Recently I put a post on Facebook regarding a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) competition I entered at the weekend. It was all about challenging yourself when you’re not fully prepared and I wanted to explain it a little further.
A while back I was at BJJ training and I was asked if I was competing in the tournament on the weekend. I said I didn’t know about the tournament, so no.
For the rest of the training session I was thinking about it and I started to feel the nervousness and excitement of competition.
I hadn’t been aware of the comp, so mentally I wasn’t prepared.
I hadn’t been training with the dedication and specificity for a comp.
I hadn’t been on any kind of strict diet so I wasn’t sure what my exact weight was.
After the session I got on the scales and was easily within my normal weight bracket. That night I jumped online and registered for the tournament.
Because here’s the thing…
Many times in life you’re simply not going to be fully prepared. You’re not going to have weeks and weeks, or months, to train. You’re not going to have the luxury of time to mentally and physically prepare, to talk strategy and weigh up all the options.
I always train hard. My nutrition is good and I’m mentally strong.
Sometimes you just have to challenge yourself. Find out where you’re at right now. Discover your weaknesses and what you need to improve on. Discover your strengths and what’s working well.
Sometimes you may discover some harsh truths. And that’s great, now you can fix them.
Then there’s the nerves.
I’ve done some pretty exciting and dangerous things in my life, particularly with the Military. I’ve spent a number of years in the Middle East and had my fair share of narrow misses. I remember the feelings of nervousness, anxiousness, excitement and fear while in a helicopter flying over the mountains of Afghanistan to insert for a mission.
Even with all that experience under my belt, I still get those nervous butterflies for a small time BJJ comp. That’s just human nature and it’s OK to be nervous and anxious. You want to do well and feel proud, you don’t want to be embarrassed and you want to represent your club well.
Everyone who competes experiences these feelings and it’s how you respond to them that may be the difference between victory or defeat.
If you let them overwhelm you, you will find it tough to find your rhythm and perform to the best of your ability. If, however, you accept and work with these feelings, you can harness them to great affect.
Accept that you’re going to get nervous and anxious. Utilise the energy to visualise and feel your success and go over your plan of attack. Conduct your 4-count combat breathing technique to keep calm and focused.
The more you compete, the more you’ll be able to utilise the extra energy you are producing. More than likely you won’t get rid of those nervous (and you don’t want to), but you’ll get used to them and learn how to harness them better and more efficiently.
As they say, you learn more from a loss then a win…
…but winning feels better.
I wrote a short post recently on Facebook where I talked about my first experience contracting in Iraq.
Rocking up to Baghdad airport without much of a clue as to what was going on, being met by an overweight American who was profusely sweating and extremely anxious, my foray into private security contracting started nervously.