The other day during open mat, I tapped out someone whom I’ve never been able to submit before. He has always been a slippery, annoying, stubborn, pain in my ass. I’ve previously come close to tapping him out, but could never seal the deal. It really made me mad, because he would just play defense until I wore myself out, then he’d submit me. A couple of times I got so tired from trying to attack him, that in the end I literally gave him my arm and told him to armbar me so I could quit. I am ashamed to admit that.
So the other day when I finally succeeded in submitting him, I was so excited that I jumped up and yelled “I did it!” I wanted to run around the dojo screaming “I tapped him out! I am awesome! All hail the queen!”, but I thought that might be a little excessive. As it was, I didn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day, and I was probably still smiling in my sleep. It wasn’t until the next morning that I started to feel bad for being so happy about it. Whenever someone wins, someone else loses, and I know very well what it’s like to be on the losing side, so I started to feel a little guilty for taking so much pleasure in defeating him. Also, it’s not very humble to be so excited about winning.
However, I realized that my excitement wasn’t as much about submitting him, but about the fact that I am starting to overcome some of the problems that have been holding me back. I am learning how to fight smarter, instead of mindlessly wasting all of my energy. I am beginning to become a true jiu-jitsu player, instead of a spastic, crazy banshee. The fact that I was able to hang in there with him long enough to find a weakness and exploit it means that I am taking my game to a new level. I wasn’t happy because I thought I was better than him, I was happy because I knew I was better than I used to be.