(Photo credit above to Mike Calimbas)

Sometimes people accuse me of being good at jiu-jitsu. I usually down-play the compliment end say something like “I just get lucky sometimes”. This is of course, my way of not wanting to accept any high praise as I know I’ve still got a long way to go. The truth is, I know I’m not necessarily “lucky”. Creating luck is something I work my ass off for. I create luck by taking many risks, most of them calculated. Sometimes I get lucky and sometimes I don’t. I learn each and every time though.

In jiu-jitsu, just like in other sports, luck can be defined by either success or failure brought along by some type of chance circumstances. Being lucky, however, isn’t merely about chance. Being lucky has much to do with the ability to seize opportunities as they present themselves in a fashion that almost makes no sense.¬†Catching an errant arm-bar or even sweeping a partner with perfect timing seem to be instances of luck, but they aren’t. These techniques are the culmination of the diligence and hours one puts forth. The ability to see these opportunities in real time is a skill that not many people have. The less you work, the less you can capitalize.

Chance favors the prepared mind- Louis Pasteur

Another factor I’ve noticed about jiu-jitsu is that the moments when I seem to be the luckiest are the ones that I just took a chance and went for something that may have otherwise not been there. Of course, I have a few years of experience and I’ve picked up a lot of intuition along the way. One aspect of my training that I have always been fond of is taking chances and trying to create opportunities from seemingly nothing. There is research that suggests that people who are considered “lucky” tend to see opportunities that most people don’t. There is a reason why these folks are more likely to find money on the floor when walking compared to others who are considered unlucky.

Creating Luck

While I was doing some reading for this article, I stumbled upon a great one over at Inc. Magazine (Click the link here to read). The article lists 5 ways to create luck in your daily endeavors. One of the points cited for being lucky is possessing a high level of optimism. In jiu-jitsu, optimism can be challenging, especially when training sessions do not seem to be going our way. In truth, the long and arduous journey of jiu-jitsu is so challenging that most people don’t get too far in the first place. Maintaining a positive outlook can be a significant factor in your ability to stay the course and furthermore, create opportunities that you never new existed.

Seizing Opportunities and Taking Chances

Of course, opportunities mean nothing if you are not willing to accept them and this, perhaps, is a second part of luck. On the mats, in any given training session, there are a multitude of opportunities that present themselves. Often, the trick is to be able to seize those opportunities before they slip away. Keeping an optimistic mind can facilitate this propensity to see opportunities as they come up and further give you the mental power to take chances. You should always take calculated chances, especially in practice when the risks are negligible. The experience of taking risks for great rewards will cultivate a powerful intuition in training that only experience can give. This intuition is what will allow you to see more opportunities in the future, one lucky technique at a time. This brand of luck comes in handy, especially in competition.

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