For the first time since the pre-lockdown period at the beginning of the year, I have been able to complete and feel back to myself again! I don’t think I can write about this past competition without first reflecting on my prior competitions and my transition to jiu jitsu. Since I stopped competing as an IFBB Pro Bikini athlete, I’ve been able to devote my time solely to jiu jitsu. I fell in love with jiu jitsu as I did gymnastics as a child. In the past, I very much enjoyed the physique training, yet training and honing specific skills is where I thrive.
From gymnastics, track & field, fitness, figure, and bikini, competition day was a short time on stage or field and not much cardio was involved. However, with jiu jitsu, I can be competing in 10 minute matches at some events. With the other sports, I knew exactly what I was going to be doing for competition day and practiced it time and time again. But with jiu jitsu, I needed to mentally let go of the unknown, since you have no idea how the match is going to go and there are so many variables, including the skill level of your opponent.
Therefore, I competed as much as I could while progressing through the belts. I always had personal goals regardless of whether I won or lost and those personal goals evolved over the years. There were times I had won and was upset because I didn’t meet my personal goals and vice versa. Some of those goals were specific jiu jitsu moves and others were about breathing and my mentality.
It’s interesting to look back at my progress and learnings over the years and through the belts. Most recently, I would still have some trouble breathing even if my cardio was on point. I hold anxiety in my chest, so if I have any tightness there, then my breathing would be compromised. Mediation and breathing techniques lower it, yet I found the only thing that eliminates it is crying. There is a release where afterwards I can take the deepest breaths. I have recently changed the self-talk during my matches. When I was in an unfavorable position, I used to state that it wasn’t good in some type of verbiage. Now, I remind myself that it is fine, and I will get out of it. Both of those changes made a huge difference in my game and in the success of my previous two competitions. As for the one this past weekend, I didn’t get the win, yet kept all my goals I had for myself. I lost both of my matches, one in overtime and one towards the end of regulation at my last tournament. I am always glad to go out there to gain experience and grow as a martial artist.
I continually enjoy competing and enjoy the challenge and I’m grateful every day to be healthy and doing what I love.