So, confession time: lately in particular when I’ve been signing up for competitions, if it’s a tournament where the brackets are posted ahead of time I choose not to look at the names of the other competitors. I’ll look up the bracket a) to make sure I’m registered properly and b) sometimes to see the number of people registered, but that’s really more just for a rough “over ten/under ten” estimate- and I’m even just using ten as an arbitrary number, and that’s about it. In my opinion it really doesn’t matter who you are competing against, particularly in your weight division.
Think about it: you learn their name. Then you Google their past matches. Look them up on Facebook. You see all the medals they’ve won, the sweeps/submissions/etc. that have worked for them….Next thing you know, you’ve researched so much into these people and built these competitors up so much in your mind, and in a lot of instances you start to downplay and even doubt your own skill. And then when the time comes, you’re so worried about what this other person is going to do that you forget your own game- you hesitate, become unsure. You start to react to their techniques, rather than be proactive and play your game. And that, my friends, is a very slippery slope which can lead to defeat.
So why worry? Particularly when it comes to your weight division- you already know the general essentials. They are typically either your age or chose to fight people about your age, probably about as heavy as you are, more likely than not have two arms, two legs, etc. Human- well until we find sentient life on other planets that can fit into a gi anyway.
This doesn’t mean to be rude or cold to the person when you get on the mat: I am definitely a fan of being cordial to my fellow competitors- they took the time, the money and effort to participate in the competition that day, and win or lose that’s something to be grateful for, and that appreciation should be expressed. If they weren’t participating you wouldn’t have anyone to go against when the time came. I’m just saying I would rather first see my opponent in person on the mat, rather than Facebook stalk them and in the process run the risk of doubting my own jiu jitsu.
What do you guys think? Do you look up your opponents when you know the bracketing ahead of time? Or do you have more of a “come what may” attitude, and just jump in?
Let me know- otherwise, have a great day everyone!