Competing at BJJ tournaments is a big part of Jiu Jitsu life. Some might even say that it is the most fun aspect of BJJ. But when are you ready to start, and what should your expectations be? There are reasons why you may want to hold off from competition. There are also different things that drive different people to go and register for tournaments. Everyone will approach BJJ tournaments differently, but what counts is having realistic expectations above all.
Competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Competing at BJJ tournaments is fun, but it will never be easy. That, however, is part of the fun. 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’ll inevitably have to make. Jiu Jitsu isn’t something that you just ‘’do’’, at least if you want to compete.
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 conditioning, and tactical training do take a lot of time.
Learning how to fail is another benefit of competing and crucial lessons of Jiu Jitsu. It just so happens that you can’t learn this lesson anywhere as well as you can at BJ tournaments. Forget about all that “you either win or you learn” mumbo-jumbo. You’ll win or you’ll lose and in both cases, you will learn a valuable lesson. Competing will just engrain that lesson into you better than any training.
What You Should Be After At BJJ Tournaments
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. BJJ will give you the motivation for training while also having fun. Jiu-jitsu combines movement, mobility, strength, and cardio in every training session.
While training, and especially rolling, are fun ways of learning, at some point in time, you’ll need to test out what you’ve learned. That is where BJJ tournaments enter the frame. Think of them as tests in school. What is the goal of taking a test? It is not just to see how much you’ve learned, but also to help you expand your knowledge both by preparing for the test, and in the aftermath.
BJJ tournaments work the same way. You will either win or lose in at least one match. If you’re not prepared to lose, then that is going to be the most important, and the most likely first lesson you’ll learn from competing. mastering that will bring you to the reason you go out to BJJ tournaments – to learn more about what you think you know, instead of just looking to win at every cost.
That said, winning is still preferable to losing.
Pressure Creates Diamonds
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 highly stressful situation, everything else seems normal, slow, and irrelevant.
You are probably going to be excited once you learn how to armbar someone. Your instinct should be to test your skills 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.
The adrenaline rush alone will make you addicted to performing in BJJ tournaments win or lose. If you bring the right mindset along, you’ll enjoy every second of them.
A hidden lesson (somewhat) of BJJ tournaments is dealing with pressure. You’ll become so calm and composed in the tightest of spots, that nothing is going to scare you anymore. That refers to sparring, competing, and dealing with day to day stuff outside of the mats. It is suffering under pressure that creates top-level grapplers, and not safety rolls and boring advantage victories in matches.
In both competing or training for pleasure, you will be able to learn important lessons that will make you a stronger version of yourself. And that is what BJJ is all about. 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.
Every BJJ tournament you go to should be about understanding BJJ first, getting comfortable under pressure second, having fun second, and perhaps sneaking in a gold medal or two, just for good measure. 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.