This past Sunday I competed at our eighth annual BJJ competition here in Busan. Now, I want to be perfectly clear: Even though I've done plenty of competitions, I hate doing them. In fact, last year in 2012 I did zero competitions (although this year I've done two). Why? I've been reflecting lately on why I don't like competing. To be perfectly honest, I know that part of the reason I don't like competing is that I'm scared to lose. Why am I scared to lose? My ego? Probably. That's not something that I like to admit to myself, but it's true. This is a feeling I've kind of had ever since receiving my purple belt. It's not the only reason I dislike competition, but I know it's something that I try to hide away in the back of my mind. I think it's a mixture of my ego and my lack of self confidence I suppose. Anyway, I know it's silly, and I'm doing my best to overcome this particular hang up. Actually, I think that there's nothing wrong with not competing. It's not for everyone. But, I don't want to not compete for the wrong reasons if that makes sense, and I want to try my best to always stay honest with myself.
I think one of the most overused, cliche statements in BJJ is, "Check your ego at the door". I mean sure, it's true. Doing BJJ can be a very humbling experience, and guys or gals that can't take getting their asses kicked on a regular basis usually don't last very long in this martial art. But, does that mean that we're supposed to have zero ego 100% of the time? Human beings don't operate like that. I try to stay humble, but that doesn't mean I have no ego. We all do, and it's not always possible or easy to, "Check it at the door".
There are a multitude of other reasons I despise competing, but I'm not going to waste your time talking about them. Besides, it will just end up making me sound like a whiny little bitch. Anyway, I'm glad I decided to compete. I had a good time and ended up winning the -70 KG purple belt division and the -62 KG no gi advanced division.
I also did a little bit of reffing and worked the score table for a couple of hours before my gi matches started. It was kind of fun, and I was really impressed with the level of some of the white belts. I'm telling you, some of these guys would have blown me out of the water when I was a beginner.
Photo from BlackBelt Korea: The girl on the top is an elite wrestler who is on the Korean national wrestling team
Man, I made so many mistakes (as usual) it's not even funny, and I definitely have a few things I need to work on. For me, the biggest challenge in competition is trying to find the right balance between staying relaxed, but not being too relaxed and keeping myself from getting gassed (in gi matches). Here's my no gi final match against another purple belt.
John Torres (DCBS) v.s. In Sung-hwang (John Frankl)
I know, I know. I butt flop a lot, but my knee isn't so hot (in fact I'm gimpy). I actually originally injured it during take down sparring. After tearing my MCL this past summer, I have to be very, very careful.
After the tournament I treated myself to a pizza and chicken tenders. Yum Yum.
http://blackbelt.kr/wp/: Adidas Cup brown belt gold medalist Kim Young-Uk (DCBS) on the right