Gustavo Dantas reflects on Masters Worlds experience to teach a valuable lesson

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Marcelo Melgaço vs. Gustavo Dantas. Photo: Ivan Trindade

Marcelo Melgaço vs. Gustavo Dantas. Photo: Ivan Trindade

Over the weekend of Nov. 1 & 2, Professor Gustavo Dantas of GMA GD Jiu-Jitsu was one of many who traveled to the Long Beach Pyramid to compete in the Masters Worlds. An avid competitor, leader of a strong team out of Arizona and promoter of mental training. The BJJ Mental Coach took to his blog to explain the outcome of his run at the Worlds.

While he didn’t get the gold, he has no shame or regrets in the performance he was able to have with the tools he had with him. He explains what is necessary in these tournaments and the correct mindset going into it, during it and after.

Check it out:

“Definition of movement: “An organized effort by supporters of a common goal”

First of all, I would like to congratulate all supporters of The BJJ Mental Coach® movement who competed at the 2014 World Masters Championship in Long Beach. I lost in my fourth and final match by one advantage and ended up with second place at the Black Belt/Feather/Master 2. It was not exactly the outcome that I had planned, but I can walk with my head up high and be in peace with myself, knowing that I did the best I could with the tools that I had during that moment. I made some tactical and strategic mistakes that I will have to review and then start working towards improvement.

But why did I call it The BJJ Mental Coach® movement? Because when you see competitors wearing a The BJJ Mental Coach® patch on their gis during competition, they BELIEVE in an idea:

“Always try to perform to the best of your ability and be your best self on and off the mat with the tools and knowledge that you have right now!”

The most frustrating feeling that a competitor can have (in my opinion) is the feeling that you lost to YOURSELF, when the nerves got the best of you and you didn’t perform to the best of your ability. I believe our losses are usually related to four key elements:

1-Technical mistakes

2-Physical conditioning

3-Tactical or strategic mistakes

4-Lack of mental preparation

The first three are easy to fix. The problem is the fourth one, the mental aspect. It takes a lot more work than people think to overcome it. You could have lost your match due to one key element, two, three, or even a combination of all four elements. The point is that when your nerves get the best of you, you are NOT being your best self on the mat, and it sucks! Trust me, I’ve been there many times. It doesn’t mean that you cannot WIN, though. That is not the point. The point is to perform just like you do in practice so you can truly be at peace with yourself. And the first step that helped me to overcome my mental blocks is actually the number one tip of my program, Inner Discovery for Outer Success:


You are who you are, NOT what you do. Winning or losing a tournament will not make you a better or worse worthwhile person. The fear of failure, the fear of disappointing others (your coach, teammates, and/or family members), the fear of being judged if you don’t meet others’ expectations of your performance—these feelings hold SO many competitors back from performing to the best of their ability and being their best self on the mat. (They held me back for a long time.)

Keep one thing in mind: people who really love you and care about you will be there for you no matter what, winning or losing. Don’t let fear control your performance and/or your life, preventing you from pursuing your personal goals, dreams, and aspirations that you might have and performing to the best of your ability ON and OFF the mat. That is right—we need to perform to the best of our abilities every day! We need to be the best parent that we can be, the best husband/wife, business owner and so forth. Become a champion ON and OFF the mat.

This year was a great competition year for me! I have zero complaints, just appreciation. I’ve learned SO much about Jiu-Jitsu and about myself, including an appreciation for being healthy, for all the supportive people in my life, for living my teenage dream of teaching Jiu-Jitsu, for living, and for living my life purpose 100%.”

Follow more valuable lessons from Gustavo Dantas at

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