Getting Your Ass Kicked and Why it’s a Good Thing

Saturday, I had the opportunity to compete in the Jiu-Jitsu World League (I’ll be detailing the tournament itself in a later post). I came prepared, ready, and excited for the opportunity. I live in a part of the country that does not have many competitions, and certainly has none of the scope and size as JJWL. This was a major opportunity for me, that required a 12 hour drive and a full weekend commitment.

I was in the Ultra-Heavy weight class and had been busting my butt to be prepared for the big boys. Then all hell broke loose.

Operation_mallorca_raid_DEAThe night before the competition I slept in a hotel that happened to be right by some train tracks. I barely slept. I was awoken in the morning by the police kicking down the door of the room directly below mine. Then, when I arrived at the venue, I had become incredibly sick. I puked my guts out an hour before my division started.

Then came my first match. He was bigger, and stronger than myself. Somehow, I miraculously ended up on top, and in a front headlock position. I felt his gi collar just below his neck and went for a loop choke and lost it. It was sloppy and he popped right out, and did exactly what he should have done with my mistake, and scored off of it.

I lost that match on points. I made my way back to the fence and collapsed, before finally being able to lift myself off of the ground. I asked the table to scratch me from the bracket (it was double elimination). Then, immediately, I went to the bathroom and puked a ton more.

So why did I lose? Was it the train keeping me awake? Being incredibly sick?

No, none of those things. I lost because he was better than I was that day. I botched a submission and, like any good BJJ player, he took full advantage. He knew what to do, he knew how to do it, and he was a very skilled grappler. I literally have no one to blame for my loss except for myself.

Roger Connors says something along the lines of, “You should be thankful that you’re part of the problem, because it means that you can be part of the solution.”

10690289_10153160386764781_6610450270840720944_nIf I were to sit around and blame my loss on anyone or anything other than myself, I would be giving up my power to fix the problem. I made a mistake. I discovered a weakness in my game I never knew existed before. That means I know what to fix. I know what to work on. I can be part of the solution.

Too often, we don’t want to take accountability when we fail. We look for a way to make it seem like someone or something else is at fault. That’s a dumb thing to do. It means we are lying to ourselves about our own flaws and weaknesses. We can never fix our problems if we refuse to recognize that they exist in the first place.

Make sure that you honestly assess your failures so that you can do better in the future. Don’t allow yourself the luxury of self-deceit.


  1. Well done. Most never understand that by taking responsibility for your actions, and the outcome you also acknowledge the ability to improve.

    Back in the 60s there wasn’t much of a place for karate-ka to compete in the Pacific Northwest, but I’ve won a few small time bouts and lost a few too. It was much more of a learning experience when I lost.


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