Wednesday, December 15, 2010
You Should Compete
If you want to know when, the answer is now. Not once you have gotten to a certain level, not once you are a blue belt, not once your cardio is in line. Go Compete. And do it now.
Today is the day of Champions, Tomorrow is a day late.
I’ve competed 16 (or 17, not sure) times now. I’m still a beginner at it. My reasons are individual (namely, I’m bad at it and this challenges me.) Tournaments have done a number of good things for me...It’s been a profound education for me that has extended into day to day life more so than any other aspect.
As rolling on the mats is a learning tool, competing is a whole other realm of education.
Do it because:
It scares you.
Competing isn’t easy. It can be nerve wracking. Things that provoke fear in you need to be beaten. Don’t take the easy path. If you don’t already know, the best way to defeat something is to embrace it first. Then choke it good.
I change my mind; competing is easy. It’s training for life, it’s a small example of how to live and do enormous things while you are scared. Life? Life is hard! A BJJ tournament is going to teach you about fear and what motivates you. How best to face challenges, and how your guts and forearms might go haywire while you do it.
You will win.
You’re going to learn some fantastic things about victory. You will begin to grasp that you are capable; and that your power, and the power of the individual, can surmount any obstacle. You’ll take this back to everyday life.
Can I do this? Just watch.
You will lose.
...and how you react is going to reveal a lot about you. I sense that this is where the real fear lies in competing:
What happens when you put your all into something and you fail? What will happen to you?
This will be a good test of your spirit. Can you fight, lose, and try again? Or are you going to slap your hands on the mats in anger, and never come back again? Will your losses make you stronger? Or will you crumble?
I tell you, you’re already on the mats, working hard. Loses make you better, smarter. This is what BJJ is, and this is what life is.
You will be a better BJJ’er for it.
I’ve already beat down the important ways that competing makes you better; the mental ways. You’ve also got the fact that training for tournaments will make you grow as an athlete. You will have to get into the gym more and work harder when it’s time to roll. The addition of a goal, the end result, will give you something to work towards. Pick up a barbell, develop a “game,” learn your strengths.
There is a subtle yet undeniable difference between competitors and rec players. Respect for anyone on the mats, but competitors have pushed their limits and seek to push them further. They know a comp will test them from top to bottom. They know that how hard they work right now will determine their success in the future
It will guide you
Everyone you fight in a tournament is going to do things differently. Every time you face someone, you’re going to learn something. Whether you’ve fought before or not.
In your club, everyone knows your game and they know how to react. You also know their games.
When you get called on to the mat at a tourney, you look over and see the guy you’re about to fight. You know that he’s a black box. What does he do well? What are his weaknesses? It’s a truer litmus test of your Jiu-Jits. Will you react correctly? Do you just not have an answer? Either way, there’s something he’ll do that you’re not completely familiar with. You will learn about how your game reacts against someone who doesn’t know it, and how you will react to theirs. It’s a whole new bag of hammers.
You will not be hurt
Well, I guess I can’t say that definitively. People get hurt at tournaments. These are physical pursuits. Regardless, people don’t get hurt very often at all. I routinely see more injuries in a week of club rolling than I would at a Tournament. It just doesn’t happen that much.
Either way, I don’t ever see someone injured due to someone else’s malice. If people get hurt, same as in the club, it’s usually rolling the wrong way, or just an unlucky scramble
When we’re not trying to beat each other on the mats, competitors are great people. I’ve made a few hundred friends from academies other than mine. These people have invited me out for dinner after, these people have helped coach me when I showed up without a team. That is camaraderie. It’s honestly a fantastic and beautiful brotherhood, in ways that you wouldn’t believe. You’re going to show up, fight people, and make friends for life. Are there better things to do in a day? No, there are not.
Start right now
Competing does get easier. The fights never do, but the time spent before hand does. You should start now, as soon as you can. Get your feet wet. Experience will eventually make it easier, and the more you have the better. Go sign up.
Do you compete? Tell me why, or why not.
Interesting, I found this post on Starting Strength that basically says the same things. Different sport, same ideas. Cool.