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Why compete?

On the same weekend that Paris was hit by terrorism and Ronda Rousey lost her UFC title to Holly Holm, the English open 2015 took place in the Dartford Judo Club in Kent.

Four years ago this was the first Jiu Jitsu competition I had entered. Merely training a few months, it was out of pure curiocity that I registered for one of the biggest competitions in the UK.

When you see your team mates coming back to training after a weekend of competitions. The shiny hardware was something to be admired.

It probably wasn't the best choice of competition to enter to be my first back in 2011, as white belts are nearing the promotion to blue, but the division numbers are impressively high in the female catagories, so it would undoubtably be tough.

Your coach gives you the run down on how the competition will be. You should probably read the rules, but jiu jitsu is still new to you, so you just go with the flow, register, turn up, weigh in and then feeeeeeel the nerves kick in.

Competing in a jiu jitsu tournament is a lot like competing in other martial arts competitions, except run better with more organisation. There is no getting away from the nerves of any competition though.

Why would you willingly put your self through something that would create such anxiety, stress, pressure and fear? Because it also creates excitement.

If we went through life on a rollercoaster that no ups and downs, it would be a pretty boring ride. So entering ourselves in to a tournament to compete with someone we don't know, to test ourselves, not only to see if the jiu jitsu we spend hours in the gym perfecting and creating the muscle memory, but to test ourselves personally under pressure.

There are those people who never, ever compete and have no desire to either. These people are on that rollercoaster with no ups and downs. Even if you competed just once to see what it was like and created a little excitement and tested yourself. Then never competed again. You have just made yourself better. Even if you don't win, a competition will make you better on the mats when you go back to training. It's like the powers of jiu jitsu have given you extra inside knowledge that a non competitor wouldn't have.

I do know a lot of people who don't compete, and alot of people who don't compete much, those who dabble here and there and the ones who take competition seriously. Competition is not for everyone, but everyone should at least give it a try. Everyone wants to get better after all.

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