The Jiu-Jitsu State Games are coming up in less than two weeks, and I still haven’t decided if I’m competing. I haven’t talked about it, but I’ve been feeling low since my last competition in May. Even though it was the first time that I won all of my matches, and I got gold in gi and no gi, I still cried after I got home, and I don’t know why. I think part of the reason might be that I’ve never really been a competitive person. Throughout my life I have sometimes let people win things, because they seemed to care more about it than I did. I guess I just don’t like competing, even when I win.

I really never want to compete, but I usually force myself to do it, because I know it’s a great learning tool, and I’m trying to get over my performance anxiety. Now I’m starting to wonder if the all of the stress is really worth it. I wonder if it’s doing more harm than good.  I’ve competed in Karate at the State Games for the past seven years, and Jiu-Jitsu since it was introduced three years ago. Last year I even gave Judo a shot, but there was no one for me to fight, so I just ended up doing an exhibition match with Ken. The Judo tournament was the only one I enjoyed.

I have made the decision to not compete in Karate this year. It’s coming up this Saturday, and there is no one signed up for me to compete against anyway. Judo is on Sunday, and there’s a chance I might do it. I think our women’s Jiu-Jitsu teacher Amy wants me to compete in Judo more than in Jiu-Jitsu, because there is a woman signed up in my division, and if I don’t compete she might not have anyone to fight. I told Amy I will bring a gi and compete if they really need me to.

So, that just leaves Jiu-Jitsu. As of right now the only three women signed up are white belts, so there is no one in my division. If I sign up, we will probably be combined, which doesn’t seem fair to them. I have until the day before the tournament to sign up, and I’ll probably take until then to decide.

I feel as though I would rather just be able to enjoy all of the tournaments this year, from the sidelines, as a worker and spectator. When I compete I can’t really relax or have any fun, because I am consumed by the stress. I don’t like to give myself permission to not compete (because I don’t want to let myself off that easily) but when I look at the facts, I realize that I have competed more than anyone else in our Jiu-Jitsu class (except for Danger, but who the hell could keep up with him?!) so I think I have earned a break.

“Tonight my head is spinning, I need something to pick me up. 
I’ve tried but nothing is working, I won’t stop, I won’t say I’ve had enough.”
Tomoe nage!

5 comments on “Break

  1. I don't enjoy competing, but feel in a way that I should do it for development reasons. My teachers are really good about making sure that no one feels pressured to compete, but they also don't hide the fact that they are delighted when you do (whether you win or not). If I'm honest with myself, I'm doing it mostly to seek approval from my teachers. Once I admitted that- and had also done enough comps to see that my dislike wasn't just beginner's nerves- I just quit. I haven't competed in a year. Looking at this fall's slate and feeling kind of conflicted.

  2. How funny is it that our state games' karate competition is also this Saturday? I would LOVE to compete (use to every year when I was still doing track & field), but can't, since it is the same weekend as a martial arts camp I've been going to for the last five years. See, here's where cloning would be effective…But back to my point: It's OK not to compete. Why stress yourself about it? If you have more fun helping score or whatever, then do that. You have to do what is best for you, I say…

  3. Thank you, Kitsune and Felicia. Another reason I usually try to compete is because there are so few women doing it, so I want the new women to to be able to see more female names listed as past competitors, which I hope might encourage more of them to compete in the future. There was a Jiu-Jitsu tournament last month that I missed, and when I checked the results there wasn't a single woman listed, which makes me sad.I'm not going to stop competing completely, but I think I am going to take a break this time around, because I really think I need one.

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