Month: March 2013
Grappling is a smash-mouth activity. It is a put your beer down and let’s settle this type of martial art. Man vs. man, woman vs. man, child vs. man, it is one of the ultimate ‘prove it’ combat sports. Yet, once you get past the rough and challenging aspect of submission wrestling it’s easy to see that grappling is much more than that. It is also a very cerebral activity.
Psychology is the study of mental processes and behaviors. By studying our psyches we hope to learn how to successfully navigate our world and become more capable in our endeavors. As the goal of theory is explanatory and predictive power, using psychology theories can help us to understand some of the existential questions behind our art and can help us to create better models for training and success. In other instances, it is just plain fun to think about.
The application of psychology to submission wrestling is relatively new and in many cases non-existent, so this book is more of an exploration of what is possible. It covers a broad range of topics and doesn’t hesitate to introduce counterintuitive thought for the reader to ponder and digest.
“Psychology of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu” will whet your appetite to see how psychology can be applied to grappling and not just in a generic sports psychology sense.
Through the use of essay, “Psychology of BJJ” talks about what it’s like to be the new guy, problems with warm-ups, success by default, immersive environments, why you can’t always be nice in practice and even asks outright, “Are you happy?”
If that is not enough, it also discusses why you absolutely must not avoid better grapplers, tells you what type of grappler you are and why your team is just as important as your coach. Additionally, “Psychology of BJJ” delves into the unconscious mind and talks about easy ways to improve by taking simple steps you probably never thought about before. It also discusses quirky, but valid, psychological theory, based on new research that can make a difference in your grappling game.
According to a study conducted by Michael Kraus and David Chen (via BPS Research Digest), MMA fighters who smile at the “pre fight” matchups are “more likely” to lose their fight.
Coders for the study were asked to assess whether fighters were smiling during their pre fight matchups (without knowing the fighters or the outcome of the bout). Then the researchers studied UFC statistics and found that the smiling fighters were more likely to lose their fights. The results were not major, but enough to question if the findings have merit.
According to the BPS Research Digest, fighters who bared their teeth were “more likely” to be:
1) “Knocked down”
2) Wrestled to the mat; and
3) Hit more times
The fighters who hadn’t smiled were “more likely” to “excel and dominate” according to the BPS Digest article.
The article also stated that people who bet on fights tend to favor the non-smiling fighter as well. The researchers posit that smiling is a cue to the other fighter that you are submissive, lack aggressiveness and lack hostility.
I find this very interesting and wonder if it also applies to BJJ and submission grappling by default.
What are your thoughts?
BPS Article: Smiling Fighters are More Likely to Lose
Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling 101: How to Avoid being Bullied on the Mat, Grappling Games: BJJ & Submission Wrestlers, Tapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission Wrestlers, Grappling for Newbies, 20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the Mat, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.