Accepting you deserve to be there.

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What's up my people? Uncle Coach Kevin back after a bit of a hiatus.  I get dark and sullen sometimes....lol. But here I am again to spread some Jiu Jitsu truth!!!

Some of you may know that I recently competed in the Sapaterio Invitational in my hometown of Tampa, FL...go Lightning!!!  It was a submission only tournament with a $10K cash prize and some of the best submission grapplers in the world on slate to compete including Gordon Ryan, Bill Cooper, Jeff Monson, Vinny Magalhaes, Hector Lumbard, and Boogyman Martinez.  I was an alternate but fully anticipated a call to compete because many of the competitors were dropping out. Needless to say I was honored for the opportunity to be on the same stage as these great grapplers.  But that sence of honor may have also been my undoing.

My first match was against Josh Bacallao, a competitor that I know well and have rolled with in the gym many times.  It was a very well fought contest, which I won in overtime via EBI rules.  Quickest escape. Very cool. I was excited for the win and fired up, but my expectations for continuing in the event were, "Wow, I really won. How cool is that" 

Which moves us on the my next match against the 10th Planet Black Belt and submission machine Boogeyman Martinez. I was excited. But not because I was in it to win it. I was excited just to have the opportunity to be there.  I thought, "Wow win, lose or drawl, I'm going to compete against The Boogeyman on a Pay-Per-View event." It was an honor just to share the matt with him.

So our match was good, really good. Fans were cheering my name and Boogey knew I was coming hard for him.  Then came overtime. First two rounds, no submission. Then the third.  I knew time was close and I really wanted to escape quickly. So I took a chance, which Boogey, being the great competitor that he is capitalized on.  So this is where things get interesting.  

Anyone that has ever competed will tell you that the mind is always looking for an excuse to quit, because pushing your body past the point of its pain threshold is unnatural, and those excuses can be rationalized in nano seconds during a competition.  So at the pivotal moment in our match, Boogey sunk in the rear naked choke. I pealed off the top hand just like the text book says to do which he then transferred to a neck crank.  The neck crank was tight, but it wasn't going to kill me.  I could have fought a few more seconds for an escape.  But in my mind, in the heat of the moment, I decided I had done enough.  I won a match against a though guy, and took the great Boogey Man Martinez to triple overtime and that was ok. I can quit here and still feel accomplished.

So, what is the moral of this story?  What caused me to lose my edge at such a crucial moment????  The answer is I already convinced myself from the onset that just being there was enough.  My expectations were not set on winning. They were set on doing my best and whatever happens next is just gravy.  So the point of my story is to say, accepting you deserve to be there is the first step to winning. Never going into anything thinking, "Wow, it's an honor just to be invited." GO TO WIN OR DON'T GO AT ALL!!! Because all you need is the smallest hint of doubt hidden away in the deep shadows of your soul to give you a reason to accept defeat. Don't settle for "Just being here is good enough".

Uncle Coach Kevin

"Spread the art..."