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"You win or you learn."
Competitive athletes love to use this phrase, especially BJJ ones. And I know it sounds like a way to make the soul crushing pain of defeat a little less awful, or maybe a way to rationalize losing to your insecure brain so you don't have to actually admit that you lost. But most cliches are true, and this one is no exception.

Whether it is on the competition mat, or simply in a regular class rolling session, I have done an awful lot of losing, and learning. I got better at defending arm bars by tapping multiple times and then going back to the dojo to drill arm bar defense. I got better at guard retention after getting tired of being smashed and learning to use my feet and hands defensively. And so on. Sometimes the lessons are crystal clear. Escaped everything but failed at getting to a dominant position? Need to work on that. Got to a good position but took too long to attack? Need to work on that. They kept getting out before you could lock an…

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