Edinburgh's Patrick Dawson, the only Scot in action on the opening day of the men's European Open at Glasgow's Emirates Arena, learned that harsh lesson as he missed out on a medal in the under-73kg.
Almost 100 judoka from 24 nations are taking part in the event, a forerunner to the European Championships in the city in 2015.
Dawson, who only started in the sport in his late teens, wanted to make his mark in the city where he hopes to line up for Team Scotland at next year's Commonwealth Games. The 25-year-old made a promising start, winning his opening fight by ippon against Spain's Diego Sanchez Mondaca with 19 seconds left.
That set up a match with Italian policeman Marco Maddaloni, the former European Under-23 champion, to see who would advance to the semi-finals.
Maddaloni beat Dawson's Great Britain team-mate Danny Williams in his opening fight and claimed his second British scalp of the day by beating the Edinburgh judoka by ippon with 39 second remaining. The Italian went on to take gold.
Dawson had to settle for seventh place overall after losing in the repechage to Israel's Tomer Zakheim by ippon.
He suffered an injury to his left eye early in the contest but refused to use it as an excuse.
"It's annoying because I've beaten him twice in the past," Dawson said. "I did not have long to recover between fights but that's what happens when you lose. It wasn't my fitness that let me down today, it was my judo.
"It makes a difference fighting in front of a home crowd and you can sense the momentum building towards the Commonwealth Games next year."
Team-mate Jan Gosiewski just missed out on a bronze medal when he lost to Russian Egor Rybin at the same weight.
Colin Oates, seventh at London 2012, won Britain's first gold of the championship in the under-66kg event. Another who has moved to Scotland, he beat Belgium's Kenneth Van Gansebeke by ippon to reach the final. He then beat Belgium's Jesper Lefevre by ippon.
Several Scots are in action today including Euan Burton, the world and European bronze medallist, who will compete in the under-100kg event, after winning the European Cup title in Serbia.