I’ve been defending myself of late after copping some flack for competing in the Pan-Pacific BJJ championships in a heavier weight division and in the purple belt division (when I have no formal BJJ grading).
Then I got some insight. When training to be an Olympic standard Judo player it is essential to take yourself out of your comfort zone. Training against inferior partners, only practising the throws you’re good at, only entering competitions you have a good chance of succeeding in are all examples of good athletes not willing to swallow their pride and do what it takes to become a great athlete.
I am very lucky. Western Judo Academy has a strong team that provide me with tough opposition every day. On top of this I regularly set up drills and exercises that increase the strain put on me.
An example of this is a drill where I am out the front for many continuous rounds of Randori with fresh partners every couple of minutes. My partners give me 100% effort and before their fatigue sets in they are replaced so that I am working at maximal effort for the duration of the drill.
Pushing further out of my comfort zone, I have also competed in a Judo competition two divisions heavier then my normal 66kg category. I did this because but there were a bunch of harder fights for me in that division on that day. So I grabbed my Judogi bag and jumped on the scales to ensure I was heavy enough to fight those guys.
This year I have competed in BJJ, submission grappling and MMA. All my fights were aided by my Judo skills but in no way would I claim to be an expert in any of these sports. It is an incredible challenge to become the underdog and try to beat experts at their own game. But the pay-off is an unwavering belief in my own mental fortitude. If I am able to be competitive or even beat these guys at their own game, then I have no doubt I can impose my skills in the Judo arena.
So I stand by my belief that being outgrappled by a BJJ star, outwrestled by a wrestler and thrown around by my team mates when I am knackered is far more productive then entering the white belt BJJ division and working only for takedowns or only doing Randori with partners that I can throw easily and make me look and feel good.
There’s a quote I heard once “I lose every day in training, I lose 1000 different ways. So in competition there is nothing I haven’t seen, therefore I am incredibly hard to beat”.
Like most quotes I can’t remember who said it, but it makes a lot of sense to me.