The sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is both physically and mentally challenging. In fact, many refer to jiu jitsu as physical chess! The beauty of this sport is that you can have the most talented physical traits, but it is quite possible to be beat by someone who understands the mental game.
In the early part of the 1990s, an excellent illustration of this can be seen in Royce Gracie and his jiu jitsu matches. He was always the smaller and less athletic guy, but he ended up winning UFC 1, 3, and 4. This was incredible, and it was obvious that he possessed abilities that his opponents could not defeat.
But what does this mean for you?
The mental game is just as important as the physical. Understand what you are good at and what you need to work on. Know those of your opponent as well. Lay out your jiu jitsu plan that is going to benefit what you are good at and prey on what your opponent is bad at. Then, all you have to do is make it happen.
For instance if you are not big, but are fast, you don’t want to get under a guy who is huge. If you weigh a lot, you will want to take advantage of this when you are on top of your opponent. If you have excellent arm bar submissions, you should keep doing them and get them to where they are unbeatable.
However, you don’t want to make the error of believing that you should only concentrate on your strengths. Your jiu jitsu foundation should always be as broad and deep as possible so you understand the full breadth of your art. Instead, use this as a motivator for actually thinking about how you approach competition and live training. By tapping into your mental skills, you will gain a huge advantage over a lot of your opponents.
My advice to you is to write down on a piece of paper: what you are good at, what you need to improve on, and the two techniques you intend to develop. Now practice the two you want to work on. And after every roll, see what falls under your strengths and weaknesses. Once these are written down you are committed, so hold yourself responsible for working on them.