I'm sure you know the feeling, you've just been caught in a rear-naked choke, and the world is slowly fading to black? I know I have been there, both in practice and in competition. More times than I care to count.

The benefits of losing in Jiu Jitsu are not immediately apparent when you're gasping for breath on the mat. But trust me, they're there.

Losing in BJJ

You see, every time you tap is a lesson learned; every loss makes us more resilient and aware of our weaknesses. Losing helps peel back layers that we didn't even realize were holding us back.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu isn't just about flexing muscles or who's got the coolest looking BJJ gi - it’s a complex technical game where technique triumphs over brute strength, where small guys can bring down giants with knowledge and skill alone. At least, that's what we've all been told, right?

Let's dive deeper into how embracing loss can actually sharpen your BJJ game.

Embracing Losses in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Accepting defeat is an integral part of progressing in your Jiu Jitsu journey, and can be a catalyst for honing one's skills. The first step? Learn how to truly embrace those losses.

No one steps onto the mat as a black belt. Every training session, every roll, every match - it's all about growth. Losing doesn't mean failure; instead, it reveals where you need more work.

If your guard gets passed easily or your takedowns aren’t landing during sparring with training partners - these are not signs to quit but signals for areas needing improvement. Your weaknesses only become apparent when they're tested against another person’s strength, which ultimately is the beauty of BJJ.

Building Resilience and Determination

In martial arts like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, resilience isn't just built physically, but mentally too. When you face defeat repeatedly yet return to the mats again and again and again - you develop a mental toughness that goes beyond weight division and belt rank, a mental toughness that can help you off the mats just as much as on the mats.

BJJ Competition

You'll learn quickly that success in this sport is less about avoiding loss than understanding its benefits. That tough purple belt who always seems unbeatable becomes less intimidating over time because losing helps build mental fortitude, a quality necessary for long-term success in any aspect of life.

Indeed, early failures are not the end of the road. A study by psychology experts at Stanford University revealed something surprising: those who stumbled and fell earlier in life actually reported feeling more satisfied with their lives later on. So, don't be disheartened by your setbacks; they might just be setting you up for a happier future.

Using Your Losses To Get Better at BJJ

In the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, losses hold a different meaning. They are not setbacks but rather chances to advance in skill. Each time you're submitted or lose a position, it's an opportunity for self-reflection and improvement.

A useful method is to maintain a training journal. After every training session, write down what was effective, what wasn't, and any noteworthy moments or techniques your opponents used against you. This will not only help you recall important details but also help you dissect what they did, helping you not only to think of ways to defend, but also how to use this technique yourself!

Also try to have conversations about any struggles with your professor or a higher belt who can offer their advice. They may highlight nuances you overlooked or suggest alternative approaches to defend against the techniques or situation.

Embracing the BJJ Community

BJJ Community Learning

Your training partners are essential for the growth and development of your Jiu Jitsu game. Rolling with different people exposes you to various styles and techniques, enhancing your skills. This diversity is advantageous because what may be effective against one person might not work against another.

While no one wants to consistently lose, the reality is that the more you lose the more you develop and adapt a versatile game. It also serves as a constant reminder that there is always room for improvement, regardless of your level of expertise. The BJJ community thrives on the exchange of knowledge, so every loss presents an opportunity to learn from those around you and gain valuable wisdom.


Losing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not just an unavoidable part of the journey; it is essential. Each tap brings valuable lessons and growth opportunities. By embracing these temporary defeats and maintaining a mindset focused on learning, you can transform setbacks into powerful tools for self-improvement, ultimately enhancing your BJJ skills.

Remember, in the world of BJJ, true victory lies not in never falling but in rising every time we are brought down.

January 30, 2024