After my long run, which I did ridiculously early this morning, the family headed out to the New Jersey Brazilian Juijitsu Spring tournament. The Hub and Thing 2 were competing again. I watched Thing 2’s matches and was amazed at how aggressive he’s become, but also how good his sportsmanship is. When his second opponent, who Thing 2 had clearly been dominating for several minutes, won with a surprise choke hold against my son, Thing 2 didn’t get upset. Instead, right after the match he went up to his opponent and gave him a fist bump.
This was a stark contrast to his first match. He was paired with a young girl who goes to a school that does not seem to stress good sportsmanship. She appeared to be far more experienced than the others in the group. After tapping Thing 2 out very quickly, she turned her back to him and left the mat without acknowledging his effort or giving him the chance to congratulate her. It was a stunning display of poor sportsmanship, made worse by the fact that she later yelled at the refs and judges because she wanted to “fight” more kids before they awarded her the gold medal, echoing the word her coach was using for the matches.
“Fight” is not a term our school uses for sparring or rolling among training partners or opponents in competition. A fight is something that happens in the streets, when you are in a self-defense situation. You fight for your life; you roll/compete for a medal. To hear such young kids referring to a friendly competition as fighting is somewhat alarming. It indicates that the athlete using it does not see their opponent with respect, and it raises the fear that injury is more likely. Juijitsu, when it’s done right, is as much about trust as it is about competition. Most of the submission moves used can cause serious injury if taken too far, so when you roll with someone you are trusting that they won’t take those moves too far (and they are trusting you not the injure them)…but when you’re fighting someone, injury is the goal.
Why am I sharing this? I guess because I want you to know that if you decide to start training in a martial art (or have your kid start training), picking the school you join is important to the quality of your overall martial arts experience. Listen closely to the words they use. Good words include things like respect, self-control, partners, discipline, competition, sparring, etc. Red flag words include things like fight and attack. Watch a class and see how the students treat each other. See how the instructors treat not only the students, but also each other. Is there a lot of praise and encouragement? Is the environment supporting and respectful? When students are corrected, is it done with a smile or with anger?
The better schools will produce athletes who will offer a fist bump when defeated rather than athletes who offer a cold shoulder when they win. At the end of the day, what kind of person they help you or your child become is more important than how many tournaments they win.
- 10 mile long run: Even though I can barely breathe and I’m coughing up goo, I decided to go for my long run, because I’m dumb like that. Surprisingly, the run wasn’t hard, and I was able to maintain a decent pace without feeling like it was an intense effort. This has convinced me that I’m not sick at all and that my symptoms are definitely allergies. I mean, I couldn’t run 10 miles comfortably while my immune system was fighting a cold, right?
- Pre-run: Mesa sunrise cereal with banana, raisins, and almond milk; coffee with sugar and almond milk
- Post-run: smoothie (SunWarrior Warrior Blend chocolate vegan protein, strawberries, kale, coconut water, and ice); vegan pumpkin chocolate chip muffin, coffee with vanilla stevia and almond milk
Lunch @ Papa Ganache:
- Slice of vegan veggie quiche
- Small bowl of tomato basil soup
- Kid’s cup of vegan cinnamon coffee gelato
- Coffee with cardamom and almond milk
- Whole wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce and tofu sausage
- Broccoli raab cooked with garlic and olive oil
- Homemade white wine
- Strawberry shortcake vegan cupcake from Papa Ganache