What happens when you are at a competition and you are bracketed with one of your teammates, and it comes down to you and your teammate(s)?
At Fabio’s he has a strict non inner-team competition. He likes to foster a tight knit group of people who are friends on and off the mat. Our team is very much like extended family. If we had to fight each other in competitions it might get more heated while training, we might be less apt to help each other in class, and people might harbor hurt feelings or vendettas after competitions.
Personally, I completely agree with that point of view. Especially considering my best friend and sister has in the past been in my division in competition. I just cannot fight her in any kind of intense fashion. (The fact that she would super tool me if I tried doesn’t even play into that mind set. I just love her, so I can’t.)
However, I also can see the point where you don’t train BJJ to make friends or have a huge extended family. You train BJJ to learn BJJ. Fostering a super friendly gym environment is not required to do that. Some people may even feel it might hinder their progress for the reason I mentioned above. If you can’t go hard with some people, you might think you can’t get the most out of a training session. (Personally, I disagree, but I can see why or how someone would feel that way.)
So, back to my point.
What does your gym do if it comes down to you and your teammate in a competition?
Do you fight? Do you flip a coin? Do you defer to the higher belt?
Fabio lets us work it out among ourselves.
At my first competition Allie and I were in the same group. It came down to the two of us, and she deferred to me. She said she felt like I deserved it because I had two overtimes with a 200+ pound beast woman. (Allie later had to fight too! Doh!)
At the NAGA I went to watch this weekend, it came down to one of my Lakeland teammates and a teammate from Fabio's other branch in Brandon. (No competing against teammates still applies.) Fabio told the ref they would not be fighting each other, and the ref asked who was higher ranked, and based on that, he was going to award gold to the higher ranked of the two. However, they ended up flipping a coin.
Before the Pan Ams Fabio and I were talking about something like this happening to him because there was another Carlson Gracie black belt in his division. Fabio said he would just defer to that guy if it came down to the two of them because Fabio had already taken home gold from the Pan Ams and to him that would be the only fair thing to do. He said if it is going to the team, he doesn’t really care who takes it home.
Some of the guys on my team make arrangements before hand with the other guys in their division. For example, they decide that one person will take gi if it came down to the two of them, and the other would take no-gi no matter how things played out during the competition.
So, what does your team do? Do you like that? Would you prefer something different? What seems the most fair to you?