Later on that week I talked a little about the second lie that helped shape my view on this amazing martial art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and that lie is:
-BJJ / Grappling is for everyone!
Today I will give you my opinion on the third lie in BJJ that, ever since understanding it, changed my outlook and enjoyment of the sport and art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu:
-You don't have to compete to learn, enjoy and improve in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and submission grappling!
|Prize Podium at the Eurpoean BJJ Championships. Age division? Senior III (46-50 years old)|
Most BJJ instructors will tell you that you don't have to enter public competitions to learn, enjoy, improve in and get good at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and submission grappling. I beg to differ.
While there are no rules against staying a competition virgin, like the famous Renzo Gracie Black Belt John Danaher*, if you plan on making the best of your BJJ / grappling journey, you have to compete and by that I mean enter public competitions. Yes, training in BJJ is competitive and it is an alive art but you shouldn't make your rolls on the mat at your BJJ gym or academy your only outlet for competitive energy. They are primarily there for learning, not locking horns.
Please note that I am not saying you have to compete often or that you have to win all, most or even any of your competitive BJJ bouts. What I am saying is that:
1. Deciding to compete and doing it for you and your own reasons
2. Preparing for a BJJ / no gi competition, both physically, strategically and mentally
3. Sharing this experience with your coach(es) and fellow grapplers
4. Doing research on competition strategies, rule and point systems, common injuries...etc.
5. Learning about weight management
6. Dealing with the nerves of having a physical altercation with another person
7. Dealing with the oversights of referees, point scorers, event organisers...etc.
8. Dealing with time and resource management needed to fit in extra training, diet changes, recovery...etc.
9. Learning to negotiate with a spouse, manager, children, training partners...etc. to make you preparation possible and manageable
10. Dealing with the unknown that competing in BJJ / Submission grappling / MMA brings such as great/new/terrible/illegal strategies by the opponent, matches getting interrupted and restarted, getting stood up...etc.
11. Dealing with competition defeat in front of peers, friends, family and strangers
12. Dealing with competition victory in front of peers, friends, family and strangers
13. Dealing with accidents and events outside our control when much is invested
14. Learning to compromise and switch grappling gameplans under stress
15. Learning to re-calibrate quickly between competitive matches
16. Learning to come down after a competition
17. Learning to train after a competition
18. Learning what you were really good / crap at as opposed to what you thought you were good / crap at.
19. Learning to plan for the next event, based on lessons learnt from the previous one
20. Learning the difference between good and bad mat-side coaching
21. Sharing a competitive journey with friends and mat colleagues
22. Seeing your friends grow (or crumble) under stress and knowing exactly what they are going thru.
I could go on.
All these things are a fundamental part of the history and evolution of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a sport and as an art and to not ever participate means you are not learning all that Brazilian (or Gracie) Jiu jitsu is.
So when you hear an instructor say to brand new beginners "No you don't have to compete to get good at BJJ" smile and know in your heart that that's a BJJ lie. It might be a white one, but a lie nonetheless.
*check out Megan's awesome Personal Brand Review of John Danaher.
Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi
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