Category Archives: bjj tournaments

BJJ Competitions and Courage

We just had an in house tournament this past weekend at our gym: it was a good time, a couple of other local schools were invited so people were able to get in a couple of matches with some other students they haven’t gone against a thousand times before. All in all it was pretty good.

One thing that I think some lower ranks tend to forget is that really any competition you go to, of course the ultimate goal is to win. You train a bunch for some of the bigger ones, hone your skills, maybe put down that extra slice of pizza if you are looking to make a certain weight division. But really the biggest part of the whole thing, and really the biggest win when you think about it is having the courage to step outside of your comfort zone and compete.

It’s part of the reason why you see so many inspirational quotes about competing and putting it all on the mat and all of that stuff. It’s because jiu jitsu people who have competed, fully understand just how stressful competing can be- and more importantly, how many people shy away from competing, for a myriad of reasons. They think they don’t know enough, that they aren’t good enough, haven’t practiced enough….The list of reasons why not to compete can literally become a mile long.

More often than not the person who is competing probably feels much the same way- the difference is that person has taken all of those things into account, and has still decided to test their skills against another person. Maybe they will do great and win, maybe they will lose, but that person has decided to pull themselves together and compete anyway.

It’s that part of the whole thing that your coaches or instructors look at: sure, they also want you to do well, and everyone comes from a different place and mindset, but for the most part coaches know that win or lose, ultimately it was the choice to face your fears and anxiety, and to head out onto the mat that really matters. That is a major win for the day, regardless of what happens during your matches.

Just some thoughts for the day- have a great Wednesday everyone!

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, bjj tournaments, jiu jitsu

Bjj and Life- Less About Balance, and More About Counterbalance

So I’m reading the book “The One Thing” right now-

CF2ED70A-7780-45C2-8382-E24A7110D007

It’s more or less about hyper prioritization and how you can’t do all the things at once, and so you should prioritize your life to do the most important things that can effect your life for the better, making the other things/goals easier to achieve.

There’s a section of the book that makes the statement that there is no such thing as “balance” in a person’s life- it’s sort of more like walking on a tight rope. If you’ve ever watched a clip of one performing, they are constantly readjusting, re-calibrating one way or the other to achieve the overall goal of balance to get to their end destination.

And I kind of agree with that sentiment: there are definitely times in my life where I am totally committed to getting ready for a tournament: extra dieting, extra training, extra time spent on the mats in order to prepare. And most importantly, I keep in mind that all of this extra time away from other responsibilities and other aspects of my life is not something that is sustainable. I know that a lot of people go through that same kind of regimen, and then express some wishful thinking about how they could train and be that focused on jiu jitsu all the time. Listen, it’s awesome that you love BJJ that much to want to put yourself through that kind of regimen, but to do that sometimes means you have to sacrifice A LOT- mainly relationships, free time to explore other interests and other responsibilities that need your attention.

And hey, some people make that jump, and they are usually those few elite that everyone else looks up to. But even if someone happens to be one of that very tiny subset, fact of the matter is that they also have responsibilities and relationships they also need to attend to. Also, the body is not really meant to sustain that kind of grind for an extended period of time, on a physical or psychological level. It’s like going on a juice cleanse with no end date- you will become physically and emotionally depleted until you burn out or possibly really hurt yourself.

This may be a better way for us to talk about how to live a life where one can still compete and give their all, and not alienate other aspects of your life. Sometimes in order to really feel like you put the work in for important tournaments, yes, you need to absolutely dive whole heartedly into training and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Ordinary effort will create ordinary results, and extraordinary effort increases your change of extraordinary results. I think very few people would argue with that. But there needs to be an effort to counterbalance- a purposeful effort to focus on the other elements of your life in order to achieve the “balance” we strive for.

Just some thoughts to chew on- have a good day, and if you can, please take a moment of silence to think about/honor those who lost their lives and were effected by the events of 9/11.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, bjj tournaments, jiu jitsu, women's bjj, women's bjj

The Appeal of IBJJF Tournaments for Women in BJJ

It was an interesting question posed on social media- they expressed frustration regarding their impression that in order to compete against more women, they had to sign up for an IBJJF tournament, which let’s be honest costs a lot of money. They person expressed frustration that they had to drive for a longer period of time and hand out more money than say going to a smaller tournament closer to home, and asked why so many women chose to sign up for IBJJF tournaments. And her question is totally reasonable: it does seem a little silly to pay over 100 dollars to drive 2 to 3 hours to wait another couple of hours to fight someone that may potentially train like, 45 minutes away from you and the two of you could have duked it out at a local tourney for 60 bucks.

There are a couple of factors that play into this: first and foremost, it’s one of the better known tournament organizations, and whether anyone likes it or not, it’s pretty much a gold standard when it comes to gi competitions, especially when it comes to their rule set. From what I can tell a number of other tournament organizations use IBJJF’s rule set as their own, so walking in you should have a good handle on what’s allowed. Some commented on this person’s question stating that IBJJF is one of the best run tournaments out there. I think when it comes to the bigger tournaments- Pans, Worlds, etc. they more or less smoothly, but there have definitely been times where they have messed: the displays shorted out, during this past Pans there was a mess up in their bracketing and scheduling software and a bunch of us who were supposed to fight on a Saturday thought our divisions were pushed up to a Friday night (we found this out after dinner 45 minutes away from the venue and the divisions were supposed to “start” in 30 minutes, so we were pretty much all freaking out to some degree until we were able to get a rep on the phone to assure us it was a mistake), there was one time where one of our girls was basically forgotten in the bull pen when her competitor didn’t show up and she was basically left there waaaaay too long- they are by no means a perfect organization, but they get it right more times than they get it wrong.

Also, from what I can tell it’s one of the first tournament organizations that really set out from just the local scene and decided to extend their reach- it’s sort of like the GoPuff of the industry: for anyone who may not be aware of what go puff may be, it’s basically a convenience store on wheels. Say it’s late at night and you suddenly fall ill and need some pepto bismal, or maybe you’ve gotten the munchies due to whatever shenanigans you’re up to and could really go for some junk food, but you’re all out! You log into the app, pick out your items and go puff will deliver those items to your door.

There are companies that are now trying to recreate that service and push into that market space, but since (as far as I know) GoPuff was the first to offer this service, so it has the brand recognition and had a chance to establish its presence as the main service. And even if they weren’t the first, IBJJF is possibly of the longest running and, to my knowledge, still expanding tournament organizations out there.

So you have a recognizable, long running tournament with a clearly established and well known rule set- that frankly you know top competitors compete in, and are motivated to do so now because of the points system they recently implemented as a qualifier for some of their larger tournaments…. it’s no wonder that women tend to gravitate toward those tournaments. It would be nice to see more women in local tournaments, but really I’m happy to see women competing anywhere, and if that’s at an IBJJF tournament, so be it.

Will there be a change? Honestly, probably not. There are a good deal of tournament organizations out there, but unless they can find a way to top IBJJF’s popularity in the market- maybe by specifically reaching out to women? It will probably remain the same.

If there’s another tournament organization that you would love to see take off, please by all means let me know. Otherwise, have a great day everyone!

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, bjj tournaments, jiu jitsu, women's bjj

Happy Friday! Sometimes You Compete, Sometimes You Support the Competitors

14729087_10104378295452828_1018633420799829253_n

Happy Friday everyone!

I pretty frequently go to some of the smaller, more local tournaments to coach my teammates, sometimes to act as their videographer and sometimes just to offer support as a friend and teammate. While I get it, it’s a long day to sit around in a gym, if you can, I would encourage you once in a while to go and support your teammates if you aren’t competing. While it’s not a deal-breaker if you don’t, it’s nice to know sometimes that someone is in the crowd rooting for you.

Have a great weekend everyone!

1 Comment

Filed under bjj, bjj tournaments, jiu jitsu, tournaments

Competing in Jiu Jitsu is About More Than Just Medals

Sure, medals are nice, but a focus on simply winning can sometimes end up hurting more than helping.

Black belt Mike Muscemi recently talks about this in an instagram post. It’s kind of a lengthy post, but here’s an edited version of it:

“Something I want to talk about is that I think people put too much emphasis on is winning worlds and a gold medal. This goal is a great as a motivation to work hard and to improve your jiu jitsu, but when it becomes everything to you, you lose a lot more than you gain from winning. When I won my first black belt worlds in 2017 I went into a depression….The next 2 years I would go on to win the black belt worlds again. But now my mindset is completely different. No, I am not competing for a medal, I am competing for myself. The medal is just recognition of the amount of hard work and effort I put into this. An object does not bring you happiness. Just like materialistic people, things don’t bring them happiness. Don’t look for happiness through things!”

Don’t get me wrong, winning a medal in a jiu jitsu tournament is great- it feels immensely gratifying to stand on a podium and be recognized for your hard work, for the time and effort you put into this moment. And that absolutely should be recognized and respected.

But sometimes an obsession with simply winning can lead to unhealthy behaviors on and off the mat. On the mat can lead to a weird mentality of not expanding and trying new things to develop and expand your skills, or during some tournaments it may lead to a lot of stalling and missing opportunities to do some really cool stuff, because at some point an obsession with winning also became a fear of losing- and that fear can really limit you as a jiu jitsu player. Jiu jitsu is about learning, growing, evolving as time goes on. It’s hard to do that if you are stubbornly refusing to allow yourself to be vulnerable and put yourself in places that may not be your “A” game.

Off the mat, there could be a wild imbalance to your life- shirking responsibilities, avoiding relationships that would require you to balance your time off the mat vs on- and while there are no immediate, drastically detrimental consequences (usually) from this behavior, at some point I would think you would look back with at least a small amount of regret at the missed opportunity to develop the other points of your life. Trips that you could have taken, friendships that you let slip away because you were so focused on just training and competing. After some time it all begins to add up.

But, back to the competition bit- also keep in mind that winning a medal more often than not really doesn’t change much. Unless you’re someone that’s depending on a sponsorship, there’s no guarantee that a medal will change much of anything. You won’t suddenly get a new belt, you’ll still have the same responsibilities that you had before the tournament- not too much changes, I’m afraid.

It’s one of the reasons why I don’t typically dwell too long on the performance at a tournament, win or lose. Granted if I win I am excited for that day, and if I lose I try to analyze what went wrong as an opportunity to do better, but I also view tournaments as simply snapshots in my jiu jitsu “adventure”- I appreciate the moment for what it is, and then start looking forward to the next one. I’m not sure if that would work for everyone, but hey, it helps me sleep at night and keeps me on the mat, ready and willing to learn and train more.

So, in short you should absolutely compete: even if you don’t think you’re a competitor you should at least try to step out on the mat and give it a shot at least once (or a few times) before deciding one way or another. But keep in mind there is more to just competing than winning a medal- it’s about stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying your best to use your game and skills against someone who is also trying to do the same.

That’s all for now- have a great day everyone!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, bjj tournaments, jiu jitsu

Article on Fight 2 Win and Their Focus on Women in BJJ

Hey all, it’s taking me a little longer than anticipated to gather my thoughts for a full post, so in the meantime here’s an article from Jiu Jitsu Times about Fight 2 Win and their focus on featuring women in the sport.

Have a great day!

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, bjj tournaments, jiu jitsu

Karma and BJJ Tournaments

Talking about competing in the previous post reminded me of something that happened at a tournament years ago, and how karma sometimes can have more immediate results than we expect.

It was one of the Pans tournaments and I had placed (I don’t remember what place- again, they all just kind of run together at this point). I was intent on doing the absolute weight division (also known as the open, in case I switch terminology at some point) and as one does at these tournaments, I started to make my way down to the area in order to sign up for that part of the tournament.

As I got in line, from what I recall there was a girl behind me who had a friend ahead of me, and I offered to switch spots with the one behind so the two friends could chat. Then, as we’re waiting in line to sign up there was also one of the more popular competitors who also got in line, and they decided to jump in line ahead of me in a very intentional fashion. The girl that I had previously had the interaction with kept looking back in a sort of “wtf?” look on her face. I told her “it’s fine”- it wasn’t really fine, but we’re all headed to the same place and I’m not the type of person to cause a ruckus over a spot in a line. Risk is definitely not worth any reward in this situation.

So we’re moving up in the line and the first girl gets to the table, turns around and motions to me to come up with her, acting like we’ve been friends for years. She chats in Portuguese to the coordinator, they’re laughing, I’m standing their awkwardly because I just jumped past the line jumper – which they didn’t say anything at this point, and I’m not entirely sure what they thought about the whole situation. It was a bit of a surreal experience, to be honest, and one of those few moments where karma has a more direct cause and effect than usual.

Just wanted to share that little story with you all: the moral of the story being be kind and courteous to those around you- not only because it’s the nice thing to do and we need a little more kindness in the world, but also because of the fringe benefit that karma is a thing and will reward you at some point in some fashion.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, bjj tournaments, jiu jitsu, tournaments, women's bjj, women's bjj

You Can Compete Against Someone and Still be Friends with Them

I think this is something we all know, but not really something we talk about in jiu jitsu. I’ve had conversations with other jiu jitsu women where this is sometimes the elephant in the room that’s danced around, and I think that it’s time we explicitly state it.

You can compete against someone and still not only have the upmost respect for that person, but you can in fact be friends with them.

57425234_372922633311714_5381491118766555136_n

There are plenty of other women in the jiu jitsu community that I have competed against, and regardless of winning or losing I am always thrilled to see them at the next tournament. And they seem pretty happy to see me as well! We chat, talk about how things are going, so on and so forth.

While the sport is growing in popularity, it is still relatively a small sport. Particularly as you gain more rank, you’ll see more and more of the same faces at tournaments, the same people standing across from you to shake your hand to start a match, the same smiles on the podium as you sit there and wait for that one guy to get out of the photographer’s way so you can just take the damn picture… It seems kind of silly to see someone a bajillion times (granted, at one specific function, but still), and not at the very least exchange a few pleasantries.

Anyway, my point being that there are times where it seems to be a bit awkward: you’re not sure if someone is willing to extend their hand in friendship after a match. And some won’t, if we’re being totally honest. But more often than not they will, and to me that’s also part of what competing is all about: of course the main purpose is to step on the mat and do your best with the intent of winning, but win or lose it’s also about meeting new people and having a chance to connect with other people in the sport.

Just some thoughts for today: have a great day everyone!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, bjj tournaments, jiu jitsu, women's bjj, women's bjj

Hillary VanOrnum & Gabi Garcia to Compete at Fight to Win Portland

I mentioned how Hillary was opening a new gym, and fairly recently it was announced that she’s going to be competing against Gabi Garcia on June 7th. Pretty exciting!

60805512_2244091895650413_8110769288631025664_n

While most of us can’t make it to the event in person due to silly things like taking time off for traveling and responsibilities, Fight to Win usually streams the event through flograppling.com and I would say this is probably one to sign up to watch. Just my opinion though.

That’s all for now: have a great day everyone!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, bjj tournaments, jiu jitsu, women's bjj

Back from a Long Writing Hiatus…

Oh man, it’s been a minute… Coming back and writing is something I’ve thought about often, but just haven’t had the chance due to life and such.

Actually, I’m not being totally honest: there was also someone that was connected to my social media accounts that at the time I couldn’t block or unfollow and didn’t feel comfortable sharing anything with, and so in response I withdrew a lot from social media. Anyway, that person is pretty much no longer in my life, so they are no longer on my social media and I’m slowly coming back around to posting stuff online again. I hate admitting when things are not ok, but it also doesn’t feel honest to not address that part of the whole thing.

Anyway a (somewhat) quick recap of the more interesting things that have happened over the past… goodness, 9 months? Dang….

  • Went to Costa Rica: It’s a beautiful place with some amazing beaches, rainforests and volcanoes: however, a lot of people will tell you that ‘everyone there speaks English’. MOST speak English, but not everyone. I think every time I failed to say something in Spanish, somewhere in the world my old high school Spanish teacher felt a twinge of sadness (…Lo siento?). I would still highly recommend visiting.

 

  •  Training, training, and trained some more.
60268443_2941680402516405_7833415668048330752_n

And we’re in a new space- with huge windows!

  • Competed in a couple of tournaments: didn’t really do anything amazing at any of them, but that’s just fine. I did the best that I could at the time, and I’m ok with that. I don’t really dwell on “could have, should have, would have” scenarios when it comes to tournaments and instead prefer to look ahead to the next challenge. Made some friends along the way, which is also great fun and something I always enjoy.
IMG_7478

Competed against Emily Kwok! Lovely person to lose to….

  • Co-taught my first seminar! I was asked by Girls in Gis a few months ago to go through a little mini teaching session with another black belt in the area, Jen Russell. I didn’t really teach anything super cool, but everyone seemed to have fun, which is really more of the point.

58383854_372922653311712_4382146718267867136_n

So anyway, that’s more or less a quick recap of what’s been happening over the past several months. I’m hoping to get back into a more regular posting schedule- I may even try to redesign the look of this blog (whaaaaaat…). It’s been what, 8 or 9 years, at least? Probably time for a little- er, a lot, rather- sprucing up.

Anyhoo, for anyone who still checks in now and again to read this, let me know what you’ve been up to, and see you later!

 

2 Comments

Filed under bjj, bjj tournaments, jiu jitsu, Training, women's bjj, women's bjj