Let’s say you are facing an opponent of some kind. It could be someone, a challenge, a project, or something you need to get done. How do you fight against this person or thing and win?
It’s about who you are and expressing it with assertiveness.
For me, this is most prominent in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. That’s how I want to fight and that’s how I fight. But it applies to every area of my life.
What matters is not so much about who my opponents are or what they do, but showing up as who I am with no apology.
You don’t have to be aggressive or harmful against others. You need to claim who you are.
Here’s a little question for you: Who are you?
I arrived in Hong Kong on 29 April. My primary aim here was to compete at a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament on 1 May. I competed in my weight division and in the open weight division. I won my division and came to the 3rd place in the open weight division. But what’s more important is what I learned from the matches I fought. I learned most from the match I lost in the open weight division. I’ll write more about it later.
I am not an aggressive fighter. I want to be calm and to focus on one thing: To beat my opponent with greater techniques by doing my game.
My typical fight experiences in a winning match go as follows. I step on to the mats, I make sure to smile (what’s more scarier than a smiling opponent?), I shake hands with my opponent, the match begins, and I focus on what I need to do. I am being myself and I do my game, because if I can insist on my game, I know it’s a winning match for me. It feels great to be able to feel calm through focusing on what I need to do.
In a way, it’s a fight against myself. If I rush and forget what I need to focus on, I’m not being myself and I can’t do my game. I need to beat the part of myself that tells me to hurry up and I need to stay focused. I might lose nonetheless, but it doesn’t matter. What really matters is whether I show up and do what I need to do.
I enjoy this state of being. I enjoy the feeling of calmness and the sense of focus.
Like in everything else, it’s important to be able to seize small opportunities in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu matches. When you fight against a skilled opponent, it becomes harder to find opportunities and to stop yourself from giving away such opportunities to your opponent. That means you’ll need to be detailed about what you do and everything becomes very subtle. Making a small mistake can send you to a disadvantageous position.
So, you train to be able to find tiny, tiny opportunities or even to create such opportunities as well as to close opportunities your opponent may find. Also, you need to be able to take advantage of the opportunities you find. This applies to life in general, too. You gotta be able to notice small opportunities by being aware of them and to grab these opportunities by acting accordingly. If you think too much or freak out, and take no action, they will be gone. But at the same time, if you rush, you’ll probably miss them as well. It’s tricky. You need to catch them at the right moment.
After all, I think one big factor as to why I lost in the open weight division was that I rushed and didn’t take advantage of the opportunities I had. I was tired. My opponent was probably 30kg heavier. I was losing by points. There was not much time left. None of them shouldn’t have affected the way I fought, but I think they did. What should I have done instead? To stay calm and to do what I needed to do. That’s all. I kept fighting hard till the match ended, but I missed the great opportunities I had.
What do I do now? Train harder and smarter so I can stay calm and be myself no matter what. This loss is a great opportunity to learn something that I had missed earlier. By learning this, I will improve my skills and I can be a better grappler. That’s how I win.
There’s no losing when you can stand up again and grow up. Even if you lose in a match, it doesn’t matter, because you can choose to stand up again and when you do stand up again, you are learning and you are winning.