If you’ve ever heard the term “quicksand”, used in competition, you know what I’m talking about…you lose once, no big deal. Lose again, you think it’s just a bad couple of months…lose again…uh-oh…something is wrong…then you think instead of react and lose more. Then you can’t win. You, my friend, are stuck in the quicksand, and it’s a lonnnng way to sink.
My “trophy wall” was riddled with silver….no gold. And It’s no secret about me – before Saturday I lost my last 5 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu contests…yep, last FIVE. The human mind can take so many losses before you start telling yourself that you just aren’t good. What it needs is someone to tell you that you are. Professor Hermosillo knows this, and he does it. He prevents the black hole of loss from happening every day with new students, frustrated students, and even instructors.
My first loss, I was told it was the nerves
Second was my conditioning
Third was my grip
Fourth and fifth went in one ear an out the other because I didn’t want to hear it – I had sunk into the sand. What I remember though is Mike not getting mad or frustrated. He said, “we’ll just keep working at it”…calm as a cucumber…not angry or disappointed or embarassed. So we worked on it.
…and I won. I won gold…finally. Gold…it had become such a big mountain to reach in my mind that it was built up as the end-all be-all of ANY competition. Some people loseoccasiionally. Quicksandhad me losing all the time. And now I was out.
Having a hand raised is a hell of a lot better than watching the other guys having theirs up.
That wasn’t the best, though. The best is when your coach walks onto the mat, laughing and giving you a hug and saying “you did it.” That made me feel good and feel confident that Mike knows what he’s doing. It also makes me realize what a shot my confidence had been taking.
Sometimes fighters need a rope to pull them out of the deep, dark, grainy sand and get back on track. That’s what coaches do – they throw you the rope and help to pull when you decide to pull yourself out. That’s what mine did for me and what I hope I do for others. Being a coach, I can tell you, they know you lose and somewhat expect you to in order to get experience, but more often than not when they pull you out of the sand, they’re a lot happier to see your face and clean you off than you think.