Rushing to compete prematurely may not be the best option. There are reasons why you may want to hold off from competition. competition when you begin your BJJ journey might not be the best choice. You are probably going to be excited once you learn how to armbar someone. Your instinct will be to test your new skill in a competitive setting. Sparring is great for that reason, but competing is more realistic. What makes it realistic are the emotions that go into a competition. I am going to talk about the benefits of both and to tell you that whether you decide to compete or not, you should never stop learning the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Competing in BJJ

Competing is a byproduct of Traditional Jiu-jitsu. First, you should try to learn about BJJ and develop a passion for it. Only then you can appreciate competing and the sacrifices that you have to make. Jiu-jitsu isn’t something that you just ‘’do’’. It is an art so you have to learn and study it. Understanding the history of Jiu-jitsu will make you a better competitor. A full-time BJJ athlete is seriously dedicated to the sport of BJJ. Everything they do revolves around training, recovery, and diet. This will put a lot of stress on you if you decide to compete. That does not mean you won’t gain knowledge from in the process. You will learn how to prioritize and make sacrifices. Staying on track with your weight, weight cuts and nutrition are not easy tasks. Learning how to fail is another benefit of competing. When you lose are you going to give up or learn from your mistakes? For example, you may get submitted in your first tournament of your first ever Jiu-jitsu match. Are you going to go into a child’s safety pose or come back stronger? Failing is an option, but just don’t cry about it.

Performing Under Pressure

Try competing. It will make you a better performer under pressure. I compare it to chess with a bystander holding a gun to your head and ready to pull the trigger at any moment. All that it takes is for you to make the wrong move. When you go through such a high stressful situation everything else seems normal. Interviewing for a job will be a breeze. Most likely the person interviewing you won’t be attempting any triangle chokes.

Not All About Competing

jiu jitsu warm up

Students of the jiu-jitsu class called Endure warm up at Yokota Air Base, Japan, June 10, 2015. The class began with a variety of aerobic activities before practicing combat techniques. (U.S. Air Force photos by Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Baker/Released)

For those of you that have goals to lose weight, learn self-defense, or belong to a community of great people that share the same passion. Jiu-jitsu will help you get there. Losing weight on your own may be challenging for you. Most of the time people lack motivation or feel that going to the regular gym is boring. Classes that most gyms offer are not challenging or the structure of the class may not work for you. BJJ will give you the motivation for training while having fun. Jiu-jitsu combines movement, mobility, strength, and cardio in every training session. The other great thing is that you won’t be alone. A person next to you will be working just as hard. Good schools create a friendly environment and a sense of community. When you walk into a BJJ academy you can find people from various backgrounds. Once you set foot on the mat everyone becomes equal. On top of everything else, you will also learn cool submissions and self-defense skills.

I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but it feels good when you know if the person at your office borrows your stapler and does not return it you have the ability to take them down and armbar them. Having self-defense skills will improve your confidence. Of course, you should not take advantage of the fact that you know Jiu-jitsu. That is why you go to class so you can take out all the anger on your sparring partners. Professionals that have a 9-5 career deal with a lot of stress. BJJ is like an active meditation. The drills and live sparring require great concentration. When you are in the middle of either one your brain will be preoccupied with BJJ so you tend to forget about your problems otherwise you can be submitted or choked. The instinct for survival is that strong!

Brazilian JIu-Jitsu will also make you strong. Not the kind of strength that allows you to lift more weight on the bench press. It is a different more functional strength. I use the word functional as in a way that the strength you acquire through Jiu-jitsu will be applicable to real life. In Jiu-jitsu you have to be strong in different planes of motion just as in life. Regular gym exercises limit planes of motion. Being strong in different planes makes regular daily tasks much easier. It also allows you to extend the longevity of your body. After all your body is the vehicle that you use every day.


Competing is a byproduct of practicing the art of Jiu-jitsu. If your priorities are set on competing before you even learn the art aspect of Jiu-jitsu you may not appreciate it as much. That will prevent you from reaching your true potential. Belts are not earned only for being great on the mats. If you loved BJJ from the beginning you will keep practicing it even after your competition days are over. In both competing or training for pleasure, you will be able to learn important lessons that will make you a stronger version of yourself. Everyone will have a different goal, but BJJ has a way of bringing people together that even though are different, possess the same desire for improvement. Try to not stress out about competing. Enjoy the process and remember that at the end of the day if you got 1% better it is a victory. Through Jiu-jitsu you can achieve your goals.