Saturday, December 11, 2010

Yeah, I know...

Went to watch the fights tonight. Enjoyed seeing G.S.P. pick Koscheck apart, though I did feel a little bit bad for Koschock with his eye so messed up like it was. I was there with a few BJJ buddies of mine and we were talking about tournaments and one of them asked me why I hadn't been competing lately. I told him that one reason is my neck. It still bothers me and I am having to learn how to grapple differently so that I don't put so much of a strain on it all the time and the learning has been slow. But also, I said I still don't feel like I am ready to fight at blue belt level yet. I wasn't being negative. I was just being honest about how I think I would measure up against other seasoned blue belt girls.

He told me the same thing everyone tells me. I have the wrong attitude. I am putting too much pressure on myself. I need to go out there and have fun.

His comments really bothered me. Not because he was being a jerk--my friend didn't mean anything negative by his comments and he probably had no idea how much they bothered me--but because this is something I have been mulling over for a while.

A lot of people tell me I shouldn't take competitions so seriously. But that is not my personality. To be honest, I wish it was. I envy people who can just go to competitions and have fun. Whether it is BJJ, my job, some random task at home, I have some kind of drive inside of me to want to excel. I don't want to just kind of do good. I want to do the best that I possibly can. And, yes, sometimes that means I put undue pressure on myself, but it also means that I usually accomplish my goals.

In my job, I deal with the same type of thing. I am acutely aware of where I need to improve. I probably focus too much on it. I could do with some mellowing out. But at least that means I am always striving to do better. Could I learn to direct my drive in a more positive way? Absolutely.

But I don't think the solution is for me to force myself to care less.

My husband is my exact opposite. He rarely stresses over things like I do. He's an easy-ghoing guy who laughs off a lot of the things that keep me up at night. But he is also not as easily motivated to go out and achieve his dreams. He envies my drive. I envy his ability to relax. It's why we make a good couple, I think. We balance each other out.

My point is, not caring about whether I win or lose a tournament or not caring about the fact that I am struggling to pick up a certain set of skills is not in my nature anymore that not caring about whether or not I am actually reaching any of the kids in my youth group.

I told my friend that, if I really like something, I usually become very passionate about it. He then said that I take BJJ too seriously, that it's just a hobby. He could be right. Maybe I do take BJJ too seriously. I am not a professional fighter nor do I intend to become one. I don't make any money off of BJJ and I probably never will.

My friend was just trying to encourage me. You know, give me a boost. But it still bothers me when people say I take BJJ too seriously. It makes me feel like I am doing something wrong because I care as much as I do.

If I am honest, it is more than just a hobby. It's not a job, so I can't really justify all the time that I spend on it to anyone. Maybe I let it be too much a part of my life. Maybe when I'm three or four or five years in, I won't be as obsessed as I am now. I doubt it, but we'll see.Truth be told, I think it would be wise for me to cut out one class a week. With the added "classes" in my barn, I am training every day except Wednesday and Saturday.

Either way, I am getting to the point where I want to just tell people that this is how I am and that they can take it or leave it. When I set my sights on something, I am intense. I am driven. I will keep pushing myself because I DO care. Sometimes I will be on cloud 9 and sometimes I will swear to you that I have discovered a new level of fail. Should I be this way? I don't know. But that is how I am.

I dunno. I'm committing the blogging sin of late-night-grumpy-rambling. I promise I am not as much of a jerk as I sound like, right now. I will probably read this in the morning and decide it is too melodramatic and end up taking it down. But I had to get this off my chest. Good night.


SavageKitsune said...

It's not bad to be passionate and to drive to excell; it's not bad to want to win. But when it crosses the line to the point where you AVOID doing things that you are afraid you won't ace, it's crippling you. (I'm not accusing you of this, just speaking in general terms).

I have done two tournaments and came in dead last in both. Sure, I would have liked to have done better, but it didn't kill me. I'm glad I did it. I learned valuable things. I too know that I am not yet competitive at blue belt level. These experiences, though, will help me get there eventually- I hope!

Josh Kruschke said...

It's not about caring less, but about worrying less. There's a fine line between passion, drive and caring; and worry, ulsers and stress.

Dev said...

Allie, you know my thoughts on tournaments.

What I'd say here is it's not about caring less - that would be pretty weird if you didn't give a crap about winning - why compete, then?

My point is that you don't KNOW how you're going to stack up against those "seasoned blue belt girls." I think you might surprise yourself. Let's face it - you've been a blue belt for long enough that you can't say you're not at that level.

And as I've pointed out several times, it doesn't matter if someone has no stripes or eight stripes on their blue belt, it doesn't matter if it's bright blue or faded almost to whitish-purple with frayed edges... they're still a blue belt.

And you know how to fight blue belts. Sure, sometimes you do well and sometimes you don't, but isn't that the point? You said it - you know the pressure is self-imposed. So go compete - step past that first fear. And go in to win, because you KNOW you can stop blue belts from doing blue belt stuff to you. Go do blue belt stuff to them.

A.D. McClish said...

I hear what you are saying, guys. I think what Joshkie said hits the nail on the head. I have to figure out how to make my personality work for me instead of against me.

What I was getting at in my post, though, is that I don't like it when people tell me I shouldn't care so much. If I am going to pay $80 to go into a competition with girls who are coming full force at me, then I am going to care.

But what I need to do is learn to let my desire to succeed drive me instead of letting my worries about not succeeding cripple me (like Savage said).

@Dev. "Let's face it - you've been a blue belt for long enough that you can't say you're not at that level." Thanks for the vote of confidence, but what I mean is that people can be blue belts for years, right? I have only been a blue belt for somewhere around half a year.

What you said here: "And as I've pointed out several times, it doesn't matter if someone has no stripes or eight stripes on their blue belt, it doesn't matter if it's bright blue or faded almost to whitish-purple with frayed edges... they're still a blue belt." Fabio says that to me all the time. I know you guys are right. But I still feel

leslie said...

There will never be a belt when you aren't facing "seasoned" opponents, and you're never "ready." When I did TKD, I didn't compete until black belt because I was never "ready" to compete at my own belt level. There was always more I needed to learn and things I needed to tighten up. Then when I did finally compete, everyone else had been black belts longer than I'd been training. Because of that experience -- despite being a crazy perfectionist myself -- I've been able to talk myself in to doing BJJ tournaments even though I don't think I'm ready.

And in jiu-jitsu, especially, by the time you feel "ready" at your own belt level, that's usually when your instructor will bump you up to the next level.

Also, not all girls at competitions are "seasoned." At my last one, I fought two blue belts newer than me (though 1 already had 2 stripes!) and also one who got her purple 2 days after the tournament. (And the tournament before that, they were all newer to blue than me.) So, yes, some of them might have more experience than you and/or be close to purple. But then again, YOU might be the most "seasoned" girl on the mat.

I know you can feel like there's a lot of pressure for your first tournament as a blue belt, but then again, that's all that it is -- your "first" tournament as a blue belt. Bet you can't do any worse than mine -- 7 fights, no wins. I was a baby blue, 3 months in, and I even got wrecked by a few white belts in nogi, too.

(Funny about that tournament -- I was talking months later to Andrew, one of the tournament directors, about that tournament, and all he could remember was that I had done really well, had some good matches, and had acquitted myself well as a blue belt. And yet, I didn't win once.)

And Maggie, who I fought in the last tournament, had just done her first blue belt tournament 2 weeks before, and had lost every single match. She came out to this one determined to be different, and she ended up with 1sts and 2nds in everything.

So just do it. Get that first blue belt tournament over with. It's a lot easier after that. said...

Wow, I feel like I just read something that I wrote. Thanks for sharing this. ps - I bet you will surprise yourself when you compete :) Hope to see you on the mat someday!

The_Lazy_Man's_Guide_to_Grappling said...

I feel the same way about competition. I don't want to enter one unless I prepare properly and have the motivation to win. At this stage in my life I have other obligations that frequently keep me from training as much as I'd like. I don't need to enter a competition to demonstrate that I don't train as often as the guy that's beating me.

As far as BJJ is concerned though, I don't consider it a hobby. When my wife once told me that it was my hobby I looked at her strange. I wondered where she got that idea from. I talk, practice and think about it too much for it to be a hobby, even if I am not one of the best at it (but still pretty good). I have even written books about grappling and performed academic research on it (still do).

No, people who set up BJJ gyms in their barns are not hobbyists, maybe an enthusiast would be a better term. But does it really need a label. It is what it is. You like to grapple. You're a grappler. In a gym, on the grass or in the barn.

I'm rambling...

BJJ Judo said...

Lot's too say and too little time to say it. As far as competing goes, I try to put the presure on my trainting regime. If I really pushed myself in class, pushed myself in the gym, pushed my cardio to the max and prepared my strategy in advance I cannot be upset with the outcome of a match. There will always be someone that is bigger/faster/stronger/better that is the name of the game. If you go in fully prepared you can walk out happy.

Liam H Wandi said...

You do take it seriously. You have a blogpost label called "gripes" for godness sake!

I am curious why you strive for perfection in all these fields. As part of my life style, I find it important for me to chose where and when to go for perfection and not. For example: If I have 3 days to do a job that needs 7 but where the results will not affect my life too much, I will not strive for perfection. I will:

1- Ask for a 2-3 day extension
2- Work hard for 3 days
3-Use the rest to chill :o)

But when I was studying for exams that determined which uni programme I'd have ended up in, you bet I was aiming for perfection! But that defo meant a lot of other things had to settle for less than the best(social life, hobbies...eating!)

I once read a saying: "You are only as good as you're highest achievement". I now know that that was cattle crap!

You're perfect. Just the way you are.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Theodore Roosevelt:

"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 them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."