People join sports for different reasons and at different times in life. I have been in competitive sports, starting with gymnastics, since age 5. I wasn’t forced or coerced by my parents or older family members. I just remember always having this drive… And my family recognized that it should be guided toward a positive outlet.
I wasn’t the best, I wasn’t the most focused, and I wasn’t always on point with practices or listening; I was a kid. But I wanted to participate & travel with my team. I wanted to cheer for my teammates and the connectedness we had is something I’ve never forgotten. As I got older I went from being competitor to being a coach; and my mindset changed. I wanted to nurture the kids on my team but more importantly inspire them to follow their dreams! To not give up, to beat the odds, TO BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES & EACH OTHER!!!
So what? you say, what does this have to do with me, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner? Well, keep calm my friends! And read on…
* whether a seasoned competitor or someone fresh on the scene, competing will give you the confidence to tackle obstacles head on
* competing gives your coach an idea of what areas your “live” BJJ may be lacking
* competing gives you a better understanding of how adrenaline, and the unknown, affects your thinking and performance
* not all schools have the same opportunities; i.e. Maybe mat space is limited & it isn’t safe to start from the feet, so take-downs are limited to drilling; competing gives you an opportunity to apply
* “1 competition is equivalent to 3 months of training” – Renzo Gracie
* competition allows you to challenge yourself and others by pitting your knowledge against new people and unknown possibilities; training day in and day out with the same people, they come to learn your game
* your goal may not be to compete and no-one says that it’s completely necessary. Not everyone joins BJJ for this purpose, and that’s ok! Trying a tournament or 2 is also a good way to understand those teammates whose goals encompass tournaments, travel & “medal chasing”
* no-one is great at something the first time they do it! Think of doctors. Someone graduated last in the class-.- But they all had to perform a surgery for the first time! They’re all scared, nervous etc…fast forward down the road, eventually they’re replacing a heart while talking about the 75 they shot on the golf course last weekend! With practice comes efficiency and confidence and the same may be said about life.
* putting yourself outside the comfort zone or safety bubble you’ve come to know and love is a useful measure of self-awareness. You may not have even known that being in a large venue in front of a crowd would cause anxiety?!
* many aspects of what we call the jiu-jitsu lifestyle carries over into every day life. The ability to deal with adversity as well as positive outcomes; to be humble and gracious; The mentality to lift people up and hold yourself with grace are learned skills.
Thanks coach for providing me with an opportunity of a lifetime!
Andrea Harris trains Brazilian jiu-jitsu in the MA area. Currently a blue belt her focus is on competing this year. You can visit her fan page
Thank you Armor Kimonos, quality Brazilian jiu jitsu kimonos crafted for battle, for supporting my journey!