One tournament match its worth ten sparring classes. One sparring class is worth ten technique classes. – Ed Shobe
By that logic, I went through 40 sparring classes this weekend. In that time I learned a few things
1. I’m not naturally gifted at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This just means I’m going to have to work at it, probably pretty hard.
2. I need to attack more. I got my grips. I was first. I took the match to the ground more than once. But I stalled out there. I need a more active guard, and be willing to open up for a sweep without fearing getting passed.
3. I can withstand a lot. In my second match, my opponent locked in a tight rear-naked choke. But I really didn’t want to tap. I worked to free myself. I didn’t, but I also didn’t go to sleep.
4. Tournament BJJ can be an odd beast. My last match I lost (decidedly) 12-0. But in that match, not a single submission was attempted. My opponent looked at an Americana, but didn’t really push for it.
5. BJJ can be really humbling. After my losses, I felt like I should apologize to my family. I felt as if I’d let them down. I felt as if I’d let down my teammates at Mid-America who tried to help me get ready. I heard from several people who told me that they were proud of my effort. That was very meaningful to me. At the same time, I know how I stack up against the guys on Saturday. I can’t delude myself, I lived through reality.
6. My losses didn’t change who I am. I’ve got areas to work on in my game, but who doesn’t? Saturday night, I went back to the hotel with my family. We ate. We swam. We went and got ice cream. I’ll wake up tomorrow and go to work. I’ll write some code I think is awesome, and the next day, I’ll realize it sucks. I’ll goto BJJ this week and get better. Nothing changes. I’m reminded of a story from seminary. A professor’s friend had his house burn down. As he and his son saw it, he asked “what is the chief end of man? (Westminster shorter catechism)” His son replies “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” “What’s changed?”
Or as Charles put it Saturday “If you lose by points, nobody cares. There is no winning or losing in jiu jitsu. There is only learning.”