Do you compete for the right reasons? Do you compete for yourself or do you compete to prove something to others? Is it worth all of the hard training and time you put in? Is it worth the injuries? Is it worth the money?
I sometimes wonder why I compete. I love the feeling after I compete, whether I win or lose I feel great! I feel like I had the best time of my life. But leading up to competition is not always fun and games and I wonder sometimes if it's worth it.
I work a full time job as a medical assistant as well as run a BJJ/MMA gym with my husband
AND we have a teenage daughter about to get her license to drive. I have my hands full.
1. I leave my house Mon-Fri at 7am, drop my daughter off at school then drive to work.
2. On my lunch break a couple days a week I drive over to the gym and clean. A clean gym is very important! and I don't always trust the cleaning skills of the guys.
3. After work I drive over to the gym while my daughter takes the city bus home so I can train. She doesn't like taking the city bus home all the time but it's a sacrifice we make so I can do what I love to do.
4. I do my strength and conditioning from 5-6pm, as long as I get out of work on time.
5. At 6pm I take BJJ class
6. At 7:30pm either wrestling or Judo depending on the day.
7. I usually get home at 9pm. That makes for a 14 hour day for me!
8. Saturday Morning I wake up and teach kids class at 9 am then Female class at 10am then open mat from 11am to 1pm.
9. Sunday open mat again from 11am - 1pm.
WOW I am tired just writing all of that down.
So the point of me telling you my life schedule is because this is crazy! This is not normal for most people to be so busy. I feel like I never spend any time with my daughter, she doesn't really care anyway, she is a teenager, but I care!
My friends ask when I can hang out and spend a weekend away and I tell them, "maybe in a couple months because March is packed with training and tournaments." Then they will ask about going somewhere in June, maybe to the beach and I will find myself trying to schedule it around Worlds. My life revolves around BJJ. I can't ever schedule anything without cancelling something else.
Well is it worth it?
I say yes! Everyone says we need to do something for ourselves. Well this is what I do for myself. I wish I could slow some of it down but training BJJ just to train and training BJJ to compete is two different things
When we compete we put our whole life into BJJ. We live and breath BJJ (and work because we still have to pay bills) :) But I still want to know if you're doing it for the right reasons?
1. Do I compete because I want to prove I am not a wus? Yes, I do put that in the back of my mind when I am competing. I would be lying if I didn't say I have something to prove. I used to be bullied because of my size when I was younger. I was scared. People would make me do things I did not want to do, but I did most of it because I couldn't stand up for myself. I was 80lbs in 8th grade 90lbs in High School, I never reached 100 lbs till after I met my husband and he stuffed me with food. I don't want to be scared anymore. I want to be confident when I walk onto the mat or just when I am walking down the street. I feel good when I am out there competing, I feel good when I am sweating and tired and I know I worked my butt off.
2. But I lose 75% of the time, does that make me feel bad or make me want to quit? Yes and No, everybody wants to win and losing does get to your psyche, so sometimes I tell myself that I am done, I suck, I can't do this anymore, but then I come to my senses and say, I don't really care. I don't see the people who bullied me out there on the mats or in the cage. This sport takes guts and I have them! I meet great people and I learn from every loss and I love it! Plus your team will still love you win or lose, don't worry if they are going to get mad if you lose. A real team will just be proud of you for stepping on the mat.
3. Do I do it for fame? Well yes and no, I do like to promote the gym and I do want to motivate other women to compete but I am also not a show boater. I don't like the spot light on me and because of that I get very nervous. I don't want to be judged. I just want to go out and have fun. But as TuPac says "Only God can judge me."
4. Are the competition nerves worth it? This is a tough one for me to answer. I get so nervous and I am still trying to deal with nerves. I think the pre-competition jitters is the only part of BJJ competition I HATE! I feel sick, I can't eat so I am exhausted. I can't sleep the night before so I am drained throughout the whole day. But after the tournament is over I wonder every single time why I felt that way because there is no reason for it. I have been competing for 4 years and my nerves have not diminished one bit. But I am reaching into that side of my competition training to hopefully get rid of that. A little bit of nerves is OK but I am way overboard.
5. Are the injuries worth it? Well my dad tells me to quit all of the time. My girlfriends think I am insane and I get head turns everywhere I go because of all of my bruises. When I am with my husband they give him the evil eye. He is definitely behind some of my bruises. But I did sign a waiver :). I have been pretty fortunate I think. I have had one torn ligament in my elbow from a vicious armbar and I have a few jammed toes, I have bilateral knee tendinitis and I am not a spring chicken so my back and neck hurts all the time from being smashed by bigger guys. But I told my dad, if I wasn't doing BJJ I would be doing another sport that would cause my back and knees to hurt. I know the risk of doing BJJ and I know I can get injured when I step on the mats. I love it though. A few bumps and bruises never hurt anyone. Warriors love their battle wounds, we are proud of them. We heal and if I get an injury that puts me out of BJJ well then the journey was worth it. But I do whatever I can to prevent injuries and I take care of myself by eating right and preparing myself properly before competition and training.
6. Is it worth the money? Well it is expensive to compete as all of us competitors know. Even if you do have sponsors you still end up paying for some stuff. Tournaments aren't cheap, period. Hotels, gas, food, tournament fee. We all try to register early to get the best deal but sometimes we procrastinate because we are unsure, And the hardest part for us women is if there are enough women in my bracket to make it worth the money. Sometimes I am not sure if I want to pay $80 for 1 opponent and a t-shirt Especially if I have already spent $1000's going against the same people over and over again for the last 4 years. Well the bigger tournaments you are always going to have different women which is good and that makes it more worth the money. But 1 opponent is better than no opponents and if you have to pay the $80 to compete and it is fulfilling to you then do it!
Most of all I compete for myself, nobody forces me to compete. I am the one who goes online and signs myself up, not my husband, not my teammates, I do it. I don't really care if my friends think I am crazy and dumb for putting my body through such torture and I don't care if people think I am a bad mom. My daughter gets straight A's and she is a great kid and if I saw a change in her grades or behavior believe me she is my first priority.
I work my a** off and I put everything I have into BJJ and it may not be enough to be a world champion. I have a lot of responsibilities so what I put in may not be as much as the person who beats me but that’s OK. I still had a great journey to get there to that tournament. My team-mates and my professor's (my husband) support gets me through the hard times and all of the pain, the bruises, the torture, the sweat, the tears.... all worth it to me.
So basically if you are competing because someone is forcing you, you feel pressured to, or you feel bad and you don't want your team to be mad that you don't compete. Then you are doing it for the wrong reasons!
If you are competing for yourself then you are doing it for the right reasons.