Competition and Poor Sportsmanship

January is almost over, the gym “resolution” crowd is starting to thin out, and tournaments are everywhere! It’s a good feeling to know that you’ve set some goals and are looking forward in your jiu-jitsu journey. Regardless of what you did or didn’t accomplish last year THIS year is yours. So what happens when you’ve completed the match and won?! You feel great, you’ve been working hard annnnnd then your opponent acts like a complete dolt.

This isn’t the UFC where concocted entertainment of gimmicks & attitude is necessary, or going to bring you more fans or money. Brazilian jiu jitsu demands respect at all levels. Whether a newbie white belt or 20+ years of experience black belt, there is a model of dignity to uphold. Respect to your opponent, the spectators, and refs after a down and out, give it all you’ve got match, is awesome to see.

So let’s talk about poor sportsmanship and the mood it leaves on those witnessing it. This type of behavior changes the atmosphere of the tournament, makes you look like an a$$, sets a poor example to the up&coming kids and teens, and to be frank is just annoying! Control yourselves or maybe ask why you’re on the mats in the first place.

Poor sports stunt their own growth, in jiu-jitsu and in life. Here are some don’ts to help you remain a humble and hardworking jiu-jitsu practitioner.

* Don’t refuse to shake hands or bump fists. Or throw up a middle finger like McGregor. Are you three?
* Don’t argue with the refs. Polite discussion regarding a questionable missing of points, etc… YES. Arguing because it’s clear you lost and you can’t handle it? NO.
* Don’t scream, bellow, or lay on the ground and throw a mini tantrum.
* For goodness sake, don’t throw your belongings or chairs or water bottles.
* Don’t forget to have fun! Competing is a way to showcase your skills and challenge yourself. If you’re not having fun then you’re missing out.
* Don’t swear, name-call, or threaten people. It’s scary. There are kids around, families; spectators that are there to support us. Be decent and respect them.
* Don’t get in your opponent’s face. It’s jiu-jitsu, not Blood Sport with Van Damme.
* Don’t forget to record and take pictures. Aside from commemorating the moment, you’ll be able to review your matches and improve your game. Also, if you’re a poor sport you’ll witness first hand how absurd the behavior is.
* Don’t be the Hulk and decidedly harm, slam, spit on or otherwise damage your opponent. Yes we are in a martial art where people can get hurt. Joint manipulation, take-downs and chokes are no joke. There’s a difference, though, when you ditch technique for strength because you’re angry things aren’t going your way.
* Don’t walk off the mat before the hand raise, or refuse to get on the podium. It’s a pretty crappy feeling to wait around for everyone, only to realize the other guy won’t get up there with you. Tantrum anyone?

The manner in which you conduct yourself reflects on you, your Professor, teammates and academy. Feeling disappointed or frustrated is natural. Didn’t perform your best or made a stupid mistake? Well, ok. Now fix it for the next time, but don’t act like an a$$hat. No one appreciates that, honest.


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