Why play is good!
Playing is how we learn. it is our genetically hardwired learning methodology.
As jean Jacques Machado has said "Jiu Jitsu is 10% fighting and 90% play."
When we play on the mat, we tend to experiment, try new things, test and measure. I guess that's ultimately what play consists of 'testing and measuring'. All good businesses systems rave about 'testing and measuring' - trying something new, measuring the result to determine whether we should do more or less of the same thing.
I have seen my share of overly competitive mats. In fact, I have seen my share of overly competitive training environments of all kinds. The downside of this type of environment is that the level of competition steers students toward the 'stick with what you know already works' model. So growth is slow, injuries are high, and fun is absent!
So hit the mat - and grab a partner that is as much about play, fun and experimentation as he is about winning. Get that balance. Your gains will be faster and more pronounced - I guarantee it.
Train hard - Play well!