Progression in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is really the point. We all want to achieve something in our practice. None of us trains in this sport to stay at the same level, to not improve.
Progression is infinite so long as your effort is diligent and consistent. But, I argue it is incremental if your practice remains within the confines of your own academy. You are exposed to only 80% of the potential opportunities for growth and development if you do not venture outside your comfort zone.
Competition is that remaining 20%.
I am a staunch advocate of competing. It does so many things. It does not matter if it is just one match or one hundred: the value in the entire process, from preparation to performance to after party, cannot be duplicated by doing anything else.
Competing answers our questions and creates new ones. It gives us brutal, honest feedback. It can break our heart and make us feel invincible. It forges something within us and bonds us all together, forever.
But eventually our bodies will revolt against our minds and say no more. The weight of life interferes and we will have to slow down and eventually (maybe) stop. The real value in competing is to avoid regret. It is far more painful to say ‘I missed the thrill’ that to say ‘I miss the thrill.’ The following is a quote I have held onto for many years. I apologize but I cannot remember the author to give them proper credit:
There is no greater tragedy in life than dying without doing everything possible to find out who and what you really are
Compete just once. That is all you need. You will see what I mean.