hand is raised at the end of your match. Thinking you can control these aspects is a waste of time and energy that could be spent on controlling what you CAN.

The idea is to find what you CAN control and dominate these areas, even as how you react to those things you CANNOT control. Leave what you CANNOT to fate and adjust afterwards.

Nobody remembers the 300 Spartans because they won. They were remembered on how they carried themselves up to and during their final moments, in a state of constant preparation and sacrifice. Not by their overwhelming loss are they remembered and revered, that was outside their control.  But by how they carried themselves, even if the face of certain defeat. All that could be done within their control was done…THIS they had control over, and they mastered it. The rest was outside their control and for that reason, was irrelevent and meant nothing to them in that moment.

In competition, knowing what you can and cannot control can alleviate a lot of crippling pressure to win.  When you know you’ve done your preparation, made your sacrifices, and planned all you could, the work has been done. You’ll meet your opponent who’s done the same. You’ll both leave it all out there, on the mat, the rest is out of your control.
Master what you can control, it IS your’s. The rest is for people that keep score.

Published by: neutralgroundbjj

Jon Friedland here, finally putting some of my thoughts to type. I've been training the better part of 20 years, receiving my black belt in 2007. I’m a 10-year dojo owner and head instructor of Brazilian Jiujitsu. Started training Jiujitsu casually in early 1995, formally in 1997. Teaching BJJ since 2000, i received my black belt in 2007, opened my academy, Neutral Ground, in 2005, am the head instructor, and am currently a 2nd degree black belt under Master Pedro Sauer.

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