You win or you learn. I know it’s been said by many top renowned black belts; however, the more I think about it; the more it bothers me that we tell ourselves or our students that. Yes, its feels awesome when you won and are one getting you’re hand raised and I’m sure it feels great in that moment if I’ m the other guy and that I learned something. Wait. What? No, you lost and it sucks and there is a bit of disappointment (especially with single elimination tournaments). There is nothing wrong that you lost that match, that’s the point you need to compete against others to try and make your hard work pay off. Learning comes from hindsight.
Losing is part of the sport; it is not a bad word that needs glossed over or like Voldemort that you can’t say the word out loud. Embrace it, you will have your good days and bad but you do not need a crutch to call it something other than it is. Maybe it reminds me of “everybody gets a trophy” approach, but I as a coach I like to speak directly with my students, it saves time and gets to the point. If I lose (and I’ve lost matches), I don’t think that I did a great job learning today, I’ll go back for more, Woot, Yeah!! No, it eats my lunch a little bit and then later one to wonder what I did wrong or what could I have done differently. You win, you go out and celebrate and talk about the cool parts of the match with your team. You lose, well, you still go out, but then when you get back to the gym and sit down with your coach and do a video review of the match, what can be improved, what did you do well and not so well. What happened that you LOST the match?
This saying has to apply to tournaments and not in the gym; is that when training, you are expected to try new things, put yourself in bad positions and take risks and you will be submitted and lose in training. The Point of competing is to go out and test yourself against unknown opponent to assert your will, your game plan to win a match. You roll to finish and fight to win; however, there can’t be two winners, or even a winner and a learner, there has to be a loser.
The art and sport that I love is one of constant improvement and refinement; full of frustrations that you have to overcome, challenging yourself along the way and is not kind to those with fragile egos. Dealing with the ups and downs for many it does help their confidence grow past their ego. There is a constant learning process, of trial and many, many errors. Or even when you have done everything that you were supposed to do only to be countered and the opponent escapes because they did what they were supposed to do better than you. So much hard work for those moments of successes makes me so much more appreciative once achieved and so disheartening when you fail but, the art that I know helps grow strong minds as well as bodies; able to accept the challenges put before them, the successes and the failures.
You will learn regardless
The simple beauty of this art is that you don’t need to add feel good glitter to it; you will have fun, train, fight, win and yes, sometimes you will lose. Embrace all of it; the highs and lows, it’s one of the things that makes Jiu-Jitsu Great.
See you on the mats.