How do I know a competition is coming up? I start stressing about how much work I have to finish, and the realization floods my mind that I cannot â€œaffordâ€ to â€œwasteâ€ a full day at a jiu jitsu or judo tournament.
Iâ€™ve sacrificed a lot to be able to pursue my goals in academia while still training frequently. Specifically, my social life is non-existent. And my â€œlove-lifeâ€ is the equivalent of getting a McDonalds burger at a truck-stop drive-through.
Iâ€™ve learned to utilize public transit to remain productive in transit to and from training. In fact the long train/bus rides to training are some of the most productive periods of my day. I put in ear plugs, and turn off the world, focused on the text Iâ€™m reading.
However, this all falls apart for a tournament. I never took public transit to a tournament, but more importantly I was never doing work in the large spans of down time that is often part of the tournament â€œexperienceâ€. Of course, there are big tournaments, when many of my teammates are competing, and it only makes sense for me to focus on my matches and doing the best that I can. However, for smaller more casual tournaments, when itâ€™s just me and one other teammate (or just me), I really have no excuse except nerves and laziness not to get work done while Iâ€™m waiting.
In other words, I do have too much work to compete every weekend, if a competition means I spend the whole day doing nothing. But if I can get a good amount of writing and reading done on the way to the tournament, while there, and on the way back, then a competition is hardly different than any other training session.
So, Iâ€™m switch my approach to smaller tournaments (and by smaller I mean everything thatâ€™s not Pan Ams, Worlds, NY Open, etc). If at all possible, Iâ€™m choosing public transit as the mode of transportation (unless several other teammates are going) and Iâ€™m pulling out papers and notebook as soon as I get there, working until I have to warm up, and working all the way in transit to and from the venue. For example, tomorrow, Iâ€™m going to North Bergen, NJ for the Hudson Judo Promotional Tournament, which requires taking a bus, then train, then bus. The total cost is only $15 each way, but the planning of routes is a major pain-in-the-ass.
All this probably sounds excessive. Itâ€™s not, because it is necessary to achieve my goals. In order to actively compete while pursuing a career in academia as a productive researcher, this is what I have to do in order to provide a convincing solution to the â€œtoo much workâ€ excuse.