Why It’s Okay to Lose

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.

This is for getting the terms Kimura and Americana mixed up…All the time…

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.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Why It’s Okay to Lose

  1. Hey lady! Nice job there. I think I personally define losing in a few ways. I consider it losing if I get angry while rolling. I consider it losing if my head just isn’t in it. I consider it losing if I blame something for not doing X well.

    However, yes, definitely in a tournament – losing is clear. But I also agree with you – losing is an EXTREMELY valuable resource. I like to think of the guy who introduced New Coke. The idea was a LOSER and it lost Coke SO MUCH MONEY. http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/heritage/cokelore_newcoke.html

    But at the same time, it was about taking risks and learning from those mistakes.

    Nice thoughts!

  2. This made me feel a lot better after my nogi worlds loss. 😦

    • Katie

      aw, I’m sorry to hear: but it really is an opportunity to learn and develop. And, more then anything- just keep trying, and working toward your goal.

  3. Ruben – our “professor” is a fifth degree black belt who is still winning first place in international tournaments at age 49. He often states in class that he never won a single tournament until AFTER he got his black belt. He is a fabulous teacher, gentle, kind and humorous. So who knows where you can go.

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