First off, before anyone freaks out, no I am not competing in Krav Maga. Nor do I support competitions in Krav Maga. The reason for this is history. With all martial art styles, the started for the purpose of self-defence once they start competitions they often quickly become a sport and lose much of the practical application.
As I advise all practising kravists what you need to do is cross train to further develop your skills. If you do, you may find one of the other styles that are more sports-oriented will offer you an outlet to get that competitive bug out of the way. I recommend, MMA, BJJ, Judo, Wrestling, boxing and kickboxing/Muay Thai.
For me, BJJ is what I like and practice and compete in. So why do I compete considering the following:
- I am not nor have I ever been a naturally gifted athlete
- I am not by any stretch of the imagination the best in my division
- I am not a super competitive person who must win.
Yet, I still compete. I have many students, or have talked to many people who just don’t want to compete because they know they won’t win and to that, I say so what?
I see three general categories of competitors.
- Tha Natural Athlete – to these people, winning may be everything, It has either become normal to them because they are simply better physically and it has become their standard, and competition is their outlet to show off their talents
- The Committed martial artist – These people may not be the best physically but they still win. They are in the gym almost every day training and honing their skills. To them, it is a lifestyle and a way of being.
- The Casual Martial artist – Someone who trains on a casual basis but still compete because it seems like fun.
No matter what group you are in there is something they all have in common when it comes to competition. Win, lose or Draw every one comes out of competitions a little better. For no matter the outcome you will learn something.
Maybe despite winning, you almost lost and found a hole in your game or strategy. Maybe you lost not because of skill but because of your cardio. Maybe you lost because the skill in your division is simply higher than where you are at and you need to train more.
For me personally, I check all of these boxes. Due to a variety of reasons, I haven’t been able to train hard enough, for a long time my cardio was shit and there are definitely lots of holes in my game. The thing is even though at least for now I know I probably won’t win, I will still compete.
I always come out of competitions learning something new. and I always work towards fixing it. So far every competition I have for the most part, even if I wasn’t happy with the results the reality was each time I was a little better.
Over the last several competitions I have been working my cardio and each time I am a little less tired. So despite not winning gold, I have improved my self.
Over the last several competitions I have been working on my game and each time I am a little closer to implementing it and I have improved myself.
Over the last several competitions I have identified what I am doing wrong both defensively and offensively and I have improved myself.
While I fully Accept that I was and always will be a better coach and instructor than competitor I still plan on competing.
For me, It’s not about the winning, although as I am only human, It would be nice, it’s about being better every day. While I fully Accept that I was and always will be a better coach and instructor than competitor I still plan on competing. On that note, a coach or instructor who encourages their students to compete but has never competed or doesn’t compete may just be a hypocrite. As coaches, we tell them winning doesn’t matter, but then some fear competing cause they know they won’t win. But if winning doesn’t matter then why do you tell your students that and why don’t you compete? Being a hypocrite is the worst and is something I hate passionately.
So I compete, win lose or draw, I always improve and perhaps one day I will start seeing gold, and if not, its no big deal. The goal is improvement and competitions are one of the best ways to push your own personal boundaries and comfort zones and grow a little bit every time. For if you won’t, or refuse to push your comfort zones, you will never grow and be better.
I can only ever encourage everyone to take the same path, but even if you don’t, I will keep training, keep competing and keep getting better.
So get out there, and do not fear to lose. Just compete and have fun.