Dealing with Depression, injuries and setbacks in BJJ

Practicing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is a physical and mental challenge but it is in this adversity we find purpose and happiness. Going to class connects us with our best friends, adversaries and a mentor- your coach.

Sadly this is not always the way. Some times a rough BJJ session where none of your techniques work and you get crushed physically can make you want to quit. Sometimes it's a freak accident and now you are severely injured and in pain, this takes you off the mats and potentially into surgery. It might even be a persistent mat bully who always tries to hurt you or insult you when you roll which can create anxiety around training and rolling.

Life already presents a lot of tough situations and when your BJJ happy place becomes a source of bad vibes and broken trust it can make you feel alone.

Whatever your situation, it is important to have a process to deal with times when you feel dark or negative and can't seem to shake it. Here are a couple of easy to action steps that you can try and see what works best for you:

  • Write it down- The simple act of writing your thoughts and feelings down on paper will help you to alleviate the burden weighing on you. The process of thinking about your challenges and putting them into words on a page literally helps create distance from those negative emotions and allows you to get some perspective on why you might be feeling that way. This doesn't have to have a structure, simply write as if you were just talking to a best friend and put your thoughts on the page.
  • Make Something- Having a creative outlet is one of the keys to counteracting stress. The act of creating something; gardening, painting, cooking, video games or even sewing can put your mind into an entirely new space giving it a break from your daily worries. Lots of people are under the impression that being creative is inbuilt and you either have it or you don't, but this is not true. The act of being creative can be expressed in many different ways and serves as a form of mental play that has nothing to do with expectation or pressure to perform. You are simply doing it for pure enjoyment. This is the antidote to stress that we are missing in our day to day routines.
  • Talk it out - There is great power in getting something off your chest by talking to a good friend or professional therapist. Depending on your cultural up bringing this might be frowned on. The culture of BJJ is one of toughness and it is a common misconception that if you need to talk to a psychologist then you must be crazy, which is totally wrong. Whenever you struggle with any task asking for help is a clear sign of self awareness and humility. We all need help from time to time and speaking with someone who can give you some tools to deal with your challenges has a double benefit. You are able to off load your burden and then receive advice on how to work through the way you are feeling.

If you struggle with dark or painful emotions that you find hard to share or even admit to I am right there with you. We all deal with loss, grief, anger and anxiety at some point in our lives. Know that you can get through it and having a process that isn't numbing out with drugs is important. BJJ can be a source of great joy but it can also add excess load to what you are already going through.

Writing it down, having a creative outlet and talking about how you feel are some of the best ways to get you feeling better and know that you have a solution to over come your challenges.


Program Updates are coming in hot.

Keep an eye out for a refresh of the Mobility program and a restructure in Standards. Based on the feed back we have received and our own testing and training we feel there needs to be some tweaks and reordering.

We love that you let us know what's working for you but also honest enough to let us know what's not. The Bulletproof for BJJ program is evolving and we want to make sure that it is the best expression of what we know works as coaches, which also best delivers what you need.

You will notice these updates as they occur in real time, expect to see them in the coming months. Let us know what you think by replying to this email