Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Is It OK To Lose?

If you do anything in the least bit competitive then at some point you will lose, what you do with that loss determines what happens from there.

From a recent interview I did with Allsports International Ltd

"Yes I have competed in every different style I have done. I think it is crucial to try competition even if it is only once just for the experience of the pressure and having to perform efficiently under stressful situations.

Competing has many benefits but one of the main things for me is that it helps you to overcome yourself. To hear the voice inside your head telling you that you will lose, you will be embarrassed and everyone on the internet will think you are no good, then over-ride that and still compete anyway regardless of the outcome, that's the healthy way. Whether you win or lose the sporting contest has no real world consequence and changes nothing, when you wake up the morning after, you are still you, you just hurt less if you won ;0)

Competition helps you overcome that fear because as long as you try then you never really lose".


I have these 4 rules for my students, and myself, when competing;

  • If you agree to compete, make sure you turn up and honour your commitment
  • Be professional, be prepared and make weight
  • Give 100% and do the best you can do
  • Enjoy the experience and learn from it


Nothing in there about winning, do your best and try to learn, everything in Jiu Jitsu should always be viewed as a lesson learned.

The path to greatness always starts the same way, you start at entry level, experience some success and some defeat, accept it, learn from it and use it for future reference then go from there.

Examples from people that are the absolute pinnacle of their sport:

Arguably one of the world's greatest grapplers, Braulio Estima, confessed in his interview on The Fightworks Podcast #196 that he lost in the first round of each of the first 5 majors that he competed in and considered quitting. Instead of quitting though he pushed through it and the rest is history as they say.

The current BJJ phenom Rafael Mendes "You learn more from defeat than from victory because winning makes you celebrate and think the mistakes you made were not enough to harm you. Now in defeat you analyze every second and it makes you reflect more.

And finally from one of the biggest legends in world sport, Michael Jordan "I have missed more than nine thousand shots in my career. I have lost almost three hundred games. Twenty-six times I have been trusted to take a game winning shot and missed. I have failed over and over and over in my life. And that is why I succeed".

My own coach Chris Haueter advises "prepare for the competition as though it is the most important thing in your life then on the day detach yourself from the outcome"

If you need inspiration then the Roosevelt quote I always refer to is as relevant now as it ever was and is on my gym wall "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better............."

So accept that competing is statistically a 50/50 chance of winning/losing and do it anyway, you will be glad you did.



slideyfoot said...

Out of interest,does competition have any bearing on rank at Combat Base? E.g., there are some schools that apparently insist on competitive success before promotion, whereas others don't particularly care (like the perennial example of John Danaher going all the way up the ranks without ever entering a tournament).

Combat Base said...


Good question that doesn't have a definite yes or no answer.

If you want to be promoted then if you go and win a couple of tournaments that will help.

Probably 99% of our coloured belts have competed but the other 1% have not. If someone in class can consistently 'beat' their peers; same weight, grade etc and give some game to the next grade up peers then will eventually be promoted.

I personally recommend everyone try competition though at some point, we don't insist on it but it will sure help.