To Compete or Not to Compete, that is the Question:
If you have looked around the academy at Hart BJJ, the chances are that you’ve noticed the chalkboard on the wall behind the benches with a list of Summer tournaments. If you’ve read through the list, you may be wondering whether to compete this summer or sometime in the future. Competing in Brazilian Jiu jitsu has many benefits that are listed below, but being ready to compete mentally is the most important part. A quote I like is, “If you are not ready to lose, you are not ready to compete.” Let that sink in for a moment, to win you must be willing to put yourself and your jiu jitsu on display and take risks. There is a difference between playing to win and playing not to lose. The latter focuses on opening up and taking risks, which is key component to a successful competition.
There are many benefits to competing in jiu jitsu, and many of them are gains both on and off the mats. The first major benefit is knowledge gained. Competing puts your jiu jitsu game on display. You will see what works and what doesn’t. The “what doesn’t work” gives you a foundation for improvement. In the wise words of Carlos Gracie Jr, “There is no losing in jiu jitsu. You either win or you learn.” Even when a match doesn’t go as planned, you can always learn from it and make that loss into a gain. Even the top-level competitors lose, but how they respond to the loss is what is important.
For those of you who don’t know, jiu jitsu competitions are nerve-racking, and will push you to the limit to control your emotions to compete well. Learning to control one’s emotions to perform is an important skill that is useful on and off the mats. Think about it, job interviews, public speaking, teaching classes at the academy, taking tests, and promotions can all be nerve-racking. Taking the skills learned while competing will help you to perform better on these other stressful occasions. At most job interviews, no one is trying to choke you or break your arm, so what’s the worst thing that can happen? Competing teaches you to control your fear, anxiety, and other emotions that given the chance can run rampant and affect the outcome of your matches. Once you become a confident competitor, your emotions won’t get the better of you, but rather you learn to fuel them towards your goal.
One more important benefit of competing is that it gives you the opportunity to see the jiu jitsu community. I personally enjoy seeing the extended jiu jitsu community and meeting others who share the same hobby. Every tournament I’ve competed in has given me the chance to meet more people and make new friends. Seeing the far reaches of the community gives you a sense of how jiu jitsu has helped other people. I personally love the stories I hear in the bullpen about how jiu jitsu has changed lives.
If you want to discuss your desire or concerns about competing, feel free to talk to me, Coach Tim and Coach Phil. We are here to help you find your way along the path that is the jiu jitsu journey.
About the Author:
My name is Courtney and I am a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I recently won the Feather weight division at the Spring NY Open and prior to that, I won the light-feather weight division at the Summer NY Open. I believe that jiu jitsu is a journey and that journey itself is the best part of the experience. I am the head youth instructor at Hart BJJ, Boxing and MMA in Conshohocken, and I am blessed to help my students gain confidence through jiu jitsu.