Why do my kids and I train Jiu-jitsu? (VIDEO)

Why do my kids and I train Jiu-jitsu? (VIDEO)

How does Jiu-Jitsu impact YOUR life?

GD Jiu-Jitsu Academy student, Robert Graham, started training five years ago when he was 42 years old, and in this video, recorded right after class on INSTAGRAM @GDJJACADEMY LIVE, he shares with you the impact of jiu-jitsu as a personal development tool for him and his kids. Robert is a purple belt and a very active competitor. Check it out!


How does Jiu-Jitsu impact your life? from Gustavo Dantas on Vimeo.



Jocko Willink, Gustavo & Dean Lister


The audio version of the review is available at

By Gustavo Dantas

Have you ever pictured how an adult Jiu-Jitsu theme park would look like to you?

If you love jiu-Jitsu, how does this scenario look to you?

You wake up at 8:00 am, have breakfast, take a jiu-jitsu class from a World Class Coach at 10:00 am, have a healthy lunch at 12:00 pm, then From 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm you can hang out in nature, water sports, take a nap, whatever you want.

At 4:00 pm you attend another class followed by a light dinner at 6:00 pm. Then you take one more class at 8:00 pm, followed by a light snack before bed, and repeat all over again in the next day!

That sounds exhausting, right? Well, this is what many of the five hundred attendees of the 2019 Origin USA Immersion Camp in Maine did from August 25th to the 31st. By the way, the event was sold out three months before the Camp!

You may say: “Gustavo, I’m too old for this man; I can’t keep up with that!”

Let me ask you this when you go to a theme park, do you have to go to all the rides and attractions? Maybe you do, perhaps you don’t, the same at the Origin Camp, multiple activities are available daily, and YOU pick what you want to ride.

Previous attendees and coaches who have been attending the Camp for the past eight years have one secret to “survive” the theme park: “Pace yourself!”

Many attendees told me: “During my first experience, I tried to ride everything all out on the first day; as a result, I couldn’t move the next day!LOL!”

Andre “Dedeco” Almeida, the co-owner of Origin and the co-promoter of the Camp told me:

“Gustavo, I tell the attendees: You have to listen to your body during Camp. If you need a break, then take a break. If you want to attend the seminar and don’t roll after, many people do that. You decide!”

Have you heard of the quote: “Consistency is the key to success”, well the Origin USA Immersion Camp is a clear example of that. Dedeco said:

“In 2012, the Camp had twenty-two attendees, and fifteen were my students.”

So since then, they started to grow, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, one-hundred to currently in 2019 reach five hundred attendees in a week camp divided into two blocks. Sunday through Wednesday, and Thursday through Sunday. Many attendees stay for the whole week!

Dedeco, Gustavo & Pete

I was very fortunate to be invited by Origin USA to be one of the guest experts of the event along with ADCC Champion Dean Lister, The former Navy Seal, Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt and Leadership expert, Jocko Willink, who is one of the co-owners of Origin, 6th Degree Black Belt Alexey Cruz, Former MMA Pro Fighter and 4th degree black belt Rafael Rebello, Pete Roberts, the co-founder of Origin and Andre “Dedeco” Almeida, whom I know since 1992 when we trained together as a blue belt in Brazil.

The Camp Laurel on Echo Lake is INCREDIBLE! Top-Notch! Everything you need to enjoy your Jiu-Jitsu Theme park is there. Three mat areas available 24 hours, great food, laundry, Outdoor activities, AND the community!

I cannot say enough good things about the culture and community that Origin USA has created. Great vibe with all kinds of people! You meet multiple entrepreneurs, firefighters, police officers, former and on-duty military, doctors, students, you name it! And all of them had one connection in common: Jiu-Jitsu.

Here is the definition of Immersion:

(Quote) “The act of immersing or the state of being immersed such as: instruction based on extensive exposure to surroundings or conditions that are native or pertinent to the object of study. ” (Unquote)

According to this definition, have you ever experienced Immersion before? If you did, regardless of the topic or subject, you understand that Immersion is about learning, growing, developing, and or strengthening relationships.

And I tell you what, I personally benefited from all of above and I was there for only four days, I couldn’t stay for the whole week due to prior commitments.

The classes were called “Breakout sessions”, and in a couple of occasions, I had the honor to teach with Dean Lister and Jocko Willink.

In one of the sessions, Dean, who speaks four languages, used a great analogy while teaching the white belts, he said:

“Imagine a scenario that you are learning a new language, like Spanish, for example, and today’s topic is ordering food in a restaurant, that is it. There are a lot more scenarios to learn, but this is what you will be working on right now.

Similar to jiu-jitsu, today we are working on just three options from the guard, that is it, there will be many many scenarios, situations, that eventually, if you keep studying you will be exposed to and you will learn, just like when you’re learning a new language. It takes time and practice.”

Dean, who is fluent in Portuguese, multiple times has immersed himself in Brazil to learn jiu-Jitsu and Portuguese. What he is saying is, don’t try to learn the whole dictionary at once, don’t try to learn one hundred things at the same time. A great analogy that I will use for sure.

On the last day of the Camp, I held a Mental Skills Training Q & A Session. Let me ask you the same question I asked the attendees:

“If you have ever competed before, have you ever left a tournament telling yourself: That was not me there, I did not perform the way I trained.”

Well, if your answer is no, chances are you haven’t competed enough in jiu-jitsu, and if your answer is YES, something was holding you back, and it’s your responsibility to find the root of the issue and deal with it.

Basically, that is what we talked about, what might be holding you back from performing to the best of your abilities, not only in jiu-jitsu, but also in your personal and professional life.

If you would like to know more about this topic, visit and watch for free the list of the “Top 10 Mental Mistakes BJJ Competitors Make and How to Avoid them”.

I also shared about the 501 C3 Nonprofit Organization Jiu-Jitsu Tribe, which I co-founded ten years. Our mission is to provide facility makeovers for social projects across the globe. In addition, we raise funds to support their necessary monthly expenses. This allows the tribe leaders to keep inspiring, impacting, and improving the lives of at-risk children and young adults of impoverished communities for free!

All proceeds of The BJJ Mental Coach® online courses sold at the site are 100% donated to the organization. You can also donate at

Someone asked me, “Gustavo, what did you think of the Camp, five stars?” I said: “Nah six stars!” I learned new moves, concepts, analogies, and I developed and or strengthened relationships during this short trip, and you can do the same next year.

In 2020, if you’re not only interested but committed to immersing yourself on extensive exposure to surroundings or conditions that are native or pertinent to the object of study, which is Jiu-Jitsu, sign up for the Camp early and you won’t regret.

For all the 2019 attendees, it was a pleasure to connect with you all, and special shout out to one of the hardcore The BJJ Mental Coach supporters, the brown belt Marshall Troy, who took the lessons from my videos and online courses, and utilized not only in Jiu-Jitsu, but specially in his personal and professional life!

Marshall & Gustavo

I hope to see you in 2020 Origin Community! OSS!


The Four “D”s of Success in Jiu-Jitsu & Life

The Four “D”s of Success in Jiu-Jitsu & Life

Robson Moura, Gustavo Dantas & Vitor “Shaolin”

The Four “D”s of Success.


What does success mean to you? On September 12th, 2015, I had the opportunity to travel to UK to be a spectator and coach at the Polaris Professional League in Cardiff, Wales and watch a very successful event. Polaris is a European organization that promoted its second edition with its card featuring eight matches (gi & no-gi) that included competitors from Brazil, Italy, Japan, USA and UK who competed in a submission only rules format with one fifteen-minute round, including my friends, idols and The BJJ Mental Coach®movement supporters Robson Moura (5x IBJJF Black Belt World Champion) and Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro (3x IBJJF Black Belt World Champion).


Why did I ask you: “What does success mean to you?” It’s because people have different perceptions of the meaning of success. The Hall of Fame UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden’s definition of success is on point:“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”


Robson and “Shaolin” don’t combine eight IBJJF Black Belt World titles by accident; they possess very unique quality, the four “D”s of success:







Robson and “Shaolin” own their very successful schools in Tampa, FL and New York City, NY. Both competitors have NOTHING to prove in their competition careers, but they still have the “itch” to compete despite their very busy schedules.


Besides owning his school in Tampa, FL, Robson has a crazy traveling schedule with a lot of seminars all over the World. He has one of the biggest Jiu-Jitsu associations in World, RMNU, twenty-seven years of training, and he still loves to challenge himself.


As far as “Shaolin” goes, there is one word to describe him perfectly: HUSTLER! Prior to the trip, I had the opportunity to share the content of my program “Inner Discovery for Outer Success” and speak for the first time in NYC to “Shaolin’s” students, and I was able to witness his madness!


The 3x World Champion is a human being like everyone else, he as a wife, three kids, two dogs and two cats (lol). Three times a week he wakes up at 4:30 AM, yes 4:30 AM! Drives from New Jersey to NYC and teaches multiple classes, including his first one at 6:00 AM, trains (Jiu-jitsu and Conditioning), and drives back to Jersey at the END of the day.


Even though I’m older than him, he has been my Jiu-jitsu role model since the 90’s. Being his teammate at Andre Pederneiras’ school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he set the bar very high of what “Hard Work” looks like to me.


Robson had a very tough fifteen-minute match against another legendary competitor, Baret Yoshida, a competitor that I had the opportunity to compete at the ADCC back in 2001. Robson had a very tight armbar, but Baret was able to fight out of it, and Baret was able to set up his signature crucifix move, but Robson was able to escape from it. It was a very technical match that ended in a draw.


“Shaolin” competed against the Japanese standout Daisuke Nakamura. After a few back and forth sweeps, “Shaolin” was able to take his back around the twelve-minute mark and finish from the back.


Even if Robson and “Shaolin” have lost their matches, I would have said that they succeeded in their endeavors of competing at Polaris. Despite their personal and professional responsibilities, they stick with the four “D”s of success: Discipline, Determination, Dedication and Desire. They were prepared technically, physically, strategically and especially MENTALLY. They know that they did the best they could with the tools and knowledge that they had at the moment. That is success! “Peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”


What about you? Do you possess the four “D”s of success? Not just to accomplish your goals on the mat, but MAINLY off the mat. The four “D”s of success concept is about mental toughness! It’s also about going after your goals and dreams, facing your fears and anxieties daily, being comfortable with uncomfortable situations, reaching your full potential and becoming the best version of yourself!


Learn to control your mind instead of letting your mind control you, and you will achieve the success YOU desire. OSS!


Gustavo Dantas


Gustavo Dantas, aka “The BJJ Mental Coach”, is a 5thdegree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Bel and the owner of GD Jiu-Jitsu Academyt. A World-class competitor and coach, Gustavo is a Certified Mental and Life Coach with a Physical Education degree, who help competitors to discover what is holding them back from performing to the best of their abilities and reaching their full potential. Gustavo has created the innovative program for BJJ Competitors called: “Inner Discovery for Outer Success. For more information on Gustavo’s DVD’s  please visit









Are you struggling to be your best self on the competition mat?

Are you struggling to be your best self on the competition mat?

By Gustavo Dantas

How many times have you felt frustrated and disappointed after a match, because you knew that you could have done so much better than what you have showed? You probably kept telling yourself: “That was not me there, I didn’t perform the way I practiced, I’m so much better than that!”Most likely without even realizing, you committed a Mental Mistake that influenced your performance.


Even though I accomplished good things in Jiu-Jitsu, I struggled to perform to best of my ability for a long time. Winning or losing is not the point here, but performing to the best of your ability and being your best self on the mat.


The reason why I mention that is not about the winning or the losing is because often times you can have a great performance and lose, or have a poor performance and win. That is why I believe your goal should be performing to the best of your abilities with the tools and knowledge that you have right now. Sometimes your best will be enough to win, sometimes it won’t, but at least you will be in peace with yourself knowing that you did the best you could.




Based on my thirty years of Jiu-Jitsu experience, I decided to list of “The Top 10 Mental Mistakes BJJ Competitors Make and How to avoid them.” These are Mental Mistakes that I personally made or my students have made, and I hope this list can help you to cope better with some of the mental mistakes that you might have made in your Jiu-jitsu journey.


The first three mistakes that I shared were:


Mistake #1– Focusing on the outcome

Mistake #2– Fear of disappointing others

Mistake #3– Fear of making costly mistakes


These three mistakes feed from each other, and if you don’t re-frame those thoughts you can get caught in a “vicious cycle”.


Very often competitors put some much focus on the outcome of the tournament that this mindset end up holding them back from being their best selves on the mat. The fear of disappointing others, like family, friends and teammates can produce a fear of making costly mistakesthat could lead to an undesired tournament outcome (a loss) and end up disappoint others. As you can see it’s really easy to get caught in the “vicious cycle”, with one mistake feeding the other.


How to snap out of the “vicious cycle”?


I’m going to share with you the three strategies to improve your thought process and snap out from this painful cycle.


1- Self-Awareness.Think about what you are thinking about. You need to catch yourself and stop immediately when you realize that are engaging in a irrational negative self-talk.


2- Challenge the thought.Take a deep breath and ask yourself: “What am I telling myself? Is this a rational or irrational thought totally based on assumptions?” Which means, Do I have control of it or not?


“What if I fail? What my friends and family will think about me?”


Do you have control of the outcome of the tournament? No.

Do you have control of the expectations the other might have of you? No.


The human being is born with only two types of fears: Fear of loud noises and fear of falling, every other fear YOU are creating in your own head.


Ask yourself: “Are these thoughts moving me away from my goal, or towards my goal?


3- Make a choice.Now that you are aware of your negative thoughts, you recognize what you can and/or cannot control, you need to make a choice.


Are you going to stick with the negative thoughts that are holding you back and/or moving you away from your goal?

OR you are going to re-frame the negative thought to positive, and move forward towards your goal.


Keep one thing in mind: “YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE, NOT WHAT YOU DO!” Winning or losing a tournament, it will not make you a better or worse worthwhile person. Don’t mix up your image as an athlete with your image as a person. Do not rely on the outcome of a tournament to feel good about yourself as a person, because you have no control of the outcome.


Anytime you focus on things that YOU cannot control it will lead to muscle tension, anxiety and most likely not performing to the best of your ability. I’m not saying that you can’t win being anxious, but you might have a hard time reaching your full potential and being your best self on the mat.


If you would like to know the other seven mental mistakes BJJ competitors make, please visit You can watch all ten videos or download the audio version as well.


Jiu-Jitsu is an INCREDIBLE personal development tool, and if you would like to AMPLIFY the power of this tool, competitions are a great way to do so!


Gustavo Dantas


Bouncing back from injuries in Jiu-Jitsu

Bouncing back from injuries in Jiu-Jitsu

Bouncing back from injuries


Imagine that you are at the top of your competition game. You’re getting positive results and everything is cruising along, when suddenly you break your hand, whether in competition or training…You might start thinking: “I won’t be able to perform/train in the sport that I love, this sucks, a minor set back, but I will be back, I will be ok”.


Then six months later, you tear the Anterior Crucial Ligament, the famous ACL in your knee, which requires surgery. If you’ve had any procedure done before you know it affects your energy, your mood, and anyone can get caught up in the negativity, uncertainty, and doubts. But in the beginning, you’re able to stay positive.


After complications with your first surgery, you go through with another surgery. The recovery time is about six to nine months. By now negative thoughts are starting to rush in. “Can I do this?”, “Will I be able to come back the same?”You keep working hard, being positive, you persevere and when you are about to compete again you tear your groin muscle. At this point, you ask yourself “what else?”


Three years go by, and you finally have a chance to compete again, and you win! You’re feeling so fulfilled that you were able to recover from three years of non –stop injuries and it happens again…

You tear your ACL on the OTHER knee. What would you do? Would you continue or would you stop?


This is the true story of current UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz. After so many setbacks, he came back and on January 17th, 2016 he defeated the former champion, TJ Dillashaw, also an amazing fighter, by split decision.



Some people may say: “Ah but he is a professional fighter AND that’s his job.”


Regardless of the level, pro or not, related to sports or not, the internal mental battle that this human being is going through has to be overwhelming.


If you are going through this right now or you know someone who might be going through a hard time mentally, it’s difficult building your confidence back. I’m going to share with you three key elements that Dominick Cruz utilized to overcome his major setbacks and hopefully these elements can help you or someone that you know to overcome theirs.


1-Focus on what you can control

“The fact can not be changed, only your response to the fact can be changed.” He accepted the fact that the injury happened, and the only way for him to get better was to focus on what he could control, which was his re-habilitation. An example of something that you can’t control is assumptions – “Am I ever going to get better?”


This will lead to anxiety and possibly depression. Do the best you can to turn your negative into a positive, which is the second key element.


2- Turn the negative into a positive situation.


Dominick utilized his downtime to work on himself internally. In an interview with Bleacher Report, he said: “I realized I needed to focus on other aspects of my life if I was ever going to fight or compete again, much less live a happy life,” shared Cruz


I imagine that his internal dialogue went something like this when it came to reframing his situation:


“This is terrible that I’m going through something like this. When will this ever end????”


When you start to work on yourself internally, you MUST recognize this inner dialogue. I’m sure Dominick started to reframe/reverse/backtrack this to the following:


It’s a learning experience for me to be going through these ups and downs. Life is hard and if you want something bad enough there will be tests to see how bad do you want this? I’ve learned so much about myself in the past few months. This is definitely a learning experience for me.”


I encourage YOU to start thinking differently. Reframe the “I should” to “I could” reframe the “I hope” to “I know” etc.


He also re-evaluated his beliefs, and whatever was good and was working he kept it, and whatever was not he re-framed and you should do the same.


Turn the negative situation into a positive. Utilize this time for self-reflection, ask yourself:


“What beliefs are helping me towards my injury recovery or in a bigger picture, towards living a fulfilling life?”


Identify those beliefs to make sure that you stick with them. Now ask:


“What beliefs are holding me back or moving me away from my injury recovery, or again in a bigger picture, holding me from even living a fulfilling life?”


What necessary changes and adjustments will be necessary in order to achieve the success you desire? That is why is so important to invest in yourself. Attend Personal Development seminars, listen to audiobooks and podcasts that share information about growth, read books, watch videos…anything that can give you more clarity on your vision. Like Tony Robbins says: “It doesn’t take long to change, what takes the longest is having the clarity to change it”, because when you do, you basically flip a switch and change beliefs all based on your experiences, positive or negative.


Your basic values such as integrity, trust, and honor don’t change. But opinions and beliefs change all the time. There are plenty of things that you used to believe but you had some experience, positive or negative, and you told a new story to yourself based on your current knowledge and values, and changed the belief or the idea.


Take this time to start brainwashing yourself.


“Gustavo, did you say brainwash myself?”


It’s all about perception. Brainwash can be bad, but it can be good. If you fill your mind up with a cluster of negative junk, yes it’s a bad brainwash, but what about if you brainwash yourself with positive information. Your mindset will change for the better, and you will build your self-confidence and believe that you can overcome all obstacles and adversities, which is the third key element.


3- Believe.


Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. We all believe in the stories we tell ourselves.


Imagine you are recovering from injuries, you’re going through your internal battles, and suddenly you start to receive twitter messages like:


“You can’t do anything, your knees are too thin, you won’t be back”.


People, who have no level of empathy, have no clue or self-awareness of what it’s like to be in their shoes for the day.


Would you go this far out of the way to offend someone?


The good thing is that Dominick didn’t hear the stories that others were trying to tell him, he believed in the positive stories that HE was telling himself, that he was going to recover and go after his goal again.


What stories have people been telling you that you have accepted and embraced? But mainly, what stories have YOU been telling yourself that have been holding you back from becoming the best version of yourself in all areas of your life? Remember one thing: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”Eleanor Roosevelt


If you use these three keys elements daily in any area of your life: Focus on things that you can control, turn the negative into the positive and to believe, you will have better others of achieving the success you desire in your life.


Would you like to take your mindset to another level? Check out 



By Kanani Guerra

Have you ever invited a friend to try Jiu Jitsu? Many people are wary of trying a class. Here are a few of the most common reasons (or excuses) that we hear from those who haven’t tried Jiu Jitsu. Check it out and read why these reasons shouldn’t stop you. Then find a Jiu Jitsu school near you today!

“I can’t train Jiu Jitsu until I’m in shape”: FALSE. Training in Jiu Jitsu is a fantastic way to get into better shape. You will use muscles you never knew you had! And pushing another person off your body is much more interesting than resistance bands. A typical Jiu Jitsu class will involve stretching, cardiovascular training, a resistance workout, and will help with muscle tone. The best way to get into shape to do Jiu Jitsu? Start Jiu Jitsu.

“I’m too old to start Jiu Jitsu”: FALSE. BJJ is for all ages! You’ll never be as young as you are today. Many schools have classes with all different age groups and training partners. Learning ‘new tricks’ may be more challenging than if you had learned as a child. But as an adult you have other attributes to assist in your learning process: patience, discipline, and greater mental capacity.

“I’m going to get hurt”: FALSE. Jiu Jitsu is the ‘gentle art’. Is there risk of injury? Yes. But there is a risk of injury with any sport, work out, car ride, living in a home with tile floors, etc. The intent of Jiu Jitsu is not to wreak havoc on your body. Quite the opposite, actually. Jiu Jitsu can improve your flexibility, reflexes, and overall health to improve the condition of your body. Select trustworthy partners or higher ranks that can control their movements and use caution when training with you.

“I’m just here to watch and support my kids/husband/girlfriend/etc.” What better way to set an example for your family then to jump in and show them how it is done? BJJ can be a great activity for the whole family. Self-defense, fitness, confidence building: all great benefits of the family training Jiu Jitsu together.

“I don’t have enough time/money/energy for Jiu Jitsu”: FALSE. This is an investment in your health and well-being. You can learn life-saving self-defense techniques (invaluable!). Family, friends, and work are a priority, but your health and well-being should be too. Do you make a daily run to your local coffee shop? Pocketing that $4 a day can save you almost $100 per month. Invest that into your Jiu Jitsu training. It is worth it. And you probably already know that exercise creates those wonderful endorphins. They will give a great energy boost for your training. Many gyms have morning and night classes. Pop in before work, shower, and start your day feeling refreshed!

“I’m afraid I will love it, become obsessed, and find myself in the best physical and mental shape of my life”: TRUE. Invite a friend to Jiu Jitsu today. You may never know whose life it could change.