The Worst Grappler On The Mat

I don’t think I submitted any of my training partners for my first year of live rolling.  My gym was very “sink or swim”, and I was sinking like a cannonball.  Today I am one of the highest ranked belts at that same school.  I realize now that being the worst grappler on the mat actually gave me a huge advantage in the long run.The Worst Grappler On The Mat - Help

Starter checklist on improving — (How to stop being the worst grappler on the mat).

1.) The only key to succeeding at Jiu Jitsu is “Don’t Quit.”  Be consistent, no matter what. The fact that I lacked coordination or ambition or competitive drive actually made it so I started so low that I had a ton of room for improvement.  This constant improvement kept me motivated for the long haul with low expectations which I constantly exceeded.  Remember, some days you just won’t really feel like training, but figuring out a way to push through and train anyways is part of the needed growth.

 2.) Don’t worry about being the best every night, just be better than you were the night before. Stay focused on your training.  Improvement doesn’t just come to you, you have to pursue it.  One of the keys to this is to make sure that you are always consciously working on something until you begin to master it.

3.)  Set small manageable and achievable milestones for yourself.  I never let the idea that a submission is a win, be MY definition of a win for myself.  I determine what success means and then pursue it.

For example:

The second day. –  If I can just do the shrimping line drills without wanting to puke, that is a huge win!  

A month in. – When that 2 stripe white belt only tapped me 5 times instead of the usual 7 I know my defense is improving.

A few months in. – I actually escaped a blue belt’s side control.  I am getting more technical

4.) It is YOUR journey. Every person develops their jiu jitsu in their own way.  In many ways when you train Jiu Jitsu you are your own coach on a micro level.  My professor teaches techniques but I am the one who determines what I need to improve or combine to develop my game or mentality.

My default mode was getting crushed every single roll and so when I stopped getting destroyed it felt like a big accomplishment.

Exhausted After Jiu Jitsu Training

The depth of each lesson you learn is going to be much greater than the person who just “got it easy.”  In no time you’ll be One Of The Best Grapplers On The Mat.


  1. Ryan C

    Dude! Great write up, well thought out, great advice and it reads really easy. keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks! I am trying to get some of these concepts I find myself repeating to other students down on paper. Should have at least one a week coming out so stay tuned.

  3. Anonymous

    Thoroughly enjoyed the read! Great insight in this, and your last article. Can’t wait for more to come.

    1. Thanks. I will keep them coming.

  4. Lowry

    I’ve been keeping up with your articles, and this is another solid one! Even though I started bjj with the “fail 1000 times and stay positive” mentality, a loss on the mats can be really discouraging. #2 on your checklist is what keeps me coming back.
    Thanks for the advice!

    1. Thank you so much. It’s awesome to hear about the parts that mean something to each individual!

  5. Keri

    Encouraging. Thanks!

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