Two Subs and a Coffee Mug... was it worth it?
When deciding to compete in this big IBJJF tournament, and weigh out whether the value you receive is worth the steep price, it comes down to perspective.
The price to compete is nothing to scoff at. Entrance for procrastinators is about $150. Then you can tack on a pretty penny for travel costs and food and lodging. This would be the bare minimum. Most likely you will want to gamble a little, buy some swag, check out the newly legal dispensaries, and maybe get schwifty up in da club. You might also need to take some time off work, as the hard schedule isn't set until about a week before the event. You could possibly be competing on any day from Wednesday through Saturday. There is a pre-schedule, but nothing is set in stone. Oh, and don't forget to pay your $30 IBJJF registration fee before you can sign up for the tournament itself!
What do you get out of a tournament like this? Well, some people could look at my trip to Vegas and see my payout as two submission victories and a bad-ass coffee mug. I lost via an Americana in my 3rd match. I quickly changed and didn't bother sticking around to see who finished my bracket. I was going to miss out on the absolutely amazing feeling of having a medal hung around my neck. Although I held my head up high, I would be lying if I said I didn't avoid the general vicinity of the podium after my loss. The sight of it filled me with disappointment. I literally couldn't even look at it when I passed by it to pick up my gift bag. What a waste of time and money, right?
If you are going to judge the value of a tournament by your success on the mat, the IBJJF World Masters is not for you. It didn't take a ton of reflection to fill me with gratitude and to
realize that my trip was money well spent. It wasn't just the usual cliche (but true), "you win some you learn some" that you may hear or say after a tournament. I had an epiphany of how lucky I was to have been there.
My preparation and training for this tournament pushed my Jiu-Jitsu to a new level. As I pushed myself, I bonded with my teammates and students who were there to support me and some of whom were preparing themselves for battle as well. My coach and many teammates were right there with me, instructing and encouraging me. My wife, friends, students, and teammates were watching the live stream from home. Knowing that people care enough to take the time out of their day to cheer me on from their office or living room fills me with more gratitude than I can describe. I learned a lot about myself in defeat, both physically and mentally.
After picking up my gift bag, I went to watch my teammates compete. I took comfort in the camaraderie of my silly Jiu-Jitsu pals that were also watching and cheering. Watching my teammates successes and their losses slowly took away the sting of my defeat. I was filled with pride whether they won or lost, and I realize now that everyone in my life that I share this journey with feels the same way about me. I even got to see a few of my teammates on that same podium I couldn't even bear to look at earlier. That feeling I had before was nowhere to be found. I was just proud.
In short, this competition was worth every penny. Get out there and do it every chance you get. You may not always be able to.