Tuesday, February 1, 2011

To Compete or Not to Compete

Last night one of my teachers had another mini-talk with me about my decision not to compete. Ever. Usually this happens around big tournaments and this past weekend was the Las Vegas Abu Dhabi Trials.


Ummm... Sorry. I get very excited every time I think about how well our women's team is doing! Back to the topic o' discussion.

Let's be honest, many instructors become very unhappy with you if you say you don't want to compete. Some even stop helping you much in class when they realize you're really not going to compete.

I do not belong to one of those academies. :)

HOWEVER, that does not mean I am not periodically reminded of the benefits of competing, what it means for the team for people to compete, etc. So what to do? Here is my current train of thought, let me know what you've got to add to the list.

  • (+) Motivation! > When you have a specific goal to reach, you tend to work harder.
  • (-) Demotivation! > When you have a specific goal to reach and you feel very far from the goal, you tend to get discouraged, sometimes to the point of just giving up.
  • (+) Learning Experience > You get to go up against someone that is your weight (more or less) that you don't have to worry about going "too hard" with.
  • (-) Weight > You have to worry about what you're eating, drinking less alcohol, maybe none at all the week of the tournament (NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Might as well just stop with my list right here?), so that you are actually going up against someone that is more/less your weight.
  • (+) Healthier Lifestyle > It forces you to clean up your diet, lifestyle, etc, as you get closer and closer to tournament time.
  • (-) Unhealthy Attitude Re: Weight > All of a sudden it doesn't matter what's best for you, what's at the top of your mind is that you make it to pluma!
  • (+/-) MENTALITY > This is a big one here for me. Having/learning to have the right mindset for competition is a whole big fog of Idon'tknowwhat. Winning/losing has the potential to really affect how you will do in subsequent matches/tournaments/training in a positive or negative way. Choking in a tournament would also suck. And I mean "choking" as in getting overwhelmed, not "getting choked" but that kind would also suck.
  • (-) STRESS > Between amateur muay thai bouts, muay thai smokers, and boxing smokers, I've had 10 stand-up fights. Not one of them was a fun experience for me and it just stressed me the F out. I do not like feeling stressed, especially about one of the few things I truly love to do. But I do not think it would be the same scenario where I am today.
I just don't know what to think. Is competing for everyone? I don't think so but for whatever reason, the majority of the bjj world seems to disagree with me on this.


  1. I think you are in a different place in life mentally, emotionally and spiritually than you were last time you were competing. It may be worth giving it a try just to see if you feel the same.

    Then again, to be a student that does not choose the norm (ie, competing) it challenges your community (your teachers and fellow students) to see a different view. And perhaps encourages to do the same if that's what's right for them.

    It challenges your teachers to continue to be the best teacher for you no matter what your goal. The way I see it, the more authentic you are, the better it is for your community.

    Otherwise your teaching your team mates to just conform and do what everyone else is doing. Then the team, the community doesn't grow.

  2. Interesting post, especially given you train at a club that has 'Competition Team' right there on the logo. ;)

    I'm of a similar mindset to you: I tried competing, and really didn't enjoy the experience (at least of the actual fight - everything outside of that was pretty cool, like cheering on team mates). The main argument I hear is that it will help your game and show your flaws, but personally I find I get enough of that in class already.

    What I don't get is confirmation whether or not I should be wearing this purple belt, so instead have to turn to the other reliable indicator of your level, which is your instructor's opinion of your rank. Lucky for me, Roger Gracie is the guy that gave me the belt, so that certainly helps with confidence. ;)

    I babble about my take on competing at greater length here, where I'll definitely be sticking in a link to your post once my site is working properly again. At the moment, trying to edit turns this into this :(

  3. Yeah, our academy is the "Competition Team" academy but it's because of the way we train. People always leave saying, "Whoa! That's intense!" and I like it :).

    I didn't read the entries you linked yet, got sucked into reading a different one first but based on that one, I have a feeling I'll be stalking your site quite often!!!

  4. Stalk away! I always love getting feedback. :D