• The Organic Poet

BJJ Competing – Embrace the fear. No remorse!!

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

My heart beats as fast as a drummer-boy’s drum. Fingers frantically tap without pause. Anxiety fills my body like a tidal wave. Sink or swim. Fight or flight. No remorse! I wear a mask of brashness and over-confidence - to hide how I feel inside. I’m controlled by fear and insecurity, a ‘weakness’ I’m determined to hide.

The past week a weight-cut to shed the last pounds. Thirsty, cranky and hungry. Humour’s ground down. I watch clips of opponents, all through the nights - to analyse their weaknesses from previous fights.

This competition has brought me to the point of obsession, I’ll be a king when that trophy is in my possession. Maybe I’m losing perspective, it’s dominating my life. I think it’s frustrating my beautiful wife.

Competition day’s here. Still a few pounds over. I feel drained. I feel tired, as if I’m hungover. I arrive at the venue, I look at the crowd. I see team-mates together; loud, happy and proud. Then it suddenly dawns that I fight in two hours. I head to the bathroom and stand in the showers. Head sweating. Heart thumping. Breathing real quick. I run to the toilet…… Nearly sick!

If I pull out now it won’t be too late. Fake an illness? An injury? Come-in over-weight? I can get my timing wrong…… no fault of mine. I wouldn’t be the first person to mix-up the time. I could sit in the crowd pretending I’m game, then hide when the Tannoy calls out my name.

The truth is this fear is leaving me weak. If I step on the mat will the outcome be bleak? This shaking leaves me feeling a mess. Am I ready to engage in public human chess? I’ve been training well when I’ve been in the gym but to let my team down here is the cardinal sin. Will I fall victim to the quickest submission? Will I even managed to hold down a position? Will I hear my coaches’ instructions through the chorus of chants? Will I be pictured with a brown stain on my gi pants?

The seconds count down as the moment draws near. The time to confront and embrace fear is here.

I embrace my coaches who say it’ll be fine. I make them a promise to ‘put it all on the line’. I thank them for their guidance and positivity but above everything else, their investment in me. They’ve stretched me and pushed me, my skills they have honed. I’m physically ready to leave my comfort zone.

I scan the arena; I look at the crowd. They’re encouraging, they’re joyful, they’re excited, they’re loud! I spot my team chanting, it gives me a boost. They unconditionally support me. Fear now reduced. Their positive energy strikes like lightening. I break free from fear. It’s so very exciting. My team is behind me: men, women, girls and boys. As I get ready for battle, there’s an explosion of noise.

A roller-coaster of emotions I’ve had getting here. My mind was cluttered, yet now it is clear. Despite the doubt and pessimism from my inner voice. To be here competing is simply my choice. I step onto the mat, I reflect as I go. I promise myself that I’ll put on a show. I’m ready and willing. I’m at the point of no return. I slap hands and bump fists. I’ll win or I’ll learn!

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