Saturday after my tournament, I had a 3 hour drive home by myself. I don’t mind driving, and I had loaded up on podcasts for the trip so I wasn’t worried about being bored. The thing about driving solo, however, is there is ample time to reflect. And after losing 3 of 3 matches, there was plenty to reflect on.
I joked this morning with someone that I think I went through all the stages of grief on the drive home. There were times when I was questioning why I do this, maybe not so much BJJ, but compete. I chastised myself for getting into my head too much. Try as I might, I could not convince myself that I should be able to win one match for a gold medal.
I thought about how in at least one of my matches, I didn’t really move and it’s hard to win when you don’t move. I thought about how I might be “too defensive.” Too worried about being submitted, and afraid to move and get caught. Preferring instead to lose 2-0 on points than get submitted.
I thought a lot about how, maybe, I’m just not that good. I really had no reason to assume anything different would happen at this tournament. I’ve not historically had good tournaments. I wasn’t beating all the whites and blues at the gym.
Quite frankly, I’m not sure why this tournament has had me down so much. It’s unusual for it to be Monday night after sparring, over 48 hours since the tournament ended and me still down. But I am.
As I mopped the gym tonight, and again as I drove home, I reflected on the realization, that I’m not sure I’ve actually improved since my blue belt test last October. I don’t feel like I have. I don’t even mean that as a lot of guys do, where they think “I’m still getting beat by so-and-so and I’m still not beating so-and-so.” Instead, I’m looking at the stupid little things I don’t do, basic things like shrimping away. I’ve probably improved since a year ago, but I haven’t felt like I’ve actually improved in ground fighting for several months (I do think my standup is getting better, as I’ve been taking judo almost every week for a while now.)
On my drive home I thought some more about if I’m getting better or not. I realized I have a few choices.
- Quit BJJ
- Keep doing exactly what I’ve been doing
- Do something different, change things up.
I’m not considering #1, but it’s always an option, so it showed up on my list.
Number 2 leads to the old saying “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” Which means, #2 is a viable option. I could focus on training the way I always have and then I’d just have to come to terms with the outcomes I get.
Number 3 seems like the “right” choice. That’s probably what I should do. If I want to have different results, I need to do something different. Train differently, prepare differently, add private lessons, spar less, spar more, quit my job and live on the mats, something.
I’m pretty sure, although not positive, that I’ll choose #3. I don’t know yet what change I’ll make. It could be minor or something more drastic. I know it’s the only way to get better, by forcing myself to grow.
I debated even writing this post and then again posting it. It sounds super negative, and I guess it is one of my more negative ones. I also don’t mean for it to be the dramatic middle-school-esque “nobody likes me” type of post. At the same time, I started this blog to chronicle my journey as I got up off my couch, and onto the mats, and the truth is, sometimes getting off the couch is a struggle. And if anyone actually reads these, I’d like them to know that if they ever wonder “What am I doing out here” that other people have had those thoughts.