That being said, there is value in competition training as long as it's not the main focus of your martial arts journey. In the article, it states that sport training is like a triangle, where you learn a vast array of techniques and then hone them as you progress while self defense training is like an upside-down triangle, where you learn basic self defense techniques so that you can protect yourself efficiently with minimal training before you worry about the numerous techniques of sport competition. In the article, Olavarria states that "Carlos Gracie Jr. argues that what people term self-defense jiu jitsu is actually the most basic jiu jitsu, the jiu jitsu someone learns to fight on the street, against people who don’t know jiu jitsu. He then goes on to argue that once one begins to spar against fellow jiu jitsu practitioners then more advanced techniques are needed to mount, pass the guard and submit because you are using jiu jitsu against someone who already knows jiu jitsu." I completely understand that point of view, but it's symptomatic of missing the larger picture.
What sport BJJ does really well is prepare you to fight someone with similar training, as Carlos Gracie Jr. says. However, even with the popularity of mixed martial arts, the average attacker however does not have extensive martial arts training. Does that mean we shouldn't prepare for an attacker who knows how to fight? Of course not! But what it does mean is that being able to submit someone of equal or higher rank in a competition should not be the foremost goal in our training.
Carlson Gracie said it best when he said "Punch a black belt in the face and he becomes a brown belt, punch him again and he becomes a purple belt." Real self defense and survival is not pretty, it's not choreographed. No one cares how clean your technique is. It's dirty, sweaty, disgusting and hopefully over very quickly. The problem with only training for sport is you are training for an idealized scenario of one-on-one empty handed fighting within a confined rule set against people with similar experience. The guy shoving a gun in your face or holding a knife to your throat doesn't care how many championships you've won, and unless you also train to address the psychological aspects of your life flashing before your eyes, you are not prepared.
In reality, no one's prepared. We can all be out-matched or out classed. We can all be blind sided, sucker punch or merely overwhelmed. No matter what system you study or what rank you claim, we are all human. But that's not an excuse to not train as if this could be your reality at any moment. The best thing we can do is train, and train hard to try and prepare for every scenario. If you're going to train for competition, I wish you the best of luck on your journey. I look forward to seeing you on television wearing your hard earned championship belt. Just please make some time and train for the street as well.
But now, if self defense and sport jiu jitsu are merely two sides of the same triangle, where's the third? In order to get the full picture, every BJJ student should train in traditional judo, and the reverse is true as well. Judo and Brasileiro Jiu Jitsu are two arts separated only by competition rules, and to train in only one is a hindrance not only to your competitive ability, your "game," but also your ability to defend yourself. As a judoka, you need to know what to do if you end up on your back. As a BJJ student, wouldn't you rather slam your attacker on their head and end the fight before having to play chess for the submission?
Personally, I don't want to go to the ground. My knees and hips hurt, I'm fluffy and it might take me a minute to get up. On a serious note though, the ground is a less-than-ideal place to defend your life from. There could be broken glass, cutting into you every time you maneuver. Your attacker could have a friend or two wanting to stomp your head in for gaining the advantage on their friend. There are too many variables in self defense, so allow me to leave you with another great quote from Carlson Gracie. "Your belt only covers two inches of your a$$. It's up to you to cover the rest."
If you're curious as to why I refer to BJJ as Brasileiro Jiu Jitsu, click here.