Few things can protect you the way confidence can. When we see someone who’s insecure or afraid, it shows, and there are many people out there who don’t think twice about exploiting these personal weaknesses.

Time and time again, I’ve heard Master Marcus talk about confidence and the power of belief. How believing in the school curriculum will help you improve your jiu-jitsu. And how it’ll teach you that you’re a capable, teachable person. They sound like simple lessons, but so many of us don’t believe in ourselves enough, and this leaves us open to becoming the potential targets of others.

That’s why Master Marcus has made instilling confidence in his students one of his top priorities. He wants people to know that eventually (with enough training), they won’t be at the mercy of anyone, ever again.

But what do people do in the meantime? It takes years of constant training and dedication to become a black belt, and as we all know, life sometimes gets in the way.

His answer?



“It’s like a shield,” Master Marcus said. “If you’re not confident, people can smell the fear on you.”

Once, years ago, when out having fun, Master Marcus recounted a story about a man who approached him at a bar.

“The guy was huge, totally drunk,” Master Marcus said. “He turned to me and said, I don’t like you. I don’t like your face. You could tell he was trying to intimidate me because I wasn’t as big as him.”

Master Marcus kept his cool and asked the man why he didn’t like him. He kept responding with calm, measured answers, until the other man realized, (drunk as he was), that he wasn’t going to scare away so easily.

Not interested in picking an actual fight, the man walked away.


The moral of the story is that jiu-jitsu gives you the means to walk the talk, but confidence and peaceful resistance should always be your first means of defense. And not just for moral reasons, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu prides itself on economy of movement. Less is always more.

One of the most important questions to solve for in the sport is: How can I escape with the least amount of effort? It’s silly to fight when you don’t have to, because after all, setting a bruised ego is much easier than setting a broken bone.

That said, you’re always entitled to peacefully stand your ground, and jiu-jitsu will help you achieve this, because it’s a sport that naturally tempers your instinct to panic. Once you’ve spent some time on the mat feeling the bodily pressure that people can exert on you, you’ll realize that you’ll still be standing once the match is over, and with this realization comes clarity. Better clarity leads to better judgement, and good judgement can help you avoid dangerous situations.

But on another note, it’s important to remember that as martial artists, just because you know how to fight, doesn’t mean that you’re above the law, even if in the grand scheme of things, you were technically in the right.

Fighting because you can is folly. Fighting because you have to is unfortunate. And preventing someone from getting hurt? That’s what it’s all about.

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