Sometimes, it’s difficult to gather the desire to compete. Whether it’s a lack of motivation, or a lack of preparation, most all of us have felt it. I had the opportunity to compete over the weekend (shout-out to Avon Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Reaction Nutrition for sponsoring me). Frankly, it was not my best showing, and I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to go in the first place.
The tournament itself was well-run and is known to have a good turn-out. However, this was the first time in quite a while that I did not have the opportunity to actually get into shape to compete. I recently moved across the country and started two new jobs which keep me working for just over 50 hours per week. Not only could I not put in time at the gym to get into shape, I wasn’t even getting any mat-time. Hell, I’ve only even rolled four times since I wrote this article.
On top of that, I knew there would be a Pan Am champion in my division. It was a tournament, that with an honest assessment of my skills/athletic ability, I was unlikely to win. Did I think I could win? Yes. Was it likely? No. I was nowhere near where I needed to be athletically or skills-wise. So why bother, right?
Clearly, I am not someone who gets to compete or even train as often as I would like. I am unable to truly sink the time into the sport of BJJ necessary to be one of the best. Despite an overwhelming sense of confidence when I step onto the mats, I understand that I am not in a position to train myself to win every match. Sometimes, I let that bother me and it affects my desire to compete. However, the opportunity presented itself for me to be able to go, so I did.
Though getting 1st place is always in the back of my mind at a competition, it had nothing to do with why I went. Instead, I went to re-immerse myself in BJJ; to jump into the deep end. I wanted the experience that comes with competition. I wanted to see what techniques were ingrained in me and which ones I needed to work on more. I wanted to become a better grappler, so I competed.
We don’t all compete for the same reasons. Whether it’s to win gold, find the holes in one’s game, or just to have fun, competition can help any BJJ player reach their personal goals. Maybe you don’t feel like going. So what? Go anyways. Unless you are injured or unable, competition will always be beneficial to your grappling goals.
I did end up placing, losing to the Pan Am champion mentioned above. But placing wasn’t what made it worth it for me. I was grateful for the opportunity to grapple with people I’ve never grappled with before. I was grateful for the confidence it gave me in my abilities as well as the spots it showed me I need to improve. I was grateful to be a part of the Jiu-Jitsu community. Even when you don’t feel like going, you ought to. There is always something to be learned from competing.