By TXMMA Staff // Christopher Story // Photo: Mike Calimbas Photography
After win at F2WPRO 17, Christopher Story reflects on his struggle and competition as a whole
FT. WORTH, TX – Recently at Fight to Win Pro 17 I was overwhelmed with support and good thoughts from hundreds of people.
So, I got to thinking about tournament advice for new white belts who are starting jiu-jitsu and considering competing.
This is one of those situations where I wish I could have done it differently, but at least you can learn from my struggles….
I get asked these questions frequently. When should I compete? When do you think I will be ready?
Every Instructor is different. I feel that it is important to start working on competition early. White belts should start competing somewhere between the 3 to 6 month mark of training.
I watch people who say, “I think I will wait till I am a blue belt…”
Problem is, when they do wait until blue belt, they run into a Roberto Jimenez who has competed long before blue belt or they run into a blue belt who has already competed in about 5 to 10 tournaments.
The formula is simple for white and blue belts. It even applies to higher ranks. It is all about experience. So with that in mind, there is a saying, “failure is a prerequisite to success”. With that concept, it just means one thing, we need to fail faster!!!
Jiu-Jitsu as a whole is interesting… Everyday is just another day of little failures (aka lessons) and little successes that are compounded into one big success. Hell, black belts have tapped out more than any other rank on the mat.
So why is it that so many people take that principal and forget to apply it to tournaments?
Think about it like this… Let’s take Roberto Jimenez as our example… At most of the Fight to Win tournaments, I hear his name called out over and over as I see him running from division to division to fight…
So, who do you think is going to win the division most of the time???? You guessed it, Roberto!
Why? Due to simple laws of success… Roberto failed over and over and over and over! Not giving up, but learning from each mistake. He failed faster than anyone at the early ranks. Infact, I bet he has tons of stories on tapping out and losing matches, but since he never gave up and kept fighting after each failure, he is reaping the rewards of success.
To this day, he is still gaining more and more experience for when he earns brown and black. What he does now will dictate his performance later. If he stopped competing, some other young stud would eventually take his place. I don’t think he will be stopping till he wins multiple world titles and other things. We all see his experience level is increasing. Staying on this path only leads him to be an even bigger monster in the future who is destined for World Champion titles at the highest levels.
So when I get asked the questions, “when should I compete? when do you think I will be ready?”, here is my advice to white and blue belt competitors:
- Compete earlier – Do not wait. The longer you wait, the bigger the gap will become between you and others. You will have a harder time competing.
- Compete as much as you possibly can – When Fight to Win comes around, enter in multiple divisions. They have tons of divisions and it won’t break your bank to do it. Even smaller, in-house tournaments are important. You see a tournament, just register for it. Try to get your first 10 to 20 tournaments under your belt as fast as possible.
- Local tournaments are crucial – Take advantage of local tournaments in your backyard. Once you hit black belt there are not a lot of higher rank fights in local tournaments. I have seen people wait for IBJJF just to spend $100 for one fight that they loose because they didn’t want to do the local tournaments. You can bet your bottom dollar their opponents winning the divisions are at every local tournament they can get their hands on!
- Never Give up – Just because you loose a few tournaments doesn’t mean it isn’t for you or that you suck. It just means you still have work to do, and it will be that much sweeter when it clicks. Some people are able to just start winning early-on in their BJJ career.
- Tournaments are about learning – It is important that we learn from our mistakes. To some people they may feel like tournaments are a pissing contest, but in all reality it is a chance for you to roll with people you may otherwise never get to roll with, learn about yourself – mind, body, and soul, learn about your jiu-jitsu, improve your technique, pick up new technique, and just all around is a great learning experience.
- Everyone is going through the same process – Emotions, fear, self-doubt, and nervousness. These are things we all go through. Every competitor goes though it and you have to look inward and battle yourself just like the rest of us.
- Look inward – The one thing I love is how competition makes us look inward at ourselves. We have to learn to remove the doubt and the fears. It is something that can be taken off the mat and used in our everyday life teaching us to solve problems head on, not being shy in front of others, and so much more.
I hope this article inspires and helps others out there who struggle too. I hope that this helps those who are thinking of competition but haven’t made that leap into the wonderful world of BJJ tournaments.
In conclusion, fail faster and never give up… keep going!! All the money in the world can’t buy the smile on your face and the feeling you get after accomplishing a long struggle. It is all worth it!!!