It sounds like this is a moderately serious aversion you probably endorse, but don’t understand deeply. In this situation I think it’s not correct to try to CoZE it. I would suggest throwing Focusing and/or Goal Factoring at it:
Focusing: try to conjure up the feeling of being annoyed at this guy, and see if you can attach a specific, resonant name to the feeling. Something like “I’ll never catch up to him” or “Being around this guy makes me sadistic and anitisocial” or “This guy is not smart/virtuous enough to deserve to beat me.”
Goal Factoring: not every aversion has to be tackled head on. If this seriously bothers you, there are a hundred ways around it. e.g. a different martial art/training place/sport.
I also wonder how you feel about talking to the guy/whoever’s in charge and telling them about your aversion. If I had to guess, just thinking about this is also aversive—try to factor this aversion as well.
I do endorse it. Now that I have to label it, I realize it isn’t about losing at all—it’s about signalling. Throughout the week, I’m working hard to use my time as efficiently as possible, training with a weight vest, paying extra attention to my form and technique, doing cardio elements as quickly as possible… and then I get flattened each Wednesday.
I Focused. Here’s what’s fascinating: if I mentally simulate “sparring him in private”, I’m excited—it’s a chance to lose, learn, and improve. If I simulate “sparring him in front of my friends”, I get the knot in my stomach. I never realized this before, but an important part of my self-image is doing constructive things for myself for reasons I endorse, and then signalling my progress in a genuine way to people I care about to encourage them that they too can make positive changes. If my friends see me training hard and getting rolled, that makes me feel like I failed them. As far as I can tell, this is separate from any social embarrassment attached to losing.
Sweet! This sounds like a huge step, thanks for sharing!
Let me know if you further resolve this problem. More data points are always appreciated.