Sunday, September 01, 2013

Al Perdedor Perder

As much as I appreciate this kind of video, I've always felt that they've left me more than a little flat.

Don't get me wrong. If you are the kind of competitor who usually wins, and is having a hard time dealing with a surprising loss, then this is great advice. I'd also like to add, grow the F up. No one is invincible. Unless your psychology is completely upside down, infrequently losses are a budding champion's best friend.

But I always wonder what guys like this have to say to those of us who had competitive seasons like I did as a purple and brown belt. After winning most of my matches as a white belt and winning about half my matches at blue belt, every tournament above this level was a disaster. I probably competed 3-4 times as a purple belt, and almost as many times as a brown belt, and lost every match.

Every one.  All of them. Seven or eight tournaments in a row with multiple matches per tournament.

There aren't a lot of videos talking to folks in this position. The most honest comment was the one my professor gave after my last purple belt loss, when he pointed out that all my competitors were, quite literally, half my age. About half were amateur MMA fighters, as well.

True enough, but it didn't change the circumstance: if I wanted to compete locally, then I'd be competing against guys young enough to be my sons. Full stop.

In a way, earning my black belt has liberated me from this problem. There are very few local black belts who compete (maybe there'd be more if they saw my name in the brackets), especially at the lower weight classes. Even when it comes to Superfights, these sort of opportunities are few and far between - and I'm no one but a fool's notion of a Superfight participant.

There are the IBJJF events. I noticed that the Atlanta Open, for example, had a healthy number of master and seniors competitors at the faixa preta level. That's a good sign. But the idea of my nearest opportunity to compete against a peer being on the opposite end of a multi-state plane ride is a bit depressing - especially since my new job already puts me on the road 4-5 times a year (including two out-of-country trips).

That's the terrain. I have a few goals for 2014 that will require me to better navigate this terrain than I have thus far - and yesterday's minor intercostal muscle pull in some ways only accelerates my determination to make a few things happen before I turn 50.