The main reason I regret not competing in the Victory Grappling Championship a few weeks ago is because I felt like I could’ve helped my team earn even more points. As it was, we only had five competitors in the tournament, but they all earned medals, and Lincoln Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Center ended up winning third place as a team! I don’t know if any potential points I might have earned would’ve been able to move us up any higher on the list, but I know that the teams who have more competitors are usually the ones who win the team awards.
A few years ago, I wrote a post on The Jiu-Jitsu Fighter blog talking about the fact that I hated competing, but I did it anyway. That hasn’t changed, I still don’t like to compete, which is why I haven’t done so in over a year. Since I now have the experience of competing in many tournaments, it wouldn’t make me so nervous if I didn’t have to do it around a bunch of people! It’s honestly hard for me to simply go to a tournament and be in a crowd, let alone have them watching me doing Jiu-Jitsu. I don’t even like it when my own bros watch me roll during class!
So, if I really don’t want to compete (and I don’t, I seriously feel like throwing up when I think about it!), then why did I enter the Circle of Iron BJJ Championship coming up on January 18th? I don’t think any of my teammates have signed up (and I doubt most will, since many of them just competed), so I didn’t enter in hopes of earning the team trophy for Lincoln BJJ all by myself! I also didn’t sign up to win a gi, or the $100 prize for the open weight division (although that would be nice), and I certainly didn’t do it because some people I know (Joe and Ken!) have been pushing me to compete again.
There are the obvious reasons for competing that I’ve written about before; entering a competition causes you to train harder in preparation, it lets you to see where your skills stand and how you manage an adrenaline dump, it tests your conditioning, and it helps get your school’s name out there, among additional benefits. As a woman, when I compete it also lets other woman and girls see a female presence in BJJ, which I believe is important, and it gives me the opportunity to grapple with someone of my own sex (since I’ve only rolled with one woman exactly one time in the past year!).
However, even with all of the positives that I know can be gained from competing, I dislike it so much that up until recently I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to do it again. Then I started thinking about it in a different way. On the day I received my blue belt in BJJ, my professor Greg Lawson said that the root of the word “passion” is “to suffer”, and if you really love Jiu-Jitsu, you have to be willing to suffer for it. For me, the most suffering I have ever experienced in Jiu-Jitsu has been due to competition. Not because of any physical pain, or ego-bruising from a loss, but because it causes me to face one of my biggest fears…the fear of being seen.
I believe that BJJ is a remarkable tool for overcoming fear, it has truly helped me (of which this blog is a part), and I guess in a weird way I am expressing the degree of my passion for Jiu-Jitsu by continuing to do the one thing that causes me the most suffering: competing. I even won all of my matches at the last tournament I entered, but I still cried after I got home! No matter how much I compete, I don’t think it will ever be something I enjoy, but I feel like I need to do something with the love I have for BJJ, and I don’t want to let the fear win.
I’m not too worried about how I will perform at this tournament, I just wish everyone (except the ref ;) would look away while I’m doing so! At least the Circle of Iron sounds like it’s going to be a cool environment (with a live DJ, and a gong, and everything!) so hopefully I’ll actually be able to have a little fun this time around, and it’ll be nice if a few of my boyz are there with me (competing, not spectating! ;). I know the tournament isn’t until next year, but today is the last day to enter at the early bird rate!
“Now that we found love, what are we gonna do with it?” -Heavy D & The Boyz