The MMAU Blog

Developing the Competitive Mindset

There are five important mental qualities every athlete should have to be successful both on the mat and in competition.


1. Persistence

The ability to always move forward even in the face of setbacks.  Things don’t always go your way and it’s important to know how to move on and use the setbacks as learning experiences.

2. Positive Realism

It is impossible to be positive all the time, that’s just not how we work.  Positive realism is taking a negative situation, and making the most of it, but also being realistic.  This could even apply to not listening to the negative feedback your body is giving you when it is injured.  It may feel like a negative at first, but if it avoids further injury and you can jump back into training faster it’s a positive in the end.

3. Humility

In order to keep improving it is important to have a humble attitude, and be hungry to learn.  You must be confident, but realistic of your strengths and weaknesses and where you need to improve.  Humility is part of that internal fire an athlete must have to grow as a competitor.

4. Vulnerability

This may not always be a quality associated with mental toughness, but it is still important.  An athlete who has this quality is open about the wins, and loses.  They are able to take tough losses and learn from them in a constructive way.  This may entail being open to training in a different way or seeking help to bring the best out of yourself.

5. Lack of Regrets

One of the worst feelings next to loosing, is loosing and not feeling like you gave your absolute best.  Don’t get to the tournament and regret the amount you trained to prepare, and lack confidence to go for it, and give it your all.  Show up knowing you trained your heart out.

For other great articles like this you can visit the Atos HQ Blog here 

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Gui Mendes Talks Building An Army & What It Takes To Win!

Guilerme Mendes took the jiu-jitsu world by surprise in 2015 when after just winning his fourth World title be abruptly announced his retirement from the sport. Fast forward two years later and Gui Mendes is at the forefront of building one of the largest and most successful teams in the world.

The once star competitor has transformed his life in pursuit of building a juggernaut team to challenge for World titles every year. And has already had early success with up and coming athletes like Johnatha Alves, Tainan Dalpra, Sophie Flores & many more.

In this 20 minute deep dive with professor Gui Mendes you’ll learn some of the philosophies and practices that have made AoJ and the Mendes bros so successful. From dealing with competition anxiety to what makes a good coach, Gui leaves no stone unturned. Watch the full uncut interview below!

Check out the interview here at FloGrappling

Interview Notes:

1:00 – ‘What people think doesn’t matter’ Gui talks preparing mentally for a competition.

4:04 – ‘The more you enjoy the process, the better you get.’ Gui talks dealing with pressures of winning and how to overcome negative emotions.

6:02  – Gui talks building the right program. The differences between teaching different people from different walks of life. The biggest challenges facing professors.

8:10 – ‘The pleasure of coaching outweighs the pleasures of competing’ Gui talks seeing his students achieving their goals.

9:03 – Dealing with losing. A good coach knows the ups and downs of competition and prepares his/her students accordingly.

11:27 – Gui and Rafa are now both dedicating 100% of their efforts to the team and school. How will this affect AoJ moving forward?

13:13 – ‘The thought of being a World Champion doesn’t motivate me like it used to.’ Gui talks shifting his focus and creating a new stage in life.

17:42 – To train or not to train? How to prepare mentally and physically the week of a competition.

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Why it is Important to Train Both Gi and No-Gi

Check out this great article from Atos HQ on the importance of training both Gi and No-Gi

You learn how to apply insane pressure (No-Gi)

When you train no-gi you do not have any material to rely on when trying to control your opponent with pressure, as a result you learn what it takes to apply the pressure correctly in order to get into an advantageous position and hold them there.  It takes a lot of isometric strength to do this and you will see huge improvements in that type of strength by training no-gi.  No-gi accentuates any time that you are too loose with your positions or you get sloppy so you can correct these mistakes in your techniques.  All of this will translate perfectly into making your gi game stronger, and your ability to control your opponent will improve immensely.

You’ll develop quick reflexes (No-Gi)

No-gi is a much faster pace fight because you do not have the ability to grip your opponent’s gi and tie them up to slow them down.  You have no choice but to act quickly and instinctively or opportunities will pass you by, and your training partner will get a step ahead of you.  Movements you’ve practiced will become second nature and you’ll develop quick reflexes, which will directly translate into your gi game.

You’ll develop strong grips (Gi)

It is essential for any Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete to have extremely strong grips, by training gi you develop these unbreakable grips.  The constant grabbing and pulling of the gi will help your grip strength and endurance, which will add to the power and strength of your no gi grips as well.  Even though the grips in no-gi are different and you’re grabbing the wrist instead of the sleeve it’s still directly improves the development of your grip strength.

You’ll have excellent escapes (Gi)

None of us want to ever get in a bad position but it happens and when it does you have to know how to escape.  The friction of the gi makes it much more difficult to escape a bad position which forces you to know the correct technique.  When you are confident with your escapes you’ll be more willing to attack because you know how to get back into a good position.  If your escapes are sharp in gi you’ll have no problem in no-gi.

You’ll have a deeper knowledge of BJJ techniques (Gi)

Gi is much more technical then no-gi because of all the grip options and complex guards that have evolved over the years.  This in turn forces you to develop a more technical game so that you can stay one step ahead of your opponent.  It is important to develop this base Jiu Jitsu because it will make the transition to no-gi much easier and put you ahead of the game.

You’ll be well prepared in any self defense scenario

If you get into a sticky situation in the real world and you need to put your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills to the test you will be fully prepared for any self defense scenario if you have been training both gi and no-gi.  If they are wearing a jacket you have your gi grips and you can calmly handle the situation.  When the grips aren’t there you still know what to do and you can easily be explosive and act on instinct thanks to your no-gi training.

You’ll have the most well rounded take down game

A lot of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners like to pull guard and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it is important to be well rounded and know take downs too.  In gi judo style take downs are more popular and in no-gi it’s usually all wrestling style take downs.  However, both styles transition well into either gi or no-gi and it’s important to be familiar with both.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu matches always start from the feet so do yourself a favor and get comfortable on your feet so you can be prepared for anything.

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How to Avoid Injuries as a White Belt

It is hard when you first start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to know how to protect your body from injury.  Everything is so new, and every movement feels awkward and counter intuitive.  However, it is important to develop body awareness not only for your own safety, but for your training partner as well.  One of the most common ways a beginner sustains an injury is simply because they don’t know what movements put their body in danger.

Another common cause is lack of conditioning.  Strength training along with Jiu Jitsu is extremely important for injury prevention.  If a beginner is not conditioned, and they get arm bared or something gets tweaked the muscles may not be developed enough yet to protect it.  As you practice BJJ more and begin supplementing your training with strength training your body adapts, and is better able to handle these sticky situations.  It is important to give your body time to adapt, and not let your ego get in the way.  If you get caught in an arm bar in training don’t be a hero, and see how long your arm can last before it pops.  Tap and live to train another day, instead of being forced to sit on the side lines for weeks due to a hyper extended elbow.  You’re a beginner, you have so much to learn, so take the opportunity to ask questions after the roll about how to escape the arm bar correctly, or how to not get caught in it in the first place.  Enjoy your Jiu Jitsu journey, and soak up all the knowledge you can, by learning techniques rather than just hulking out of a bad situation risking injury to yourself, or your training partner.

We have a plethora of knowledgeable, and successful Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes.  The instructors are here ready to teach you valuable techniques and answer any questions you have, so take advantage of the opportunity to learn under them

Check out more great articles like this at Atos HQ

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Training

Many of us are not able to train as much as we may like because of other responsibilities, so it’s important to make the most of every session.  Even if its just an extra 30 minutes of drilling before or after class it adds up and makes a huge difference.  It’s helpful to pay attention during your rolls, so you know where your weak points are, and where you need to plug holes in your game.  A lot of people find that drilling is also extremely helpful to make techniques more automatic, and to improve new techniques you want to add into your arsenal. Here are a few ways you can optimize every training session.

Train Gi and No Gi:

Many BJJ athletes favor either gi or no gi but it is important to train both if you want to be well rounded.  Each will help to improve the other in ways you may not even realize until you start training both styles.  Many times the style or technique we avoid is the one we’re not as good at, which means it’s the one we need to work on the most.

Train both sides:

There is a typical side everyone passes and plays guard towards which makes things more predictable.  Throw off your training partners by practicing passing to the other side and playing guard to the less popular side.  It will help you not be so lopsided and make you less predictable.  If you don’t want to do the same sweeps to both sides at least have something you like to do on the non dominant side, and the same applies to passing.

Don’t waste a single minute:

Jiu Jitsu is such a complicated sport with an overwhelming amount of techniques.  Make it easier on yourself and keep a journal of what you do every single day.  Write down the technique you covered in class, things you drilled or want to drill, and the problems you run into while sparing.  Don’t waste a single minute of mat time by lackadaisically going through class.  The faster you address the problems in your game the faster you can fix them and improve your Jiu Jitsu.











Start a spare with your weakest position:

If you are terrible at back control, drill back retention techniques and do specific sparing from the back.  Do not avoid a position when you don’t know what to do or you’re not good at it because one day you may be put there, and you need to have an answer for it.  You will never improve a weak position if you don’t practice it and address the problem.


When you come into class be ready to engage your mind, and push out any other distractions.  Jiu Jitsu is definitely a physical sport, but its very much a mental sport as well.  If you are not focused the class will pass you by before you know it, and you won’t retain the things you’ve learn.  This is where the notebook can come in handy if you have trouble remembering techniques, or if you are a kinesthetic learner grab a partner and drill the technique after class.

Make your spars count:

Make a conscious effort to remember what happens in your spars, positive or negative.  The people you spar with can also have a huge effect on the rate you improve.  Don’t always pick the easy rolls that don’t push you to that next level.  Pick someone who is at the same level as you to test your threshold and make it a tough back and forth fight, then pick someone who is better then you who will challenge you and find the holes in your game.  Use the easy rolls as a chance to work on your offense, sharpen timing, and drill new techniques.  Don’t let yourself be lazy when you’re rolling with a lower belt or you’re wasting time.


Enjoy your Jiu Jitsu journey!  Every loss and every win will teach you something, and every class is a chance to bring your game to the next level.

To check out more great articles like this visit Atos HQ

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BJJ 101 Workshop

New to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and don’t know the difference between an armbar and a apple ? We have you covered. In a group setting we’ll cover basic BJJ drills, techniques, and defences, plus a handful of other tips that will make your first BJJ class a success.

BJJ 101 is designed for someone who always wanted to try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but never knew where to start. We encourage all levels and ages and their is no pre-requisite to sign up.

The BJJ 101 workshop will have a 50 person limit so reserve your spot today!


Click here to sign up!!

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