Compete and Create Winners

I read something on Facebook this morning from Jiu Jitsu Brown Belt Kevin Scott that said “Everyone wants to be a world champion but nobody wants to train like one.”

I have seen this problem reign supreme so much in my ten years of Jiu Jitsu and MMA.  Everyone comes into the gym the first time talking about challenging Jon Jones for his belt or becoming a Black Belt World Champion, the moment these talks end is when you tell them it is going to be more work than coming to the gym twice a week.  To become on that level your dedication has to match your high goals.

Lotus Club/ Alliance Black Belt Laercio Fernandes trains and teaches out of the Lotus Club Irvine location.  I have had the privilege of training with him and watching him prepare to be a world champ.  I was in California for the weekend so I hit up Saturday classes at Lotus Club Irvine.  I observed Laercio drilling a basic back take when I arrived.  I took an entire class only to look over and see him drilling the same exact back take when I was done.  That is the dedication that it takes be on top of the World Podium and even with that dedication Laercio is in a battle trying to achieve that title every year.

Where has all the drive gone?  One theory for you; not everyone is a winner and less people are every year.  I blame society.

We live in a society that has changed over the last ten to twenty years into a society that does not allow pee wee sports to keep points because they are afraid of making anyone feel like a loser.  In Jiu Jitsu most tournaments give out medals to every kid that competes.  In this attempt to not hurt any kids feeling society is eliminating the desire to be a winner.  And more importantly it is taking away that drive and desire that I felt as a kid when losing a match or game.  These losses did not kill my self confidence but rather made me work harder and strive to be better.

Last year I ran a tournament at Siege MMA that was geared towards getting kids and adults experience without costing a significant amount of money.  I guaranteed at least two matches for each competitor with most getting several more matches.  I only gave medals out to the top 3 in each division.  I did this not because I didn’t want to spend the money on extra medals but because I feel that it is important for all ages to learn how to lose.  In my opinion the kids that left without a medal did not lose, they learned the more important lessons of competing.

My opinion was not shared by one little boy and several parents and coaches.  I was approached by numerous people asking if I could give their kid a medal.  I explained my point of view and they either excepted it or gave me a dirty look and walked off.  The tournament was a huge success and the competitors gained so much knowledge and competition experience but no, not everyone went home with a medal.

One more quick story about this tournament;  I had this one little kid that competed, probably about nine years old, come up to me and say “I don’t think I am going to do this tournament again.”  I asked him why what happen, how many matches did you have?  He explained he had three matches, he won one and lost two.   I said then why don’t you want to the tournament again.  He said ” My last tournament I got a medal.”  I asked him to tell me about the last tournament.  He explained he had one match and lost his only match, but he went home with a $4 medal.

With that being said I am very excited to announce that I will be hosting a tournament again on April 5, 2014 that will not be giving medals to all that compete but will be working on creating winners on and off the mats.  The Tough Love Tournament is not only a great affortable tournament to gain competition experience but also goes to support a good cause.  Tough Love is an organization that is set up to sponsor at risk kids in Martial Arts.  Martial Arts is such a strong influence on a kid that might not have the direction or support in his or her life and the family financially not able to enroll the kid.  That is where Tough Love comes in, its an organization that changes kids lives.  Please support the tournament and the growth of WINNERS in todays society.

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