Although entering competition is not mandatory in our School, there is still great value behind it as it brings a ‘real world’ perspective to the lessons covered on the mats. It is a true test of not only your skills, but your ability to handle stress and emotions under a high pressure situation… because no matter how technical or physically prepared you are, if your thoughts and emotions get the better of you… it could be game over.
The same principle carries over to life situations such as school exams, job interviews and business meetings etc.
The Dichotomy of ‘Play’ and ‘War’
Competition is a natural phenomenon which occurs in life. Whether you’re applying for a scholarship or a job, trying to close a business deal or finding a partner, playing board games or football, a sense of competitiveness exists when there are two or more parties striving towards a common goal.
Due to the nature of martial arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), competition is an integral part of the experience. Like other sports and games, BJJ is governed by a set of rules that are agreed upon by the participants. This creates a safe environment where competition exists and can be explored. A game where you can ‘play’ or ‘compete’ – the choice is yours.
It’s you vs. yourself
Whether you’re sparring in class or fighting in competition, the goal is to immobilise your opponent. Jiu Jitsu provides you with the tools (techniques) to solve a particular problem… and this problem is enhanced in competition. It is under these conditions, when you really test yourself. Not your skills or knowledge, but YOURSELF because there’s ONE defining difference between sparring in school versus sparring in competition – pressure.
Pressure of nerves. Pressure of emotions. Pressure of expectations. Pressure of winning. Pressure of your opponent. Pressure of risk. Pressure of mistakes.
It can get pretty overwhelming right?
“The mind is powerful beyond our imaginations. It can be our greatest ally or our worst enemy.”
The fear of losing can turn people away from competing. This is why competition has so much value behind it than just proving your skill and winning medals – it is a test of the individual. A test of how the individual handles pressure. Like any other game, the best jiu jitsu practitioner doesn’t always win. There are many instances where the person with the best technique or most experience doesn’t win… and it all comes down to their ability to deal with pressure.
How do you deal with pressure?
How you conduct yourself as a human, a martial artist and an athlete will reflect your performance while under pressure. It is the process of becoming the best version of yourself so that you’re prepared for whatever happens on the big day.
Jiu jitsu takes you on a journey that requires discipline, humility, resilience and sensitivity. There are no shortcuts to developing these attributes and it’s through a process of learning, studying and training that will accelerate your development in jiu jitsu and in LIFE!
If you know you’ve put in the work, fueled your body with good food, trained hard, took care of yourself physically and mentally… then you will have the confidence to perform.
At the end of the day, win or lose, it doesn’t matter. It’s the act of voluntarily committing yourself to a goal and how you conducted yourself in preparation to achieve the goal that matters… And no one can tell you if you’ve worked for it or not. This is something only you can answer.