BJJ: Game, set, match …

I’ve written articles on etiquette, unsportsmanlike conduct, and even the mind games of talking trash. I love sports! I love the camaraderie, rivalries, and entertainment they provide! I’m sure many people understand the dedication and hard work required to be an athlete;an avid hobbyist even dedicates hours to her craft!

So, what do you do when your opponent displays poor sportsmanship? I’ve watched bouts, games, and matches where I’ve thought “Not cool! Not classy! Uncouth!” Not hitting gloves or shaking hands after an epic battle where both parties give it their all seems childish.

Obviously there can only be one winner. We know that going in, so I simply don’t understand the mentality of the poor sport. I’ve been witnessing behavior behind the scenes displayed by spectators, coaches, and “ne’er wish wells” which has left me simply flabbergasted.

Over the years I’ve noticed and been disgusted by the presence of more and more unsportsmanlike conduct on and off the mats. This epidemic just seems silly to me. Shake your opponent’s hand! You lost? Well, then the better person won that day. Chalk it up to experience, make note, and work on your progression during training.

Listen, I’m not against a little healthy rivalry. Leave everything you’ve got out there. I understand disappointment and heartache. I’m not even saying that “we all need to get along.”

However, there is a manner in which we should conduct ourselves. Save your tantrums for acting class.

I’m not only talking about competitors. I’ve been shocked more than once at coaches and parents on the sidelines. I could only shake my head at their vernacular and body language. Yelling at kids and first-time competitors, screaming for broken arms and more aggression – uh, gross!

I was recently at a charity/awareness raising tournament. While the tournament was a giant success and people enjoyed themselves, I couldn’t help but cringe at the behavior I saw and the language I heard.

Why so serious? What’s the big deal you ask? Well, the big deal is this: children, people considering joining a school or interested in the sport, and spectators all form opinions and make decisions based on what they see and hear. Let’s give them something positive to talk about and emulate!

You may or may not be a black belt, but I would expect you to conduct yourself accordingly and in a manner that represents yourself and your school with pride.

Happy rolling,


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