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Next Level Guy

May 21, 2021

Today’s guest is Coach Tom Davey, from the Grappling Academy. 

Coach Tom began coaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as early as 2006. He has been fascinated by grappling for close to 20 years. Coach Tom spends his days devoted to furthering his art by teaching and studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu full time from dusk til dawn! As a college graduate with high academic credentials, Coach Tom continues his commitment to excellence by teaching Jiu-Jitsu to students worldwide.

With a unique ability to teach techniques with a high level of detail in an easy-to-understand manner, Coach Tom's goal is to spread the knowledge of Jiu-Jitsu to all corners of the globe and help as many people as possible experience the wonder of 'The Gentle Art'.

Coach Tom Davey is the South Australian head for BJJ Australasia under 5th-degree black belt John Will and holds a black belt under 8th-degree coral belt Carlos Machado.

In this interview, we discuss the topics of BJJ, competing, and why it might be the best thing you ever do.  


Here are some key points that I would advise you to concentrate on

  •  Not everyone needs to compete, it is entirely up to the person whether to compete or not or if you are just trying for the fitness and/or self-defense side of things.
  • Competition is a great way to discover where your skills currently are, what you need to work on, and where your strengths lie.
  • Is there a mindset shift needed to go from a BJJ hobbyist to a BJJ athlete and competitor?
  • Tom sees competing as one of the best powerful self-development tools he has experienced.
  • By competing, you are embracing the risk of danger and challenge, and it will teach you to feel comfortable in that situation.
  • Competing will help you improve mentally as well as physically.
  • What advice would Tom give to those who are unable to train right now due to the Coronavirus situation?
  • The benefits of training dummies
  • The reps needed to truly learn the movement pattern
  • What he would advise you to do away from BJJ when you can't train
  • How can people overcome the fear of competing in BJJ?
  • When you lose, you still learn and gain a lot from the experience. You learn the lesson that your fears are BS, that no one will think less of you for losing, true friends will be proud of you for competing.
  • When competing, the benefits he received from competing, helped shift his mindset, and a knock-on effect was a change in how he rolled which brought about more success for him.
  • You will feel the fear regardless, fear will never go away. Knowing it will never go away, instead think about what it is trying to tell you, acknowledge the feelings, welcome them, listen to the message, and move forward. You will find your level of fear is reduced a little more each time.
  • Regardless of the results, you will learn about yourself at each tournament. Forget about the outcome of the match and instead look at the outcome within yourself for trying it.
  • Advice for an older grappler competing who wishes to start competing.
  • The voice inside your head needs to be controlled, ignored or changed etc. The voice is not you, you are not your thoughts. Identify internal dialogue and separate it from what reality is.
  • Fear of competing is all in your own head.
  • Has Tom found any methods for dealing with anxiety before his competitions?
  • How do we discover our style of game and BJJ?
  • Why do the top performers tend not to check the brackets of their competitions and rarely look who they are competing against?
  • Similarities in the top performers and their approach to BJJ
  • How should BJJ change from training to working towards a competition?
  • How a training camp should be set up and what should be the ultimate aim of the camp?
  • What advice he would give to those who train with a strict curriculum?
  • Learning moves vs learning concepts?
  • The role of diet in a BJJ athlete and their performance
  • The lure of PED and other drugs
  • What is a competition typically like (the day of)
  • What true confidence is and how competing in BJJ helps you achieve that
  • How to look at loss and the fear of losing
  • Tom's inspiration for competing
  • A pupil that has inspired him
  • The importance of BJJ for kids
  • "The very thing you are avoiding is the very thing that will give you what you think it will take away from you"
  • How did Covid-19 affect him as a businessman
  • BJJ and mental health
  • His thoughts on the current pandemic
  • What he wants you to take from the interview