Losing is Valuable when Winning is Everything: Why I Compete

The greatest benefit I get from competition is when I lose, having given everything I can to win. Let me explain…

Miyao-cryingI believe that competition is one of the most potent catalysts for honest self-analysis. I’m not just talking about jiu jitsu. In the hours and days after a tough tournament loss, I’ll often struggle with the question of “what the hell am I doing with my life?” That question can take many forms from the small to the big, from “why the hell is my butterfly sweep not working?” to “why the hell am I not pursuing the job I’ve always dreamed of having?” Through this process of questioning, I arrive at new resolutions, changes in everything from daily rituals long-term goals. And then, the hard work begins. In this way, competition presents the sobering catch-22 of life that we often grow the most from failure. We find ourselves not in the achievement of our dreams, but in the grind toward them…

“I don’t like work—no man does—but I like what is in the work—the chance to find yourself.”
– Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)

PS: Check out my conversation with Ryan Hall about the value of competition:

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Keenan Cornelius Jiu Jitsu Philosophy in Two Sentences

A month ago Keenan put up a Q&A video on facebook in which someone asked him to summarize his jiu jitsu philosophy in two sentences. His off-the-cuff answer was: Always be attacking. Your hands and feet should always be doing something useful. I thought this … Continue reading

Build a Habit: Motivation is a Fickle Mistress, Habit Is Not

The harder you work and the bigger the challenge you take on, the more likely you are to encounter the voice of “reason” inside your head that tells you to take it easy, to slow down, to take a break for … Continue reading

“Are You Okay?”: The Deconstruction of Ego Through Simulated Murder

Jiu jitsu is simulated battle, and when a man taps he admits defeat in that battle. Luckily, it IS simulated, so tapping is not followed by murder. Much like in chess, a checkmate is not followed by the pillaging of the king’s castle … Continue reading

Metamoris 4 Predictions: Galvao, Lister, and Keenan Win by Submission

Metamoris 4 is going down on Saturday, August 9. Check out the countdown videos here. And check out the Around the Mat show previewing Metamoris: The card is: Chael Sonnen vs. Andre Galvao Josh Barnett vs. Dean Lister Saulo Ribeiro vs. Robert … Continue reading

First Brown Belt Tournament: Grapplers Quest U.S. Nationals

I competed at Grapplers Quest US Nationals yesterday. This was my first tournament as a brown belt. The brackets were small (2 or 4 people) but I did 4 divisions and ended up with 3 golds and 1 silver. I … Continue reading

Brown Belt Promotion

Yesterday, I was promoted to brown belt in BJJ. I’d like to thank Phil Migliarese, Ricardo Migliarese, and all my training partners and friends at Balance and everywhere else in the jiu jitsu world. In some ways it’s just a … Continue reading

Don’t Be a Spaz: Relax and Move Smoothly to Develop Precision

A “spaz” is someone whose movement is explosive but lacks precision. For the visually-inclined, here’s a Venn diagram: Being a spaz is something we forgive beginners too easily, as if it’s the awkward teenage phase everyone has to go through, … Continue reading