This past weekend I had the opportunity to compete at the Texas Subhunter 10 here in Austin, Texas. I had an incredibly tough match with a game opponent that I caught during our first meeting. This meeting, the rules were a little bit different so I had to modify my game accordingly. Unfortunately, my adaptation to this ruleset had me taking more chances than I was comfortable with and eventually led to my demise in the last four seconds of competition.
One of the greatest things about Jiu-jitsu is the opportunities it provides us to be life-long students. During my match, I learned some valuable lessons. Because of this particular sub-only ruleset, there were no winners if there were no submissions. In other words, no submission meant a draw and a draw meant, to me, both sides lost. I could not take a draw. Not on my life. I knew I had to go out there and put everything on the line, taking as many chances as possible in order to secure a victory. What ended up costing me was jumping into an ankle lock in the final minute, hoping to snatch a submission in fear of drawing. Watching over my tape, I can’t even be mad. What ended up costing me was getting caught in a knee-bar on the knee that I sprained just a week before. Admittedly, I panicked and gave a half-tap (you cant even tell on tape). Someone yelled out “he tapped”, the ref looked at me confused and wanting to keep my integrity intact, I nodded and said “give it to him”. There were four seconds left on the clock. Oh well.
The loss stung for the next couple of days but again, I can’t even be mad. I did exactly what I had to do and went after every single submission attempt that presented itself rather than play the positional game and slowly grind down my opponents (what I prefer to do). I knew that I was not going to be happy with a draw so I went for it. My hunger to finish the match on my terms cost me but that’s all water under the bridge now.
Learning Jiu-jitsu Versus Losing
Since my loss, I have had a chance to reflect. I have noticed a change in how I am training and my desire to train harder and more diligently. I have learned quite a bit about myself and what I need to work on. The adaptation to a ruleset that I have not experienced before opened up a whole new world of jiu-jitsu that I need to practice including, but not limited to, my transitional game and recovering from bad spots once I put myself in them while I attack.
Jiu-jitsu gives us a unique opportunity to be career students. Losing stinks but one thing I’m feeling great about is the learning that comes from it. Nobody wins all the time and as a brown belt, I’ve lost more than I’ve won. While this discourages most people, I realize that continuing to put myself out there despite my results is perhaps the most important thing. Winning is great. It feels much better than losing, however, winning and losing are two sides of the same coin.
I am very fortunate to have had this experience and fortunate that I had the better judgment to take this opportunity. I’d like to thank Garcia Promotions, my team, professors and training partners at Gracie Barra and all of my other friends training partners I share the mats with. I look forward to the next one.