One of the most beneficial aspects of Martial Arts is it’s endless ability to humble you. In a matter of minutes you can go from feeling like you are the best in the world to wondering if you belong. There’s also a carnal aspect to fighting in which a single mistake resulting in ultimate defeat (by submission or knockout) can make you reevaluate everything in your life. While the loss hurts, you must understand that it is part of the process of becoming your best version, how else will you be driven to be more disciplined, work harder or have a better mindset. Losing brings you to the realization that you never have it figured out, no matter how successful you are every fight is a new experience. While there are familiar aspects to a fight, the fighters, the rules, the tournament, the location, nature is in a constant process of evolution which demands that you change with it. Today in Rafael Lovato’s Jiu Jitsu seminar he shared four things that he focuses on before each fight, knowing that they all can change every tournament. They are: inspiration, your why, gratitude and happiness. He understands that there is a constant flow which causes these things to change frequently so by adapting his focus to that which needs the most attention he is able to bring his best. Of course we are all different, you have to find what works for you, but following the strategy of an MMA, ADCC and IBJJF legend is not a bad idea. Last night I swallowed the bitter pill of my first loss at black belt and while it still hurts (my elbow too literally) it revealed some very big areas to improve. One being that you must acknowledge how dangerous your opponent is at all times regardless of their skill level, everyone has a chance and last night my opponent took full advantage. My biggest takeaway is that no matter how good you are, stay humble, especially in the training room. And if you experience a hard loss which you will, remember that most things are in your mind so will yourself to get past it and improve. If you got the opportunity it’s because you belong there so take the loss and get back to improving. To experience the highest of highs we must experience the lowest of lows and that’s what makes the good times so beautiful. There is no limit to our strength and the only way to know is to try and try your best.