Who's the biggest loser?

Often more knowledge can be gained from our losses than our wins. This is a lesson I learned recently in Brazil. It doesn't matter what sport, game or martial arts you practice. I was given some great advice last week after the Rio Open from one of my coaches. He said, “We don't compete to win. We compete to see if, and how our opponents might beat us. So we know what to work on and how to improve. Sometimes a loss has more of an impact than a win and a win is a devastating loss.” I thought about this for a while.

On Friday, July 22 I competed in the Rio Open absolute division. It was an exciting second chance to compete in Rio. I did not know what I was in for.

My first match was with the largest girl in the Rio Open purple belt division. I know that for some competitors it doesn't matter if there is a 50 to 100 pound difference. But I really believe that you need to train a certain way in order win an absolute division. It's yet another area I need to work on.

In my match I got thrown around like a rag doll, and then smashed until my arm popped. An arm bar finished me off. It was a less than exciting match to watch and somewhat painful match to be in. Regardless, I learned some valuable lessons from this experience to take with me.

I've learned that competing in Brazil is no different than competing in the United States. I think that I created a false image in my head. Hyped up, I believed competing in Rio would be very different from the U.S., considering the differences in culture and language barriers. Surprisingly the Rio Open was similar to other meets I had been in throughout the States.

I learned that in order to win an absolute division, you must train a certain way. Rolling with larger people requires a different strategy.

I also learned about some technical areas I need to improve on.

Most of all I've learned that winning is not everything. Although I would of loved to go home with a shiny new gold metal, my bronze is a reminder of what I need to work on, and of how I can get better. And even though I love to compete, I must say I am relieved that the competition is over. Now I can work on what I need to do in order to become the type of martial artist I want to be. I am in the best place in the world to nurture this passion, and I plan on taking full advantage of this opportunity. I will be training at Gracie Tijuca and with Daniel Moraes while in Rio. Then I'm off to Buenos Aires to train at Renzo Gracie's school! I am so excited and feel so blessed for this opportunity!


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