We often think of jiu-jitsu as a one-on-one sport, and indeed there are only two people inside those four lines.
However, to say jiu-jitsu is a singles sport would be a grave mistake. While there are many elements that make Jiu Jitsu seem this way, it is , in fact a team sport. Most jiu-jitsu practitioners know this, so this may be “preaching to the choir” , but I feel it needs to be said. We learn as a team, we train as a team, and we even compete as a team, regardless of what anyone may think.
In training we need someone to learn with. We need a partner who will allow us to drill moves and push us in rolling. We often use this word “partner,” in lieu of what they really are: teammates. You would never go to your biggest rival and ask him to help you prepare for competition (in most cases), this just doesn’t make sense. No, you look for a teammate within your own academy.
In tournaments we all know we get individual medals, but people often overlook the big picture: the team trophies. We all work together as a team to earn the trophy, and that’s what the real goal is for many professors who run big schools. It’s really easy to have a bad day and end up losing the first round, but this is not always going to be the outcome for your team.
Another key point is that someone is usually coaching you. This person is either your professor or another person from your academy, but either way you are teammates helping each other out. This is something we do for our teammates. Could you image having a rival coach or student come to your corner? No, because it doesn’t make sense.
When the day is over, whether we win or lose, our team is always there for us. These people support us win or lose and are always willing to help. In the event of a win, the congratulatory messages overflow; and in the event of a loss, we end up with an outstanding wave of support as well. Most of the time your professor and other students will work with you on the things you could have done better and help you come back even better. This is a key component of a team sport.
So, no matter how much it may seem like you are alone on the competition mats, it is important to remember that you are not really competing alone. You have a whole team of people who helping you, coaching, and cheering for you; and they will continue to do so, regardless of the outcome.