All those hours of training, preparing and all the sacrifices you made lead up to just a few minutes when your feet hit the mat, you slap hands and your match begins. You walk into your match with uncertainty of the outcome. The buildup, the anticipation and then you lose. Once the adrenaline wears off you’re left to face the cold hard reality that you lost.
You may want to pour your sorrows into a gallon of ice cream, lock yourself away from the world and then cry yourself to sleep. Which is fine, but you must remind yourself, a loss is a good thing. Our short comings are opportunities for us to grow and get better. After all that is the whole point of jiu jitsu, right? To improve ourselves?
Here are a few healthy ways to deal with coming off a loss.
Be Kind to Yourself
Going down a path of self-destruction might seem like a good idea in the moment, but is that really gonna make the situation better? Sure, when you’re getting tanked everything seems like a whole lot of fun and you might temporary feel better, but the next morning you’ll be hating life even more.
If you want to sit on the couch and eat ice cream go for it! However, you’ve probably been eating really clean so that gallon of ice cream is gonna do a number on your guts.
Indulge in what makes you happy. But remember there are consequences for excess.
Laughter is the Best Medicine
It is really hard to be pissed off and feeling sorry for yourself if you are laughing your ass off. Surround yourself with people that make you laugh. Or if you want to be alone for a bit watch a funny movie. Read a funny book. Do things that make you laugh and most importantly make you happy. Changing your mood will change your perspective.
You are not a loser
There is a big difference between a loss and a loser. A true loser wouldn’t have even tried to compete. They would have accepted defeat before even stepping onto the mats. So just by getting out there and doing something that takes you outside your comfort zone you are a winner!
Your Value Isn’t Determined by The Outcome of One Match
This can be especially true for those that choose to live the “Jiu Jitsu lifestyle”. Often there is a convoluted line between where our value and our performance in jiu jitsu cross. Understanding the difference between your true value and the outcome of one small insignificant incident will save you a whole lot of heart ache. Knowing your true value and honoring it will help you to realize that it was just a loss. You are still just as awesome as you were before the loss.
The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow
This loss isn’t the end of the world and the sun will still come out again tomorrow. As much as it seems that the darkness is creeping in, the sun will rise again and bring with it a new day to improve our jiu jitsu game. Take time to reflect on what you need to improve and seek out assistance from others on how to go about fixing the holes in your game. Realize this is an opportunity to grow from and you too will rise again!
Learning Real Life Lessons
If attacked will you be able to defend yourself? Would you be able to stay calm? Competition is the best opportunity to make yourself vulnerable in order to realize your weaknesses. It gives you a chance to test your game under pressure in a controlled environment.
If your only take away from competition is to learn how to be calm under pressure than you’ve really won!
Get Back on That Horse
So, you maybe feel embarrassed cause you lost. Here is a comforting thought…EVERYONE HAS LOST A MATCH AT SOME POINT!!
Even the legendary black belts we look up to like Mackenzie Dern have lost a match before. All the emotions that boil up the surface after a loss have been felt before. The anger, the frustration, the disappointment and feeling of failure. You are not alone. Everyone has lost.
The more you compete the easier it gets to realize that losing is just a part of the process. And the easier it is to deal with it. The less your ego will be wrapped up in it and the quicker you can move on from it.
You may lose and lose and lose and lose and lose…but the real knowledge is getting better after each time. And more importantly to never give up! So, get back out there and start training for the next one!
Girls in Gis staff writer
Shama Ko is a brown belt with Gracie Humaita out of Austin, TX. She has been a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner since November of 2003. She is a photographer, writer, community organizer and activist. She heads the Girls in Gis organization or as she calls it the “movement”. She describes herself as both a lover and a fighter. She loves to laugh and not take life too seriously.