Monday, September 22, 2008

Getting back in the competition game

Besides competing in the gym almost every single day against a bunch of really skilled teammates, it has been a very long time since I have entered any sort of competition. I always have a lot of projects going on, and given my time consuming roles as full time gym owner, promoter, coach and instructor, it has been difficult for me to find the required time and energy to focus on my own training enough to compete again. Last time I competed was about two and a half years ago and shortly after that, I got a pretty bad pelvis/hip injury from a deadlift, that has held me from doing any form of lower body (and thereby cardio-)training since. These factors combined has put my focus on all the other factors of the sport besides competing.

I have tried several treatments for my injury over the last few years, but nothing has really worked until recently where a friend of mine referred me to a physiotherapist of his. Over the last two months, I have paid her for literally torturing my body, and finally I see some results. I can now run, squat, jump, etc. without feeling pain for a week afterwards. It is not fully treated yet, but definitely going in the right direction.

With my newly acquired luxury of being able to actually train my lower body, I have decided to join my team in a submission wrestling tournament next saturday. We are 29 competitors from my gym and I will join them in our quest to gather most points and win the team contest.

Competition for me will never be about honor, winning, being "the best" etc., but is merely a tool for me to develop my skills and explore my own potential. I do this for myself and myself only. Self confidence has never been a problem to me (in the good way :)), so I am not out to prove anything to myself or anyone else. What I am trying to do with this project though, is to use competition as a catalyst to evolve, improve and develop my skills in the sports. A natural step on my way to brown belt and beyond! :)

Recently, I was thinking back and realizing, that I have actually competed at about 15 tournaments in the past, but it is such a long time ago, I have a tendency to about forget it. I dug up some old photos from my hard drive from these events and have uploaded them to this post. Skinny kid!! :D

Now, getting back in the competition game is gonna be a long term, slow starting thing for me. I think that technically I could not be better prepared. Physically, I would rate myself to be about 75% of my potential in my current weight class. Mentally, I am obviously lacking experience and I am totally out of the rhythm in this area. Nerves or concentration has never really been a problem for me during matches at competitions in the past, and I have always felt confident in my game, so I hope this will also be the case saturday. Naturally, my mind is playing tricks on me these days about my confidence in getting back on the mat after such a long time and with high expectations for myself, but I am aware of it and working on turning it all to my advantage.

Basically, my plan with this particular competition is to get back in the rhythm. Get on the mat, feel the nerves, do my best to execute my gameplan and see how it goes. I hope to win, but it is not my primary goal this time. I have been making a gameplan for the matches, that I have trained in the gym again and again under pressure against all my team mates, so I feel very confident in being able to execute it saturday. But we'll see how it goes. My toughest opponents will be my own team mates, who are not only extremely well prepared like myself, but also knows my game in and out :)

So these are some of my thoughts about getting back into the competition game. I will be sure to post here after the tournament to evaluate my performance and also put my matches up along with the gameplan I had been using (not gonna reveal that for my opponents just yet ;-)).

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