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 “afford” to “waste” a full day at a jiu jitsu or judo tournament.
I’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 “love-life” is the equivalent of getting a McDonalds burger at a truck-stop drive-through.
I’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 I’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 “experience”. 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 it’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 I’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, I’m switch my approach to smaller tournaments (and by smaller I mean everything that’s not Pan Ams, Worlds, NY Open, etc). If at all possible, I’m choosing public transit as the mode of transportation (unless several other teammates are going) and I’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, I’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. It’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 “too much work” excuse.