This Is Every Martial Artist’s Worst Enemy

As a martial artist on the quest of continuous self-improvement, being able to accomplish one’s goals is of utmost importance. Nothing must stand in the way of achieving these goals, because it is how one is able to prove his/herself and to others that he/she is capable of becoming a great martial artist.

Unfortunately, the path to success is never straightforward. As martial artists, we will encounter many roadblocks that could prevent us from reaching our goals. The biggest roadblock we could face is our ego, and learning how to conquer it could bring us closer to fulfilling our goals.

Have you ever let your ego get the best of you during training? Here are some examples that show that you probably need to keep your ego in check:

  • You feel as if you are better than most people that you train with.
  • You don’t tap, even if the submission is clean.
  • You feel as if you know more than your instructor.
  • You let your anger get the best of you all the time.
  • You know exactly how many people you’ve tapped out in class.
  • You go hard even when your instructor asks you to use 50% strength.
  • You think you deserve a higher rank.

The thing is, when you train martial arts, your ego will constantly take a beating. No matter how far you get in your journey, there will always be someone to give you a hard time. However, the difference between someone who has been training for years and someone who has just started their journey is his/her willingness to accept defeat, learn from it, and move on.

It’s not easy for anyone to admit that they’ve lost or that they’re bad at a certain technique or two. After all, it shows that you aren’t good. But instead of thinking about it that way, why not think of it as — how could I use it to get better at martial arts?

Here are some other ways that could help you conquer your ego:

1) Remembering why you began your journey

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is also known as “Arte Suave” or “The Gentle Art”.

Our ego forces us to be motivated by rewards while our higher self tells us otherwise and wants us to learn from our mistakes. To conquer our ego, we should acknowledge every little step we’ve taken in our martial arts journey, especially the beginning. Think about why you started martial arts. Was it to lose weight? Start a new hobby? Change your lifestyle? The more you look back at what inspired you in the first place, the less expectations you’ll have of yourself.


2) Stop being so critical of yourself

Training the clinch is one of the most exhausting aspects of Muay Thai.

When we listen to our ego, we always expect to be rewarded for our actions. When we don’t achieve what we’ve set out to do, we feel disappointed, and sometimes this results in us giving up completely. Imagine what your martial arts journey would be like if you never experienced feeling down after a tough sparring session or mentally worn out after tapping out to your nemesis on the mats — you’d never experience the satisfaction that comes after these! Stop being so hard on yourself and enjoy your martial arts journey. Martial arts is all about humility and learning from experience – everyone makes mistakes!


3) Realizing that training is not a competition

Your ego will always force you to compare yourself with others. It will force you to think about your peers and their achievements, making you abandon your own, which could cause you to lose track of your goals. The more we compare ourselves to others, the more we feed our ego. This will make us feel inferior and incapable of doing better.

Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we should look deep within and ignore what our ego is forcing us to do. We will never be satisfied if we continue to do so. By directing all our energy into accomplishing our goals, we’ll be so much more productive and successful!


Remember, listening to our ego can be destructive because it forces us to believe that we are or aren’t better than our peers. Instead of listening to our ego and focusing on what everyone else is doing, perhaps we should take control of our ego and focus on becoming the best martial artists we can be.

More in Martial Arts

Also On Evolve