We tend to think that successful jiu-jitsu athletes are born with triumph in their DNA, when, in fact, we are facing ordinary minds with greater training and use of their cognitive skills, as well as being better at planning and optimizing their training!

Improving brain performance is a growing demand in modern society, not only for the pursuit of “successful” status but mainly to ensure a better ability to handle new information quickly and accurately, generating high-performance actions and thoughts in the most diverse aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. New BJJ techniques, new physical training, and new counterattacks for example.

In the last 10 years, researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have realized that there is a small set of cognitive skills that play a relevant role in our performance. However, these are not skills we are born with or will never have.

For them, these talents are trainable, allowing their expansion or polishing in the search for functional gains for the life and training routine of each athlete.

In line with that, Four main mental skills of super successful people were highlighted, and below we separate some ideas on how to practice them daily to achieve your BJJ goals. Check out!


Executive function

Your executive function oversees some important processes in your brain: First, there’s your mental flexibility or your ability to play with different or abstract ideas (creativity). Then there’s working memory, which is the ability to use existing information to solve a problem (pass someone’s guard or sweep your opponent). Lastly, self-control guarantees mastery over your own impulses, emotions and passions; control over yourself.

Fortunately, the executive function appears to be a trainable mental skill, as children are not born with these skills, but with the potential to develop them.

“Executive function skills increase our potential for success as we are better organized, able to solve problems that require training, and prepared to adapt to changing circumstances.”


Emotional self-regulation

It was Viktor Frankl, Ph.D., a Holocaust survivor who studied how to extract personal meaning from suffering and trauma, who said, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.”. In our answer is our growth and our freedom.”

We can interpret the “space” of Frankl’s quote as a place to exercise emotional self-regulation. In this space between stimulus and response, we have a choice to make. What we do in this space determines our future. Learning how to manage your emotions and thoughts in this critical space is where “our growth and our freedom” resides.

From the research, it is concluded that high emotional self-regulation is linked to self-control in uncomfortable situations. And the famous saying: stay comfortable under the pressure. And, unlike other mental abilities, emotional self-regulation doesn’t seem to decline with age. In fact, older adults outperformed younger adults and children in emotional self-regulation, implying that it’s a skill that takes practice.



Learning is the ability to find something new and make it a part of you – whether as a memory, a fact, or a skill. DRILL TO WIN. DRILL AS MUCH AS YOU CAN! Create muscle memory. Memory is the ability to extract something you learned or knew in the past.

Being able to learn and remember quickly is paramount for athletes to perform well during fights. Fortunately, memory and learning are very trainable skills.



Where learning and memory help us play defense, creativity helps us play attack. Creativity is linked to what we value most as humans. For simplicity, let’s call creativity the ability to produce new and useful things. That’s why Jiu-Jitsu never gets old. New moves and new defenses are created almost literally every day.

When we think of greats who have made a difference over time, we often think of their creativity and perseverance.

Charles Darwin published about 120 scholarly articles. Albert Einstein published about 250 articles. Pablo Picasso is credited with over 20,000 paintings, sculptures, and drawings. Creativity was what fueled the work of these minds, now considered geniuses.

After all, getting into a state of flow, also known as being “in the zone,” is an inherently pleasurable experience. It is a concentrated joy, a sense of being immersed, fully absorbed, and with an energized focus. It’s a common feeling when you’re at the height of your creativity. The flow state is when BJJ students perform BJJ movements naturally.


Now that you know the strengths of successful minds in BJJ, start to identify which strengths you already have and which need to improve to reach your maximum cognitive performance. Gracie Sydney Staff will always be available to support you to achieve your goals!



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