Fear and Competition

I’m registering for the “advanced” division in my next submission grappling tournament.  This means my competition will be pro fighters, high level jiu jitsu folks, and legit bad asses.  Pretty cool, yet I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t experiencing a little fear.

Fear is an adaptive emotion, as are all emotions.  Fear encourages us to avoid danger.  If humans didn’t experience fear, our ancestors would have twiddled their thumbs and yawned as saber tooth tigers hurdled towards them.  Basically, you and I wouldn’t have ever been; if not for fear.

Fear is telling me to not compete in the advanced division.  My own body’s preservation response is trying to talk me in to saving myself from losing a limb, or at best, saving face.  Luckily, I know how it feels to win.  I know how it feels to lose.  I know how it feels to compete.  I love it.  I’ll be damned if some primitive, so-called “adaptable” emotional response keeps me from stepping on the mat.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
-Theodore Roosevelt
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