Life’s little reminders.

Here is a brief account of my whirlwind day at my first Jui Jitsu competition. It was really a fantastic day and I gained an insight into life and it’s workings.

It’s safe to say when you do things the first time, you don’t really know what to expect. You can only dive in and challenge yourself to try different things.

Upon my return from South East Asia I was heavily into Muay Thai. My skills, especially after attending Pinyo Muay Thai in Samui got me fit, conditioned and really into striking.

I returned and found a gym, Elev8 MMA, that did Brazilian Jui Jitsu. Daniel the proprietor, a keen participant of the sport himself, encouraged me to try a lesson. I was not particularly keen and wanted to continue with the Thai Kickboxing.

Since then, apart from a sublaxed rib which kept me out for the best part of 3 weeks, I have been a convert. Jui Jitsu is a gentle art, full of manoeuvring and chess like moves. I immediately liked it, but I will admit to some dread in the first month as I constantly got smashed on the mats

I was informed there was a competition this coming Saturday including a novice section of 0-6 months. It seemed like a good idea at the time. So I said yes.

I do believe in life you have to get out of your comfort zone. Those who do constantly get better results.

Fast forward to the day. And i really learnt a lot about life in one short day. More so than many other things I have done.

Obviously I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I also had a niggling shoulder injury. This could have easily got me a get out easily clause. But one thing i have learnt about life:

Don’t trust your mind as it will talk you out of everything. You are not the mind, you have a mind.

When is a good time to start things? Now. There was not another comp in ages and this was a round robin, guaranteeing me at least 4 fights. No sudden death knockouts. I trained on Thurday carrying the injury so I swallowed some anti inflammatories and decided to go.

It was a long drive out of 22 minutes. It was early so plenty of time to think on the way there.

I only knew one guy when I got there. Thankfully a support crew came after including training buddy Andrew (who told me i was his first submission). I weighed in and waited. I had to wait nearly 3 hours.

What I learnt, I learnt about the nature of competition. I won my first two fights. One on points and another on submission. I was fatigued and my forearms were sore. I had another 2 to go. It was a dream start.

Guys were talking about one more fight to win for a place. At the start of the day I was happy to participate, and have some fun. Being so new I had few expectations, and here I was with a perfect start to my (late starting) career. The gods were shining on me.

The third and fourth fights were interesting. I had not eaten all day I was fading I must admit. The third guy gave me a hard time. He jumped up and took me by surprise by pulling guard from mid air. The umpire later told me that it was now illegal and the fight should have been mine but he let it go. He then scored points on me by getting on top of me. I think I countered with side control. Then 3 things happened.
1. I thought i was winning and was controlling him at the end
2. All i needed to do when he was very tired was put a knee on him to win.
3. I was just about to get the key lock which would have submitted him.

Any of these occurrences and i would have had a gold medal. For me to put a knee up might have been a simple thing to do as I was controlling. Knowledge is power. I didn’t know any better. Nor probably did the guy i was fighting.

In the last fight I was 3-0 up with a minute to go but fatiguing badly. I had scored points for side control But this guy was a beast and mounted me in the last minute. Better endurance . He then choked me out. What if?
1. I had of tried a little harder and maintained sidcontrol for that minute. What if? I would have won the match. I was spent. He was the better athlete.

So I was oh so close to coming first. Instead, because of a flick of a knee or 15 seconds later i came 4th. At the start of the day I would have been happy with this. I somehow felt I could have done better considering the start I had.

You don’t always get what you want out of life. Life can be a tease. Dangle the carrot in front of your face and cruelly take it away.

But always remember your expectations, your mind can get greedy. My expectations initially were to participate. So obviously I surpassed them.

But it also taught me about changing perceptions. With that reality though, practising an attitude of gratitude is really important. I won my fights, my opponents theirs. I am thankful for the great day, the support of Daniel Kovacevic, Andrew, Gabriel and my coach Vince. I am thankful for the cool people I met. I am grateful I participated and now know what to work on. I am thankful to my skillfull opponents who all gave me a hard time.

Life can be a matter of inches. One inch here you get the score, one inch the other way you lose a title.

I have said it before. Showing an attitude of gratitude can make a real huge improvement in perspective.

When is the next one?

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