Gracie Barra Novi, MIGracie Barra Novi, MI

Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone

Learnings from the mat

Today was full of emotions as we had 13 students competing in the Modern Flow tournament.  We had 4 first time competitors as well, and as always there was so much I learned as a coach……and a parent.

I have to start off with the most emotional event of the day.  Having started his competition career 0-12, and where it took his 7th match to even score a point, my son Jack scored his first tournament victory!  It has been heart-wrenching and inspirational all at once to watch him compete over the last year.  From that first match where he was just shell shocked to get on the mat, to the steady improvements he has made in every single match, through the frustration I saw in his eyes as he started to get close but not quite, to finally getting to experience his hand getting raised.

When I asked him tonight if he knew he hadn’t won a match up to that point, he did.  (For those who don’t think kids keep score……..think again!)  Then when I asked him if he thought he’d never win, or that it was only a matter of time till he did, he said the latter.  It takes an amazing inner fortitude to struggle for so long and never give up hope, and never quit.  We can ALL learn this lesson from Jack.  In my senior year of HS wrestling, I went 1-17 for the year, and at the time it broke me.  If we could all have Jack’s ability to forget about the past and look forward, we would all be better off.

As a coach, I learned it’s hard to make a wrong decision and see your student suffer because of it.  In Jack’s second match we changed the game plan which required him taking a risk.  Unfortunately the plan backfired and he was tapped out.  Did he need to take the risk because his opponent was better?  Or would the conservative plan given him a better shot?  One could second guess themselves, but someone taught me it’s better to forget about the past and look forward.

One of our more talented (but green) students, Nick, learned today that it’s HARD to win.  While very talented, he could not overcome the experience of the other opponents in his group.  But just when you think it’s tough, there is ALWAYS someone who’s had it rougher.  And for that, he has Jack’s example to draw upon.  The victories will come, but first you must OVERcome!

Some students are just going to be more physically gifted than others, and victories my come easily at first.  Others will require hours of determination, grit, and maybe even a little luck.  But it is the ones who continue to work on themselves and improve that are the real winners.  THERE IS NO HIDING on the mat.  The effort you put in during practice will show itself in competition.  BJJ is such a great tool to learn about life.  You may have ideas of what you think will work….and maybe it will in practice….but you will find out for SURE when you try to apply it in a match.  If your idea works, stick with it but continue to improve it!  If it doesn’t you must refine it, fix it, or throw it out and start anew.  Such it is with EVERY decision in life.

If you want to learn more about Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu, contact us a 248-957-9597 today.  We look forward to seeing YOU, on the mat!

Coach Greg

Gracie Barra Novi

Head Children’s Instructor


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