Justin Gaethje – The Power Of A Decision

Justin Gaethje has made two important decisions that have immensely helped him to achieve success in MMA. If you’d like to know what these two are watch the video bellow or read the article.

Our lives today are a direct result of the decisions we made in the past, so we need to be very careful which ones we make.

If for example you decide to exercise and watch your diet today, that can positively affect you in the future and lead to you being healthier, looking better and and having an improved confidence. The same goes for MMA training or any kind of decisions whatsoever.

Today we’ll discuss what I think are two important decisions that Justin Gaethje has made which have helped him in MMA tremendously.

Decision #1: he is willing to die in fights

Justin Gaethje immediately after he won the fight against Tony Ferguson:

“I told my coaches in the back: you’re not gonna like it but I’m ready to die tonight. And that’s the mentality I have to come here with. It’s not about winning or losing for me. It’s about not disappointing myself, my family and representing god to the best I can. And being a good person.”

While many fighters say that they are ready to die, I think he really means it judging by his performances.

This philosophy reminds me of what the samurai did every day, which is to imagine themselves dying in the most gruesome ways possible in order to get used to idea of dying. This is called negative visualization and I covered it in this video. The goal was for their hands not to tremble during battle and avoid shame, but also to be able to react without fear which increased their chances of victory.

“Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one’s body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one’s master. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead.”
― Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure, The Book Of Samurai

“Rehearse your death every morning and night. Only when you constantly live as though already a corpse (jōjū shinimi) will you be able to find freedom in the martial Way, and fulfill your duties without fault throughout your life.”
― Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure, The Book Of Samurai

They also meditated which helped them empty their minds to be able to react instinctively with the help of training they’ve done all their lives.

Achieving a peace of mind is crucial here. And that is exactly what happened to Gaethje.

Here is what he said during an interview with Brett Okamoto from ESPN:

“I don’t want to die. That’s the last thing I want to do. I don’t want to go in there and die. But to be able to accept that, it allows so much peace inside of myself. 
I’s such a peaceful time for me. That whole week I’m at such peace. I sleep better than I ever slept. the night before the fight I slept 10.5 hours straight. Just such a peaceful time for me.”

While it is good to have this kind of mentality, it is best never to test if you are really ready to die in the octagon or not. This is where good preparation, technique and tactics come in. That is why Justin Gaethje was able to beat an extremely tough Tony Ferguson.

I’m not sure if Ferguson will ever be the same after all the beating he took in that fight, but sometimes people are too tough for their own good.

Therefore I would advise you to have toughness as your last measure, and fight smart, which is what Gaethje did against Ferguson.

Decision #2: He trusts his coach completely

“I surround myself with people that I trust. Because with the mindset that I have, I cannot trust myself to make smart decisions. I take the dumb routs, but that’s how I got here.”

First of all, he embodies the “know thyself” saying. He knows he doesn’t always makes the right decisions so he let the tactics be determined by his coach.

That proved very smart as was seen in the fight.

Here is what his coach Trevor Wittman advised him to do in between rounds against Tony Ferguson:

In between rounds - Trevor Wittman and Justin Gaethje
In between rounds – Trevor Wittman and Justin Gaethje

“Take 10% off your shots, you’re trying to kill him. Pop him with good, clean shots. Every once in a while you can throw a cleaner.” 

That’s exactly what he did. He eased back on his punches a bit which allowed him to preserve his cardio and not exert himself so much. He found a coach he can trust and is executing his game plan.

I usually advise fighters be take responsibility for their tactics as they have the final say. The coaches should be their close advisors but the decision is ultimately yours.

Unless of course you are like Justin Gaethje who has found that letting his coach determine the tactics works better than what he use to do before – which is to have too much fun slugging it out.

What can you take home after learning about Gaethje’s decisions? What decisions can you make to help you further your MMA skills?

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