You Win Some, You Lose Some

You win some, you lose some. Recently, I experienced the latter.

Last weekend was the Pittsburgh Jiu-Jitsu Classic. It had been a few months since my last tournament and I’ve been looking forward to competing in the blue belt division since my promotion on Cinco De Mayo. After many tacos and margaritas, I was itching to put my new blue powers to the test.

Spoiler alert: I lost on points.

I dictated the pace of the match and I was in either mount and back control the entire time. Unfortunately, I wasn’t awarded points because my legs weren’t in the proper scoring spot in the positions (body triangles are apparently worthless).

It sucks to lose and it double-sucks to lose on a technicality, but c’est la vie. On the plus side, I feel like I belong in my new division and I know which techniques and positions I need to improve (i.e., all of them). Despite the outcome, I’m happy that I competed and I’m ready for the next one!

Although I say I’m “ready” for the next tournament, I have a love/don’t love (if I hated it, I wouldn’t do it) relationship with competition.


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The thrill.

There’s nothing more exciting than putting my jiu-jitsu to the test in front of my coaches, friends, and family. This is what I practiced for, right?

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The camaraderie.

Whether I’m cheering for my teammates or they’re cheering for me, competition brings us closer together. The team with the raspiest voices at the end wins.

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The push.

Scroll through your LinkedIn feed to find a quotation about growth lying outside of the comfort zone. I wholeheartedly agree with the idea.

Competition stresses me out—that alone tells me that I should push myself mentally to compete as often as I can. And when I’m in a match, I push myself to grapple harder than I would during a friendly rolling session at the academy.

Don’t Love

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The price tag.

On average, a jiu-jitsu tournament will cost around $80 to $100. I understand that organizing events is expensive and the promoters need to make it worth their time, but the price is a tough pill to swallow every time.

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Weight management.

I hated this ever since my high school wrestling days. I usually walk around at 173-ish and my competition weight is 170. This seems like a small cut, but I’m a hungry boy.

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Time commitment.

Not only is a tournament going to take up most of a Saturday that I could be using to watch cartoons or frolic in a meadow, most of the time goes towards standing around and waiting. Oh gee, I’m glad I got there early in the morning to stand around until lunch time.

As I wrote my lists, I noticed that it was easier for me to write the “Don’t Love” list than the “Love” list. Maybe that says something about me as a person or the culture that shaped my worldviews. Or maybe I’m a little cranky right now. Either way, let me say that the pros outweigh the cons because in the end it doesn’t even matter it’s jiu-jitsu.

I still get the butterflies in my stomach for every tournament, but it feels like I digest one or two of them each time I compete. This is probably something I can apply to my regular life.

Onward and upward!

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