Jiu-Jitsu Benefits of Mental Training and Technique Adaptation

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1 – Introduction

Jiu-jitsu is a sport that has achieved new followers increasingly around the world. Also I has being one

of the most obtained growth especially in recent decades.

Similarly, the number of people seeking the sport have grown substantially not only in Brazil, but

worldwide, becoming more and more a sport of great popularity (ANDRADE et al., 2014). In order that,

It is observed that the Jiu-jitsu competitions are becoming very common even in other countries, like

the United States where the sport has gained more followers significantly.

Being considered a huge competitive sport, it is importance to consider that is not only about

physical ability and knowledge that can make the difference to win from one practitioner to another

like it is in many other sports. As It is also not only about of physical condition and technique that are

responsible for the good results and the differential of an athlete in order to obtain success or failure.

According to Oliveira (2015), scientific evidence points to the fact that the athletes who are

most successful in this and in other sports are those that differ from the psychological point of view. As

well according to Adhikari et al. (2014), the performance in a given sport is not dependent on just the

physical attributes, involving emotional aspects. In this way, it is of the utmost importance to get to

know each other psychic aspects, biological, physical and governing in highly competitive sports. One of

the important thing is to become mental prepare and this is a point to be recognised by sport coaches.

(MARQUES; GARCIA, 2006). From those initial considerations, this study has the objective to understand

the advantages and benefits that can be achieved through mental training among individuals who

practice the so-called high competition sports with the aim of promoting high performance in athletes

who are practitioners of jiu-jitsu mode.

Thus, this study aims to highlight the importance and the benefits of mental training aiming to

promote high performance in athletes who practice jiu-jitsu.

2 – Motivation factor and its importance within the sport of competition

Motivation can be understood as the struggle for the potential self-realization that each one

brings within itself. Being motivated means taking on a commitment to everything that promotes the

achievement of goals that leads to the full personal and professional development (WERTHER, 1983).

Maslow (1954) defined that the given individual behavior is driven by the searching for the

satisfaction of a particular requirement – thus known this theory as Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs-that

coexist with various other requirements which is in that particular time manifesting more clear and

intense. This need appears, for your time, after the satisfaction of other previous needs.The needs have

valued or emergency character from two basic principles:

– Dominance: when a most basic need has not been satisfied so other needs will not be able to

organize the behavior of the individual;

– Emergency: when a need is satisfied, other emerges toward the top of the hierarchy of needs

might be met.

According to Brown et al (2017), motivation within the sport is characterized as a driving force

towards a goal, being this one of the most studied psychological factors in sport because it identifies

several factors related to the practice of certain physical exercises. Likewise, also in view of Forbes

(2006), motivation is the process responsible for the intensity, direction and persistence of a person’s

efforts to achieve a certain goal.

The satisfaction of needs created by stimuli that lead to imbalances is essential in the concept of

motivation. Werther (1983), says that motivation remains where it is able to fulfill what is

predetermined to do.Therefore, it is necessary that the person knows, as accurately as possible, what

you really want in your professional life.

3 – Neural aspect of repetition technique

The neuroscience community already knows enough time the biological impact of the expansion

of experience, the brain processes the experience to code the learn and create performance capacity.

The so-called mirror neurons make up this system helping the speed and accuracy of our perceptions

and actions in objects simulating our environment mentally. This means that the repetition of a certain

technique to improve the accuracy and speed of movement also helps us mental simulation of motion

thus creating opportunity to create new techniques from the trained technique.

In other words, imagine that you have trained the repetition of a projection, for example:

"Ippon Seoi Nage" and from "X" number of retries your brain starts to look the best opportunity

mentally to enter the blow in the fight accentuating your precision. Also You feel that your speed in

implementing the coup has evolved and now you get to see new ways for applying the coup as different

positions of the “footprints”, and that change the application of the original technique. An adaptation of

the position for your body or your "fight mode".

4 – Mental Images (Mental Training)

Also quite interesting about this area are the mental images. The so-called “mirror neurons” are

responsible for learning through observation and mental images. For example: you are trying to play the

same projection "Ippon Seoi Nage" only this time mentally, this is a very useful way for a training where

you had acquired new skills. And used by many professional athletes and artists. Imagine yourself by

applying a determined second movement studies to show that there are positive results for the

evolution of the movement. The mental training seeks to influence the thoughts and the

representations of the athletes to achieve the goal of improving the performance by learning of new

motor skills according to Richard.Magill (2000).

Magill explains that one of the big advantages of this type of training applies when the motor

learning involves high degree of cognitive activities (cognition involves several factors as thought:

language, perception, memory, reasoning, etc., which are part of the intellectual development) since

that cognitive activity learned is related to what to do with this new task applied in the sport in

question. The mental training will help in the answers pertaining to performance without the pressure

accompanying physical performance ability. Also it help in the strategy consolidation and error


Gisela S Franco (2000) – A movement imagined and replayed mentally produces micro

contractions which in your time cause a significant improvement of neuromuscular coordination. And

consequently, an improvement of neuromuscular coordination.

5 – Mental training and their applications in sports

The mental training originated from cognitive psychology, and It has the main objective to

promote the best results through exercises and purely mental representations (SOUZA; PATRICIA, 2004).

Fernandes (2014) has pointed out that the mental training contributes to the development and

improvement of concentration on capabilities of a given task. In the vision of Sharma and Patricia (2004)

this training can bring good results to the athletes performance contributing odd way in defining the

best strategy to be used and also providing the correction of any errors that may be still present in the

sport. So this technique may become a useful tool to learn. It is necessary to be part of the schedule of

development (physical, technical or tactical). Your practitioner provides a psychological preparation, and

confidence, fear, anxiety, development that are directly associated with the transformation of what to

do or learn a new skill. This time, the mental skills training refers to the procedures that enhance the

ability of the athlete to use your mind to achieve effectively the goals in the sport (FERNANDES, 2014).

When performing a mental training aiming to avoid the mental block during tennis matches, the tennis

player will be able to develop your competitive capability better. The use of mental training values the

field of attention and concentration more than other abilities, which seeks a solid foundation for self-

reliance (GODTSFRIEDT et al., 2014). Franco (2000) stated that when performing an early preview of a

particular movement only in the individual mind it is capable of producing micro-contractions that for

your time causes a significant coordination of muscles, nerves and reactions improvement. Practice this

technique is to explore the unlimited potential that exists within every tennis player. This training can be

accomplished through the attention in tennis and also through training of imagination (GODTSFRIEDT et

al., 2014). For Fernandes (2014), the mental training is applicable to any training method to optimize

learning conditions influenced by internal and external factors.

Marques and Gomes (2006) stated that some of the indications resulting from the literature

suggests the fact of mental visualization appear between the more used techniques joining the

traditional interventions directed at the stress and anxiety control ( relaxation training). the motivation

and commitment promotion in training and competitions (formulation of objectives) and stimulation of

patterns of positive thoughts and adjusted in the light of the requirements and problems posed by

sports activity (mental plans).According to Sharma and Patricia (2004) in each session of this technique,

it is possible to act in sensory systems in their four variables, named: the hearing, emotional, visual and


Fernandes (2014) stated that the mental training will not to be confused with meditation. It

"involves the mind in deep thought in such a way as to block the awareness of what’s going on with the

individual to HIS neighbourhood",but the mental training is a method that will make the individual focus

in depth on the purpose of the work.

6 – Mental training and their results among jiu-jitsu athletes

Magil (2000) Stated that the mental training is able to influence not only the thoughts, but also

the athletes representations with the goal of improving their performance by learning of new motor

skills. Marques et al. (2006) stated that, even if there are problems and difficulties in the plans

development of mental visualization, you need to check two things: mental training brings positive

impact on the ability of athletes which can show the specific situations of their mode stopping to make

sense that the best practitioners end up imposing their abilities or even if there is a lack of time and

opportunities to practice individually.

Spolzino and Gomes (2013) raised the theoretical aspects of jiu-jitsu and sought to evaluate of

biopsychosocial factors involving the practice of this modality. The authors have carried out searches in

the specialized literature on the subject, plus a field research in the São Paulo State academies. The

authors were able to conclude that this sport involves a whole preparation not only physical, but also

mental, where its practitioners present high degree of balance and harmonization. As well as spiritual at

the Marques et al. (2006) conclusion of there is the possibility of athletes being able to improve the

visualization capabilities in training and competitions and also the cognitive dimension.

7 – Discussion

Through this bibliographic survey was possible to observe that the theme of mental training is

still quite recent, specifically on your relationship with the sporting activities and sports in General. Still,

it was possible to observe that several studies addressing the use of the technique in certain sports, but

that the approach of the mental training, specifically in its use in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, is still a very recent

theme, with very few -or almost no- specific study that highlights this approaching between the studies

listed here. Also no studies have been found to bring the topic of the advantages of using mental

training in jiu-jitsu athletes, Although it was possible to observe that its use and benefits among the

practitioners of other modalities can also be transferred to achieve good results in this sport so common

and so widespread today worldwide.

By applying the knowledge and theories of mental training directly in jiu-jitsu, by being sure the

mental training will have important contributions to the response concerning the performance of much

more simple and hearty. Similarly, it will also help in the consolidation of the strategy, and decrease in

the probability of errors. Corroborating with the vision of Magil (2000), this technique does have major

contribution in improving the athlete performance, by learning new motor skills. One of the great

advantages of this type of training applies when the engine’s level ´ learning related to a high degree of

cognitive activities (cognition involves several factors as thought, language, perception, memory, the

reasoning, etc., that are part of the intellectual development) since that cognitive activity learned is

related to what to do with this new task applied in the sport in question. It Is also interesting the

relationship between the imagination of movement for the purpose of technical evolution with the

imagination of mental rotation. Rotational it is in manipulating an image in different rotational angles to

create representations visual and spatial images in new angles. Studies show that the construction and

manipulation of mental representations involves both representations of visual order as space can be

useful for an imaginatively creation or adaptation of techniques in the sport. Bringing this to jiu-jitsu we

can use the Rotational transformation to create new fighting positions or perfect techniques. It can be

seen that some professional jiu-jitsu athletes have already stated using this technique to create new

techniques of the fight, Rafael Mendes arrived to explain this concept practically in the video "Studying

& Creating New Techniques" (Art of Jiu Jitsu Academy). In other words, repetition of mental movement

can help Jiu-Jitsu athletes improve their performance in the sport by helping to correct, understand,

improve, improve response time at the time of actual application, and improve motor skill. Once the

mental repetition is used, the individual maximizes his training and evolution because it can be practiced

at rest times between the actual classic training, even without risk of injury as in the case of the classic


We can conclude from this study and include in the classic training an "intelligent" training plan

which it is not only about the repetition of physical movement in order to obtain results of high

performance and evolution in Jiu-jitsu, but there is also introduce mental training with numerous

advantages as already mentioned.

Sport evolutionary aspect and specific ability

Jiu-jitsu unlike other sports or martial arts has not stopped its evolution. it is clear that due to its

variable of situations within the fight the sport and martial art will not interrupt its evolution so soon.

Being very notorious the technical level difference of athletes of ten years bringing it to present; New

techniques are created almost daily at a pace never seen in other sports. Something that is easily

noticed in individual analyzes of professional jiu-jitsu athletes is the individual specific skills: the

"specialties". Due to the unique adaptive characteristics of jiu-jitsu, you will hardly find two athletes who

fight and make perfectly equal techniques because a number of factors such as biotype, strength,

endurance, flexibility and strategy, different from athlete to athlete.

Some established athletes are experts in certain techniques of jiu-jitsu and they have adapted to

themselves positions that have made them champions. And consequently, they evolved. The adaptive

capacity is not only seen on a professional level, but also the creation of new techniques or evolutions of

classical techniques.

8 – Conclusion

It is concluded that, although a shortage of studies addressing the theme of mental training for

jiu-jitsu athletes, this systematic is totally advantageous for athletes of this modality, representing a true

adaptation of the position for their body or their "mode of fighting ", obtaining still positive results for

the evolution of the movement through repetition, previous visualization and continuous form.

Study References

ANDRADE, A; CROCETTA, T B; SILVA, R B; CASAGRANDE, P de O; PRUNER, L; GALLO, S K A M; VIANA, M da S; ABREU, L C. Tempo de reação, motivação e caracterização sociodemográfica de atletas iniciantes de Jiu-Jitsu. R. Bras. Ci. e Mov.; 22(1): 119-129, 2014.

CASSETTARI, R.M.; GRAÇA, R.L. Fatores motivacionais de atletas amadores

de jiu-jitsu brasileiro na cidade de Criciúma. EFDeportes.com, Revista Digital, 19(193), 2014.

CASTANHO, G.K.F.; VIDUAL, M.B.P.; FERNANDES, P.T. Motivação para o consumo de suplementos nutricionais por praticantes de exercícios físicos. Conexões: Educ. Fís., Esporte e Saúde, Campinas: SP, 15(1): 92-108, jan./mar. 2017.

FERNANDES, R.B. O efeito do treinamento mental na aprendizagem do mortal grupado por trás no trampolim acrobático. Trabalho de Conclusão de Curso apresentado à Universidade Regional do Noroeste do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul, como avaliação parcial para obtenção do grau em Licenciatura e Bacharelado em Educação Física, Unijuí, Ijuí, RS, 44p., 2014.

FIGUEIREDO, J.F. Motivação e produtividade no trabalho: um estudo de caso na empresa tabacaria e presentes. Trabalho de Conclusão de Curso (Administração), UniCEUB, Centro Universitário de Brasília, DF, 44p., 2006.

FRANCO, G.S. Psicologia no Esporte e na Atividade Física. Editora Manole, 206p., 2000.

GODTSFRIEDT, J.; ANDRADE, A.; VASCONCELOS, D.I.C. Treinamento mental no tênis: revisão sistemática da literatura. Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Esporte, Florianópolis, 36(2): 577-586, 2014.

MAGIL, R.A. Aprendizagem Motora: Conceitos e Aplicações. Editora RA Blucher, 2000.

MARQUES, A.; GOMES, A.R. Avaliação da eficácia de um programa de treino de visualização mental num escalão de formação desportiva no basquetebol. Análise Psicológica, 4 (XXIV): 533-544, 2006.

OLIVEIRA, L.L.V. A influência da psicologia do esporte nos métodos de atuação de técnicos no desempenho competitivo de atletas de artes marciais. Trabalho de conclusão de curso (bacharelado – Educação Física) – Universidade Estadual Paulista, Instituto de

Biociências de Rio Claro, 34p., 2015.

SOUZA, F.D.; FIDALE, T.M.; REZENDE, F.N.; MEDEIROS, R.S. Jiu-jitsu: qual sua motivação? EFDeportes.com, Revista Digital. Buenos Aires, 16(165), 2012.

SOUZA, A.P.S.; SCALON, R.M. O treinamento mental como uma variável significativa na performance de atletas e na aprendizagem de habilidades motoras. EFDeportes, Revista digital, 10(75), 2004.

SPOLZINO, M.C.; GOMES, C. Caracterização teórica da filosofia Saikoo de Jiu-jitsu e das contribuições da psicologia desportiva na performance dos atletas. Revista Odontológica de Araçatuba, 34(2):39-44, Julho/Dezembro, 2013.



“Studying & Creating New Techniques” | Art of Jiu Jitsu Academy



Richard A. Magill Aprendizagem motora, conceitos e aplicações

Psicologia no Esporte e na Atividade Fisica Gisela Sartori Franco



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