4 things I learned in 5 minutes of Jiu Jitsu

I recently competed at the IBJJF Atlanta Spring Open. I lost my match by two points. This is the 5th tournament that I have competed in. In my time competing I’ve brought home gold and I’ve walked away with nothing. I’m thankful for my loss this weekend and for the opportunity to see how God wants to do more work in my life and draw me closer to him.

1. Mental preparedness. I put competing completely out of my mind until 2 weeks prior to the tournament. I hate having my name called and being watched by large crowds. So when I would think of the tournament, I would only think about the stress of the overall event. I was not prepared to do what I am very capable of doing because I was focused on the things that scare me.

Roman’s 12:2 ‘Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect’. I needed to renew my mind. It’s the simplest solution and the most difficult. I should redirect my focus when I have negative thoughts. We are also taught in Philippians 4:8-9 "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen —practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." I need to change my focus to the things that are honorable and commendable and worthy of praise and THEN, the peace of God will be with me.

2. Physical preparations. Due to my mental focus being completely backwards, I did not prepare my body to be at peak condition. I was overweight the morning of the tournament. I had to run 3 miles to drop the excess and then fast until my match which was late in the day. My body was pumping massive amounts of adrenaline due to nerves, and I did not refuel or hydrate for fear of being disqualified. I also skipped another vital part of competing. I did not warm up. When I stepped on the mat, I was cold and stiff. My movement was slow and my response time was inadequate. Luke 14:28 ‘For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?’ I did not count the cost. I waited until it was too late to make the necessary changes to be completely prepared.

3. Hesitation. I can look at points one and two to find where to lay the blame on this. I missed several key opportunities because I hesitated. I knew what to do and how to do it and I just didn’t. This is probably the biggest disappointment I face when looking back. I didn’t trust in my training. Numbers 13:31-33 “But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size.” I knew what had to be done but I had allowed my fear to determine my actions. I didn’t proceed with boldness because I had no faith. I see this in my daily life as well. How many times have I turned my back on something that is wrong because I fear what might be thought of me?

4. Attitude. There was no fault or blame or anger towards anyone but myself when I walked off the mats. Plain and simple, I was not prepared. I took 2 minutes when changing out of my gi to be upset and wonder why I was doing this at all if I’m not going to be better. But, that is selfish thinking and not who I am. It’s just a match and just another day and I know where to turn my focus. Romans 5:3-4 “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

My attitude is a reflection of my character. I want my character to reflect the hope that God gives me to persevere through any situation both small and large.

There are no guarantees of anything in this life. But what if I decided to take these lessons to heart, on and off the mats? I believe God can use me. I will see more victories and I will face even more defeats, but I’m willing to run with endurance for the possibility of seeing myself grow and others join me on this adventure.

  • Written by Rachel Edge

About Rachel Edge

Rachel is a full-time working mother of three children. Her strongest desire is to see families thriving under the influence of God's love. She began training BJJ as a means of self-defense in 2015 and grew to love the discipline, challenges, and accomplishments the sport offers. Her hobbies also include obstacle course racing, yoga and weight training with her family.

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