I, Cheater: Why I would cheat in BJJ if I could.
June 13th, 2017 by Mike Coughlin
You haven’t missed any news where the UFC suddenly signed a
32 34 year old lawyer who can’t throw a punch, don’t worry (though I’m really only different than CM Punk in that I’m younger). No, instead I’ll talk a bit about myself in an effort to see if broader conclusions about individuals who aren’t me can be reached.
As I’m fond of mentioning, I do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the ancient art developed by Brazilians to bilk white devils like me out of our money by having us usually pay to enter tournaments to test ourselves. I train pretty regularly, trying to get in a minimum of 3 times a week on the mats themselves, and then a bit of cross-training (i.e., doing wrestling drills by myself in my backyard as the neighbors wonder why a grown man keeps humping the ground in a violent fashion). In a given year, I generally do anywhere from 2-5 tournaments, depending on schedule and whether I’ve decided I can go three weeks without eating a bunch of crap and drinking myself to sleep (always a tough one).
These are not big deals. I don’t win money – and as I mentioned, in fact pay money to enter them. What I do win are nice little medals, seen here:
Some tournaments are bigger than others, and while I thought about doing big tournaments like the World Championships or Pan-Am games, I’m also cheap/broke and if I’m going to Vegas for a few days, I’d rather spend it engaging in debauchery, not competing (though I did do both once). And I tend to even compete in the MASTER’S division. 1. It sounds more impressive; 2. It’s for people over 30. I think there’s even one for 35+ 40+ and so on. This is good because I hate kids, would hate losing to one more, and might gouge an 18 year old’s eye out if given the chance because of my aforementioned hate of kids. Also: they’re younger, stronger, faster, better. Fuck them.
Now, when I say I would cheat to win, as I haven’t yet said but did in the title so you know it’s coming now, I don’t mean I’d do something to an opponent to win. I wouldn’t fish-hook, grab their balls, try a leg attack that isn’t permitted, etc… And I wouldn’t even take steroids for a prolonged period of time because … I’m 32 and this isn’t going to be a career so why risk the arrest and/or damage to my body. Oh, and I don’t know where to get them, that’s a big one. I’m sure I could find them but I’m anal enough that if I’m going to chemically cheat, I’d want it to be stuff you get from a doctor/pharmacy.
What I would do is take something the day of a competition, if I knew it would help. I don’t know what that would be, but probably something like Ritalin mixed with Xanax (which makes no sense chemically) mixed with meth (the legal version). A drug that would make me sharp, focused, worry free, and able to be the best me possible.
See, I like the build-up to a tournament. I get a little kick out of the discipline and focus it gives me; all that good stuff. But then there are the tournaments themselves and they anger me. As you saw from all those medals, I do OK. I’ve medaled at every tournament I’ve done for a while, some Bronze some Gold – total badass, I know. And it’s not even the winning that I want – though I do want that – it’s the ability to be my best on that day which I crave.
I’ve won tournaments where I wasn’t at my best but something clicked; and I’ve lost them when I thought I was better than I’d ever been before only for the day of something to go wrong. It’s part a mental thing, and a mental thing I’ve purposely been working on. But it frustrates me to no end. What I want is the ability to take something to let me be me. I don’t want Superman muscles or anything, I just want Best Grappling Version of Mike Coughlin to come out. If I lose, I’m OK with that. What I hate is losing and afterwards I keep thinking, “I didn’t feel right out there.” Sure, some of that is the opponent is better but – again – a lot of that seems to be me.
Cheating in BJJ: I Want To Be The Best Me I Can Be
I’m not someone who has really lived up to his potential in most areas of life. I was blessed with athletic gifts I squandered (to be clear: these gifts would have seen me peak at like Single A baseball – but hey!, that would’ve been cool) and mental abilities that I’ve used, and do use, but I never fine tuned. I never applied myself in school at any level. I could tell you I was bored but it was mostly, “Why bother?” I was OK getting a B instead of an A if the B meant I could play video games.
And so when I actually try, and want to express my potential and find myself not reaching it, I’m angry and frustrated. It’s like, “So, when I don’t try in life, I’m good. When I do try, I fail?” Again, this is all mental, I know. I’m not used to failing. I didn’t try at most things so when I got the B instead of the A it was easy to just shrug and tell myself, “Eh, I could’ve had the A if I wanted.” And maybe that’s true. But I try at these tournaments – I make it a point to only enter if I think I’m at or near my best because I don’t want an excuse – and hate the failure. MY failure.
Cheating in BJJ: They are doing things we haven’t even imagined exist
Now, read all of that (DO IT, READ IT!!!!!) and imagine what a guy who is in my shoes but could make several million dollars if he wins would take. Fighters using PEDs isn’t always as simple and basic as, “They are cheaters who are evil.” The reasons are more complex and should be acknowledged as such. That knowledge should be remembered when crafting policies to prevent their usage. Think of all the stories about “doping” and such you read regarding cycling. Guys are doing ridiculous amounts of high level cheating to … ride a bike. You think athletes, be in MMA, NFL, MLB, etc… aren’t doing things we haven’t even imagined exist? Some probably have a wonder drug that lets them train while they sleep – they go to sleep and their body does curls or something.
I once won a Gold medal but didn’t feel good that day and it was less satisfying than a Bronze I won when I felt like a god who lost one match, by one point, to the eventually top dog. That day, I thought, “Yeah, that was me. I’m pretty good.” And again, this is largely competitions amongst older, more established people. No big crowds or anything – the crowds are all just other competitors. It’s competition for the sake of competition, that’s all. And I’d be willing to take whatever if it simply allowed me to reach MY potential. I could lose but if I lost feeling like I was my best, so be it.
As far as I know, there is no such magic pill for me, so I’m left to struggle and compete the old fashioned way. Such is life. But would I cheat if I could? Yes, I would.