This past weekend I was at the dojo during Judo (I wasn’t attending class, I was just there helping out with the garage sale), and one of the student’s dads asked me why I didn’t compete in the Judo State Games. I told him it was because I train and compete in Jiu-Jitsu, and he said I should do both, but I responded that I was afraid I would break the Judo rules. Then he told me “Well, I really liked watching you fight, so don’t forget that you have fans.” Um….yeah, okay.
I’ve only competed in one Judo tournament, but I gained a “fan” from it! I think the only reason that guy liked watching me do Judo was being he’d never seen a grappler compete before, and since no other woman showed up that year, it ended up just being an exhibition match against a man, and I won, because he was taking it easy on me. I don’t want to disappoint my fan, but Ken could’ve beaten me if he wanted to.
I’ve competed in about a dozen grappling tournaments, and I’m pretty sure I have no BJJ fans (except for my husband!). It might be different if I was to beat a man in a Jiu-Jitsu match, but since I’m a blue belt who can’t even win gold against white belt women in competition, that’s highly unlikely.
During my last couple of BJJ tournaments, upon returning to competing after a year and a half hiatus, I felt as though I had actually gotten worse at Jiu-Jitsu, because I used to be able to win, but it seems harder now. Even though I’m usually at an age and/or size disadvantage, losing most of my recent matches to white belts made me feel as though I don’t really deserve my blue belt. Then I realized that I know I’ve improved, so it’s not that I’ve gotten worse, but that my competition has gotten better. The overall quality of the local white belt woman has increased from where it was just a couple of years ago, which is a great thing!
The next Circle of Iron BJJ Championship is coming up in six weeks, and at least four people (not fans! ;) have asked me if I’m competing, and my answer is still “undecided”. I don’t think I’m ever going to get over my fear/hatred of competition, and sometimes I just get tired of trying, so it’s hard to be motivated about it, even though I know it’s always a great learning experience. I’m aware that my biggest obstacle in competition is my own self-defeating mind, but I don’t know how to overcome it.
After the last tournament, the girls from the kids’ class at Lincoln BJJ Center were super excited about the fact that I had competed, and they didn’t even know (or care) if I had won or lost. Those kids are the only “fans” I really care about, and I guess all I have to do to impress them is just enter the tournament. I think I put too much pressure on myself (and people asking me about it doesn’t help!), so if I do decide to compete this time around, I really need to just try to relax and have fun with it, like I did against Ken.