Julia’s post on Why It’s Cool to Suck at Jiu Jitsu got me thinking on my own journey through jiu jitsu. From an objective standpoint I feel I’m a pretty average jiu jitsu student: personally I feel I have my good days, and other days where I need to wear a dunce cap and sit in the corner.
When I say “it’s okay to lose” I mean both in and out of competition. It’s human nature to want to be good at things: we want to win the gold, come out on top and be the best. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that: if that is your passion and your drive, then by all means go for it with all your heart. However, I feel some people lose sight of the learning experience losing brings. We all have to start somewhere- babies take their first fumbling steps, you weren’t brimming with worldly knowledge in Kindergarten and for those who train, you started out as the unsure white belt, just like everyone else.
It’s okay to not be good at things, because more importantly it provides us all the opportunity to grow. If we were good at everything all the time, what need would there be to advance, progress, and I firmly hold to the belief that what does not grow or evolve will become stagnate. Jiu jitsu offers the ideal environment to grow and progress, because it is (relatively) a new sport/martial art, and people are exploring all sorts of new and interesting configurations and combos which keep it interesting. Back to tournaments, I know there are lots of people who do not compete, but I like to think of tournaments as a checkpoint, or report card if you will, to see what kind of progress you are making.
The important thing to take away is while it’s okay to lose, it’s not okay to just stop trying. We all become discouraged, but that makes the eventual win all the more gratifying.