5 Tips for Jiu Jitsu Competition

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Competing is a different skill set from jiu-jitsu. Do you know someone who is really good at rolling but not very good at competing? This person usually dominates open mats by developing a high level of training skills, but has not yet developed their competition skills. In fact they may hate competing because they don’t like losing and find competition too stressful. Beginners may have things even worse because they want to compete and do well but they are new to jiu-jitsu and are also new to competing. These 5 tips are for both types of grapplers.

#1    The best competitor wins

It is not the most athletic person, the person who cut the most weight, the person with the best coach, or even the most technical grappler who wins. It is the best competitor who wins. Losing a tournament doesn’t mean you are bad at jiu-jitsu or even a bad person, it just means that you weren’t the best competitor on that day.

#2    Compete more often

There are two ways to win tournaments, either you get lucky or you get good. You can get lucky by getting a good draw in the first match while the competitor you face in the finals fights a really tiring first match. Maybe the competitor who usually wins this bracket didn’t show up today. If you compete more often you will get lucky more often. If you compete more often you will also get more experience and that will lead to winning more often. Compete more, win more.

#3    Develop a game plan

Don’t just wing it. Prepare for the tournament, craft a game plan, jiu-jitsu is not an individual sport so surround yourself with like-minded people and drill your gameplan with them. On tournament day execute your gameplan.

#4    Cultivate a stoic demeanor

Competition is stressful. Tournament day will be stressful. Don’t be scared of it, don’t avoid it, embrace it. Everyone will be stressed, but you will handle your stress better than the other competitors. Ever see someone at a tournament freaking out, practically having an anxiety attack? Don’t be that guy. One tool to help with that is a pre-match routine that includes a hard warm up. The routine allows you to slip into a groove where you don’t worry about the outcome of the match, instead you focus on preparing to compete well. A hard warm up helps with this and at the same time prepares your body. Some people feel that a hard warm up will leave them too tired to compete. However, for a properly prepared competitor a hard warm up is just a drop in the cardio bucket. If a hard warm up is too exhausting, you probably weren’t that prepared to begin with.

#5    Track your results

What happened in your competition? Track your results, track what you learned. Write it down for later. Use that to modify your gameplan for the next competition. For example by tracking my data I learned that my best sweeps are from half guard and my best passes are from over/under. That information changed my gameplan.


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