Time for war
Finally it’s tomorrow, the NY Open! As I prepare for battle I have been thinking about competition a lot.
Probably anybody who has competed and lost has had a coach or training partner or friend tell them “it takes a lot of guts just to compete”. I have heard this after losing. I always figured it’s just something nice that people tell you when you’ve lost and they don’t know what else to say.
As I’ve been around competition and training more though I’ve realized that this is more than a consolatory phrase uttered to a defeated athlete who is wondering why they competed in the first place, it is the God’s honest truth. Competing in a jiu-jitsu tournament is about so much more than just fighting. You are going one on one with another person and putting yourself on display for all to see. The wear and tear on your psyche is far worse than what happens to your body (hopefully). Just the thought of doing this is so terrifying to some people that they will never step foot on a competition mat. Just by doing so you’ve won a battle that most people are afraid to fight.
One of the things that takes the most guts is going back to competition after a loss. I have seen more than a few guys at my gym go to their first competition with all the confidence and swagger that athletic people in their early 20s tend to have only to see their opponent’s hand raised at the end of the match. Later when the topic of another tournament comes up at the gym they say something along the lines of “I have to train more to be ready” or even the very honest “I don’t want to lose again”.
I hate to lose. When I do poorly in a tournament, I typically spend the next day moping on the couch, eating junk and thinking about why I keep doing this to myself and how I should just stop competing. Shortly after that I think about what I can learn from it. Then I drag my beaten, defeated body back to the gym and work to fix what went wrong at the tournament. It is always hard, especially that first day back when everyone wants to know how the tournament went, but I do it because I feel it’s the best way to improve.
I have worked everyday since my last tournament on improving my game. I have worked to be more aggressive, I have worked on my attitude and I have worked on my diet. I have spent most of every weekend tournament training, much of the time as the only girl fighting a bunch of big, scary dudes (that’s how I see them anyway).
I am ready to win tomorrow. I also know that it is possible I will not. No matter what if someone tells me afterwards that it takes a lot of guts just to compete I will smile and thank them because I know it’s true.