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MUST READ PART III: Competitions

“My mind went blank, and all I could think was, I wish I knew some techniques from the guard!”

At Gracie Barra Novi, there are no requirements that you compete to progress in your development.  HOWEVER, if you want to become a high level practitioner, THEN COMPETITION IS ESSENTIAL.  If you want to rely on your Jiu-Jitsu in a real life self-defense situation, THEN COMPETITION IS ESSENTIAL.

Competition at any level naturally produces a significant level of stress.  It is the bodies way of becoming aware of its surroundings, and preparing for the imminent fight.  Learning how to manage that stress is ESSENTIAL to becoming a high level practitioner.

No matter how hard you practice, train, and spar within the confines of your own gym, it is NOTHING like the level of intensity and speed you will encounter in competition.  One of the most common experiences of people who spar for the first time is that their mind goes blank.  All of those techniques you THOUGHT you knew become buried in the recesses of your mind as your brain enters its fight or flight stage, and becomes overwhelmed by the speed at which it must react.  Reflexes take over, and the brain is not quick enough to draw on the proper technique the body needs before it’s too late.

Even though I have had hundreds of wrestling matches in my life, in my first tournament in over 15 years last year, it generated the comment at the beginning of this message.  I KNEW the pace was going be incredibly fast and felt my body was ready, but what I didn’t know was how LITTLE my brain was ready to handle the pace.  I literally lost all knowledge of what I wanted to do from the guard.

As you experience more and more competitions, the better your brain will become prepared for the speed at which it must process information.  Eventually, everything begins to slow down, at the same time your reflexes get faster.

IF YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO HANDLE THE STRESS AND SPEED OF A COMPETITION IN THE SAFE ENVIRONMENT OF A REGULATED TOURNAMENT, HOW MUCH LESS WILL YOU BE PREPARED TO HANDLE THE STRESS AND SPEED OF A REAL LIFE SELF DEFENSE SITUATION?

Do not fool yourself into thinking you can just flip the switch when you need to.  IT WILL NOT HAPPEN LIKE YOU THINK!

Most people avoid competition out of fear…….fear of losing……fear of getting hurt…..or just the fear of having to manage the level of stress that comes with it.

LEARNING TO MANAGE THAT STRESS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST BENEFITS COMPETITION.

Learning to handle that stress will translate into every other aspect of your life when stress comes into play.

Like my message on belt testing, COACHES MUST LEAD THE WAY IN THE REALM OF COMPETITIONS.  Most every coach wants to see their students compete.  How is it possible for us to help our students overcome their fears if we are not willing to overcome them ourselves so our students can draw from our experiences?  What sort of example does that send, “Do as I say, not as I do?”.  If we are not willing to demonstrate bravery, then who will demonstrate it for our students?

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