The old "why do I compete" thing bears examination.
First I think Leslie made an excellent point... why enter a tournament vs. why compete.
I entered my first tournament when I'd been training a few weeks. Some random training as part of kajukenbo and rolling with two friends.. a couple weeks under William Vandry, then a month or two off... then one week exactly at Relson Gracie under Phil Cardella which is where I stayed. I entered it because one of the people I trusted told me I was ready. I wanted to enter early, so I wouldn't put as much pressure on myself to win. Hahaha, of course I still did, and I was bummed with my results, but it was instructive. (I had to enter the mens' division, <155lbs, and it was a round robin, so I did get to fight the other two girls in the tournament too. Nogi. I went 1-5. And I will never forget being baseball bat choked from my knees like an idiot.) That was the only tournament I competed in while telling myself I didn't have a chance.
I compete because I want to win. It's a matter of pride, insecurity, two sides of the same coin. I am in the top 2% of most intensely competitive people in the world, and not surprisingly, I'm trying to be THE most competitive *wink, wink*
(No relevance to the topic. Just liked this picture.)
I don't compete to find out what I need to work on. I get enough mat-hours at home with an enormous variety of people, and if diagnosing holes in my game were the point, believe me, I'd get it there- and I do. As last night's roll with Jason shows. In fact I demoted myself two stripes just from drilling technique with him (for a brief period of time I technically outranked him by a stripe and my brain couldn't handle the cognitive dissonance.)
I don't need to pay $100-200-300 or more and kill a weekend and eat holes in my stomach and stretch the patience of my husband just for diagnostics. I once said I'm in it for the medal, but after reading Leslie's thoughts, I agree... it's not the medal, it's the moment of the win. The hand being raised is great, but equally I enjoy the feeling as the match goes on and you know you're gaining on them. Whether you've just gotten stuck in a triangle and you wrangle and wrangle and eventually get out, or you're both stuck in some weird twisty way and suddenly you see how to reposition as light at the end of the tunnel... but there is a turning point in every match I've had, and when that point shows me that things are looking up... THAT feeling is incredible. When you hear your corner all relaxed and happy about your point spread, or when you hear your opponent's tortured breathing and feel them sigh and relent, just a bit, or better, you hear THEIR corner all freaky and pissy and UNhappy... Of course if you get the tap, well then... that's like chocolate cake. And frosting. And then, people who watched the match congratulate you afterwards.. and some random little girl might ask if she can hold your medal.. :)
Maybe that makes me the kindergartener of the mats, so be it.
Why do you compete?