Competition is key to becoming better at any sport. A history has shown us we have seen some of the best in the world grow in competition from their blue belts days to world class black status. In this interview we sit down with Head instructor of Genesis BJJ Black Belt Tony Tipton , discuses the importance and benefits of competing.
What is the overall purpose of competing?
Tony: Well for me the purpose of competing is self improvement. The tourney itself is best place to test both my techniques and proficiency employing them. I also think that tournaments are great for the development of the sport and our community.
What motivates you to compete ?
Tony: The prospect of overcoming fear. A chance. Inspiration. I compete to prove to myself that I can overcome fear, "have a chance at a chance" (Castaneda). And to inspire something outstanding within myself to come without. And maybe inspire someone else.
What are some of things you do to prepare for a competition?
Tony: I train regularly and consistently as usual. I like to simulate a tourney match as much as possible when training. And I focus more on timing and being offensive while maintaining sharp balance.
What are some of the things you do to calm your nerves before competing?
Tony: Get plenty of rest and proper nutrition. Keep stress levels of daily life minimal. I use breathing techniques, visualization and focus drills to keep my mental state balanced. I also like to watch funny movies the night before and listen to music the day of.
For a person just starting out in BJJ, when should they start competing?
Tony: Whenever both the individual and the individual's coach feel ready. One of our students at Genesis JJ, Jerry "Wild Wild" West, competed in his first tourney after 2 weeks of training with no previous grappling experience. He had a good match. He was beaten decisively went home learned from the experience and is now one of our most technically sound students and active competitors. I believe his progress is due to a positive attitude toward the challenges that competition presents.
For an individual who stops competing due to a stream of losses how do they get over that?
Tony: They compete again. There are so many reasons a loss can happen. You will have losses in every aspect of life. It is natural. You and your coach can watch video and troubleshoot matches then follow up with appropriate training. Each loss will tell you volumes of your weaknesses. Among the losses there are bound to be common errors. Bring those areas up to par first. Repeat this process until desired effect is reached. You will only have a chance to win by first competing.
Does sponsorship play a major role when it comes to competing a lot ?
Tony: I believe it is common place that an individual training at a professional level has less time to raise funds for daily living let alone expenses associated with competing. Sponsorship is a great way to fund the training and competition.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from competing?
Tony: The most fundamental lesson I've learned is to be true to myself. Keep it real. Fight for yourself first. I guess what I'm tryin to say is if you're centered and focused and poised you can be ready for anything and overcome even what may seem like the biggest obstacle in the world. And once you have done that the world is yours.
Finally do you have any other advice to all the competitors out there ?
Tony: Stay positive, believe in you and your team and practice as though your life depends on it. Remember win or loss the fight is for the fight. And if you come prepared to fight you and fight to your potential you will always end up winning.
Before we wrap up do you have any shout outs ?
Tony: Hell yes I do :) My Team Genesis gangstas, Funky Town whut whuuut!!(fort worth, texas), Albert Hughes, my coach Roberto Cyborg Abreu and my Fight Sports and Avengers family, my gf Ashley, OTM and Monta for the interview. And me and Team G are spittin mad fire on the mic and will have some very krunk jams out soon featuring premiere blackbelt grapplers such as myself, Albert Hughes and Jake Mackenzie.
Well that wraps things up, thanks for your time tony and best wishes in 2011.
Tony: Thank you Monta my pleasure!!