How serious can/should "part-time grapplers" be about BJJ competition?
I hemmed and hawed about competing for a while. I wasn't set on the idea because I am essentially in BJJ club limbo, so, I don't have the support system I had before. I haven't had the intense training. I haven't been able to prioritize BJJ overall. I've been eating a lot of ice cream, bread, and food in general. I just haven't been in the tournament frame of mind. I felt like since I hadn't been taking it seriously maybe I shouldn't put myself out there.
I have been training a couple times a week. And I finally got back to weightlifting. Not to mention, in Thunder Bay there will be very little opportunity to compete (unless I get a dream job). They have one or two competitions a year in Winnipeg -- but that is still a nine or so hour drive. blahhhhhh
So deep down, I knew my concern was tom-foolery. Frankly, who cares? I just want to grapple. And competition grappling is super fun. Yes, perhaps this time I will get my ass kicked, but no excuses. It's not like I haven't been training at all. And I suspect that no matter the circumstances going in, it will be win-win. Well, maybe lose-win. But you know what I mean.
As soon as I signed up, I was super excited! I'm still super excited!
Where the ladies at?
This is a small tournament for every division. Why? Perhaps poor advertising, too many GTA tournaments ($$), or it's the same old tournaments over and over. I don't know. But I do know that there are not enough female competitors. (I'm pretty sure this has never been said on the internet before.)
There are no women in my division, five female white belts in total, and a lone blue belt. I'm assuming I'll get to grapple someone since I haven't been told otherwise.
Before I started competing, I never thought twice about having women to train with. But when it comes to tournament training and competing, man oh man, do I wish there were more women. Rolling with women is different. And it would just make us all better at jiu jitsu.
Timely enough, there is discussion about the quality of "women's versus men's jiu jitsu" over on Georgette's blog. One point that I most definitely agree with: the level of female competition lags due to differences in absolute numbers. I noticed this in my first two tournaments. (And here I am talking about how I don't feel particularly athletic.)
Not only are female competitors less spazzy than I expected (nothing wrong with that, those white belt guys look crazy), but I did not encounter any women who were very experienced and near blue belt level. They were all pretty much newbs, like me! In part, I think this has just been luck, but I don't think you would even have this chance in white belt male divisions. I watched John compete a lot at white belt, and there were a number of skilled, experienced, athletic, and determined guys on the cusp of blue.
Another thing that I noticed was that some of these women would not take every opportunity to roll. Due to the size of the brackets in many tournaments, pretty much all of the women would default to absolute if the organizers have it. Defaulting to a medal sucks, but gosh darn it, why doesn't every single woman seize the opportunity to roll again? I really don't get it. Are there male white belts who would pass up that opportunity? I'm not sure. I would like to ask that question to the "opposite of chauvinistic" guy spurring debate on Georgette's blog.
Overall, a lack of female jiu jitsu practitioners and competitors is simply unfortunate. (Martin Aedma recently posted about the importance of competing against tough competition in his bjj journey.) But I still think we can get a lot out of competing, whether we have 50 others in the division or just one.
I look forward to discovering what I will get out of tomorrow!