Train so hard that your opponent gives you a backhanded compliment.

If you have trained long enough you’ve probably heard your fair share of praise mixed with criticism. This tactic involves comments made AFTER you get done dominating someone and they are taking a hit to their ego.  The situation normally occurs outside of your normal academy. For example, “Man you’re so strong” or”Hey, how much do you weigh? You’re so heavy.” I have personally been told “Man, you have really good conditioning” or “How old are you?, Man you must kill the Masters division.” I confess, that Masters division one is pretty funny (I’m Masters II) but at the same time its pretty damn weak.

Just the other day one of teammates remarked how someone stated to him that the people at our academy must roll a lot because everyone always has good conditioning,. This was in direct comparison to his academy where they spend a lot of time on technique. What? Huh? Am I supposed to connect the dots that technique and conditioning are mutually exclusive?  Nope. I do not agree. Not at all.

At one particular IBJJF event the guy who I defeated like 13-0 snidely remarked to me “you guys must train a lot for points.” I’ll admit he did a good job defending my submissions despite my numerous attempts.  Ridiculous though considering that I was knee on belly, mount, and on his back as the match ended. I’m a pretty low key guy and would have gladly accepted a “nice match.”

In a sport / martial art where the majority of people love to spit out the phrase “Leave your ego at the door” it should come as no surprise that the backhand compliment is the weapon of choice. Insulting as it is to receive the backhanded compliment, in all actuality it should be gratifying to the recipient. Rather than just come out with a direct compliment of your performance the immediate reaction of your opponent is to make an excuse for their lack of training / proficiency in a particular area. My recommendation, take it all in stride, ignore the “compliment”, or even simply reply with “thank you.” You’ll walk away the bigger person while preventing any unnecessary drama.

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