Andrew explains why everyone should try competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at least once.
One of the things that really made me gravitate towards Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was the challenge of competing. Prior to training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I had never been a competitive person. As a small kid I tried to play American Football, and quickly realised it wasn’t something I could excel in. At around 10 years old I discovered skateboarding. I loved the fact that it was a sport that had little emphasis on competition, and instead you focused on your personal journey of learning and becoming a better skater. The social aspect was also something that really pulled me in. I continued skateboarding through my teen years, and as I entered high school I began to play a lot of basketball. In the Philippines, Basketball is one of the biggest sports. All of my friends played, and so naturally I took to it as well.
Unfortunately the passion for team sports was once again killed off, by my team’s coach. I became frustrated with the lack of opportunity to test myself and compete. I hated the fact that I had so little control about how much of the game I played and how I played it. So when I discovered competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I found everything that I wanted in competition, that I could not find in team sports.
What I love about competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the accountability. The interesting thing about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is that even though it is an individual sport, nothing can be achieved without the help of others. Finding success in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is impossible without good coaches, or teammates who will help and push you. Having said that, a lot of a practitioner’s growth and success in competition heavily relies on accountability. Only you will know if you prepared as much as you could. Only you will know if you made the most out of the one and a half hour training session. Only you will know if you picked the toughest training partners in the room. At the end of the day it is only you who steps on the competition mats. This notion of accountability is something that really stuck with me.
I started to understand that whatever I achieved in the sport I achieved because I did the right things. Conversely, whenever I fell short, I fell short and had nobody else to blame but myself. If I wanted to win a tournament I had to demand more from myself than anybody else. I had to learn to be my toughest critic. I also liked the idea that at any point I wanted to stop, and take a break I didn’t need to ask someone’s permission to do so.
Very early on I found that if I had a tournament to prepare for I trained different. One of the things I enjoy more than anything these days is preparing for a competition. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that I enjoy the preparation more than the competition itself. As I began to do more competition training, I found that though I wasn’t building skill, I was becoming more intentional with the way I moved, as well as being more present in my mind. I felt like rotating between competition training and skill build training really helped me stay motivated. It also gave me another kind of goal post to look towards.
There is a popular saying that goes “You win or you learn.”. The day I truly understood this was the day I began to really benefit from competing. As great as the victories are, what makes a person better at their craft are the losses. However, you can’t just keep getting your ass kicked and expect things to change. Once again accountability comes into play. Nothing opens a practitioner’s eyes to their own weaknesses and shortcomings more than losing. It is a tough pill to swallow, working hard and falling short. However, if a person has a learning attitude, defeat can be the first steps a person needs to being better at their craft.
All these things you can of course experience in the training room, but the experience of competing is unlike any other, and it isn’t something you can truly simulate.
I believe that the things I mentioned, are things you could really miss out on if you stop yourself from competing at least once. Competition is such a small aspect of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but it does have a lot of benefits only people who have competed can really understand. Though competition might not be for everyone, you wont truly know until you try.
Pick a tournament, sign up, have fun, and thank me later! Ossssssss!