So yesterday, before the morning class, I was talking to some of my students, asking them to go hard against me and help me prepare for the upcoming No Gi Worlds in November.

This is going to be my 2nd tourney this year, I haven’t been competing much for the past 2 years, lost a little bit of motivation/focus after my daughter was born, it has changed my priorities, but I’ve been an active competitor since my white belt days.

One of my students asked me why I’m still competing, what drives me, since I’m not that young anymore (turning 41 in November) and have already competed a bunch in my career, being able to win a good number of prestigious tournaments.

Well, the reason today is different than from years ago…

As a white belt, I was competing pretty much because I had no other choice, in the 90’s there wasn’t Jiu Jitsu for fun or hobby, most schools were part of large competition teams, and if you were training Jiu Jitsu, you were expected to be competing representing your team, or representing Jiu Jitsu against another Martial Art.

I never really liked competing at that time, I would become extremely anxious leading up to the tournament, and rarely performed at my best.

Then things started to change, Jiu Jitsu became more popular, the pressure to be competing wasn’t that much anymore, and I decided to keep competing because I wanted to be the best I could be, I knew inside of me that I could hang with the best.

I learned how to relax, how to compete better, and started enjoying it.

Nowadays things are different, I don’t compete anymore because I wanna prove something or because I wanna win another Gold Medal, I compete because that’s how I motivate myself to keep getting better at Jiu Jitsu, and also helps me to keep a healthy lifestyle.

Because I’m competing in November, I have to start taking care of myself, losing some weight, training harder & smarter, keeping up to date with the new techniques and trends, studying my opponents, preparing game plans, improving my cardio and so on…

How about you? Why do you compete or why you don’t?

Let me know!

Gustavo Gasperin
BJJ Black Belt