Sunday, November 27, 2011

Combate? Combate!

Some thoughts on competition and its value in jiu-jitsu from Andrew "Goatfury" Smith.

Competing in BJJ or Grappling: Why?
Many students of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu feel a burning desire go out and prove themselves on the competition mats. This is all well and good for those guys, but for the rest of the community who see their teammates compete, or who are dimly aware that competition happens, competing might seem like a more risky endeavor than is worth doing. The nerves that lead up to competition are overwhelming for many; the process of trying to diet or cut weight is daunting enough to discourage many more.
To compete or not compete is ultimately a personal decision. But I will say that if you add competition to your jiu-jitsu, you will be at a quantitatively different place from those who train but do not compete. Not necessarily better - though I'll add that the history of jiu-jitsu is the history of competition - from Helio to Kyra - but quantitatively different.

There's no argument on that point. The experience of competition, win or lose, changes your conception of jiu-jitsu and if you have the right internal and external support in place, competition can be among the greatest catalysts for potential technical improvement you will ever experience.

Scientists think that one of the reasons why humans have so much excess brain capacity - in excess of what is necessary for survival - is part of the same reason why cheetahs and gazelles are so obscenely fast: competition, an evolutionary arms race. I think the same thing is true, on a different scale, when it comes the competitive arena.