BJJ Tips: On Competition Motivation

I read a great post on Competition Motivation by established competitor Georgette Oden that opened my eyes to many things. It made me instantly recognize why I don't compete (much). It's because I'm not too fussed about winning.

I remembered an old competition in Brussels, Belgium (non sports) and how I really enjoying that. I enjoyed the prep, the team meetings, the flight...everything. Getting a big fat trophy to bring home to our school was a big cherry on an already big cake.

I also remembered going to competitions near and far with my old Karate club and really enjoying these too. Strategy sessions, extra conditioning sessions, the drive, the post-comp dinners, the hours and hours of video analysis before and after.

I remembered all this very fondly. I won a few and lost a few. That never really mattered much. It was the journey that made so much more of an impact on me. The closeness that grew between us, the competition team, is what did it for me and I shared that journey as a competitor, coach, administrator and even screaming supporter.

Don’t get me wrong, winning is nice! One of my favourite wins was one I coached. It was a chubby little boy’s first competition and he was very nervous. His name was Mohamed. Even more nervous was Maria, his sweetheart of a mother. A strict Muslim Somali lady, fully kitted in a traditional garb, who wanted to be there for her son’s big day.

As coach of the junior team, it was my privilege to corner Mohamed. We had a quick pre-match chat and I told him that as long as he listened to my voice, he’d do well. I kept him moving and circling and he was never an easy target. The other kid had more experience but wasn’t expecting to work so hard to chase for a first point. When the chance came for a good counter, Mohamed took it and landed a clean punch. The ref stopped the match and awarded the point. The way my little friend smiled as he was given the point meant the world to me. He was a spoiled little kid. His mom loved him endlessly and he couldn’t do wrong in her eyes but she herself had confessed that he’d become too lazy. Well that smile didn’t say “lazy”. That smile said, “I did that!”

Mohamed carried on with the same conservative strategy until the 3-minute match finished and his hand was raised. Good thing too, because he was too tired to raise it himself. Two amazing things happened after that:

1. Maria couldn’t contain herself. She was so overjoyed that she came over to me and hugged me! She kept saying “Thank you! Thank you so much” to me and I was so humbled by how much was gained by the little I had done!
2. Mohamed came of the mat, just smiled at his mum and stumbled over to give me a hug. She was so excited and so proud and yet he felt I was due the first hug.

I’ll never forget that feeling and it trumps all the medals I have ever won…or lost. I compete sometimes and I love coaching but above all, I am a member of the greatest community on earth: The Sportive Community.

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Meerkatsu said...

Nice memory, thanks for sharing

Liam H Wandi said...

Thank you Meerkatsu. I feel very priviliged to have had it.

A.D. McClish said...

Aww! That's awesome! Yeah, I'm not huge into competitions either. I do one or two a year, just to challenge myself and find out where my level is and where I need to improve. I like going to them with my team, but I am not that into competing myself.

Liam H Wandi said...

Haha Thanks Allie. I fully agree with you.