Elisabeth Clay: What Makes Me Want to Win and Succeed

Many wonder why I want to train like I do. I cannot tell you how many times I was told by previous teammates and coaches that if I kept training like I did, that I was going to burn out within a few years, if I even made it that long, or that I was making the wrong choices because I was not being a kid or a teen. They would criticize me for not doing “normal” things like going to prom or skipping hanging out with friends to train.

Coaches, Please Don’t Discourage Overachievers  

If you can’t be the coach for a driven student, at least do right by them and help them find the right school that fits their goals. Some people are just wired to train, compete and win like I am. We thrive under positive pressure. If you give us something to work for, a challenge, we will step up and meet it.

I’m always the one looking for a challenge. I’ve been told before that if I don’t have an elephant to chew on i’m not happy. For the most part, this is very correct. I get bored very easily if i’m not being challenged.

I Started Young

Many academies do not let anyone under 14 or 16 train with adults. I started training with adults about a month into my training. I was barely 12. If you have a serious student, a determined student, let them train with the people who will push them. Those students are not challenged by their peers. If nothing else, have them do kids and adult classes. The key to them being successful is by always having something new to learn.  

Break the Rules and Find What Works for You

Many of these so called rules we follow only stop us from learning, whatever our age or skill level. If you want to learn more as a student then find the right environment with the right partners, professors, clothing requirements and everything else you need. Just remember that the right place for one person to flourish may not be the best for another. An all IBJJF school will not be best for an all around player, but a strong leg only school won’t fit the ideal IBJJF player, either.

I like to train with and be one of the guys. I never want someone to take it easy on me (although I think sometimes they do, haha!). My teammates and I are known for leaving class, comp classes especially, with bruises, bloody noses and tight or sore muscles, joints and this that or the other. Sometimes we are so exhausted we can hardly move for 5 or 10 minutes after class.

Am I Lucky? No. I Train to Win!

I do not believe in luck. Hard work, dedication, blood, sweat and tears, and yes, failure are what make success possible. While failure is discouraging and demoralizing, it is absolutely a part of succeeding. You may rarely fail, those failures may be mostly in training, but if you do not stretch yourself to the point of failure then you will never truly succeed.

People tell me all the time I am so lucky. Yes, I have been blessed to have parents who support my dreams. They moved so my brothers and I could get the right training, but it is because of the dedication and effort we put in that makes them willing to sacrifice so much for us.  

This is also a mixed bag. Each time a person experiences success, they begin expecting more. Some days I worry how much I may disappoint others. I want to be a positive example for others to follow. I work hard to thank those who put their time and effort and energy into helping me become the best I can.

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Thank you for following. Please continue to do so and work hard! Become your lion or lioness.