The Uphill Battle

We had an in-house tournament today at Mid-America, and I was able to get in a few matches before I had to leave for my son’s baseball game. The format was a bit different than regular tournaments. For the first 1/2 of the match, it is submission only, and the second half it’s points or submissions.  I’ve trained a lot since my last tournament back in March, and I’ve tried to focus more on specific things during that training.  I had set for myself a couple goals:

  1. Don’t get submitted in any matches
  2. Score a point (I didn’t score any points at Sasquatch)
  3. Win a match

Those are pretty much in order of what I wanted to get done.  The good news is I didn’t get submitted in any of my 3 matches. The bad news is, I didn’t score a point and lost all 3 matches. My matches were 4-0, 0-0 (ref’s decision), 12-0. So I did OK in the first two matches. My 3rd match started off good with me getting  guillotine when my opponent shot, but I couldn’t finish it and it was all downhill from there.

When I was done I was actually kind of down on myself. I had wanted to do better than I did. Obviously, you don’t compete unless you’re trying to win, so it’s disappointing when you don’t win. When I was heading out to my son’s game, the thoughts running through my head were about how much time and effort I put in to BJJ. I know I’m better than I was even 2 months ago, but it’s still a realization that there has been a lot of time and energy put towards something that, as of right now, I’m not that great at.

Going to my son’s game and the fact that we have family coming in to town today means that I’m not going to sit around and dwell on my losses. I’m not going to beat myself up over them. I’m not going to be depressed.  But the feeling of disappointment is very real. I was actually reminded of a conversation my dad & I had in his car. I must have been about 15. We were heading somewhere one day after he got off work, and he made the comment “Sometimes your best just isn’t enough.” To be clear, he wasn’t talking about any performance I’d just done or anything. And at the time I wasn’t 100% sure I knew what he meant. But as I thought about the statement, I began to grasp it. He wasn’t saying to not try your best (and definitely wasn’t saying not to try.) He was simply observing that sometimes you’re not capable enough to handle a situation you’re in.

Today I lived out “Sometimes you’re best isn’t enough.” I was trying what I knew, and had coaches tell me that it was some of my best work in a sparring situation. But today, the other competitors were better. As I pondered this fact, I realized that I’m fighting an up-hill battle. I haven’t hid the fact that until I did BJJ I didn’t really do much consistent physical activity. I took close to 20 years off. The last regular, physical activity I did would probably be playing on the freshman soccer team. So after a 20 year hiatus, I can’ t just expect my body to do all the things I want it to do after training for only 11.5 months.  That’s not an excuse. I won’t say “I didn’t do as good, but that guy’s younger and in more shape.” Instead, it’s an observation that starting later in life, after not doing much, makes things harder.


**Disclaimer** When I decided to start writing couchjitsu, I wanted to try and capture what it was like to train BJJ. There are high points such as first submission, getting promoted, winning a tournament etc. But there are also low points. One thing I want to make sure I do is capture the frustrations and disappointments. I still love BJJ and want to get to class as soon as possible. But I want to make sure I’m being true to the experience. So this post isn’t a “fishing for compliments” type post. This is what I actually felt and experienced today. And if you train or want to train BJJ, chances are you’ll have similar feelings at some point.