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Tips for anyone entering their first BJJ competition

Learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in a gym and using it in a competition are two very different things.

But to take your game to the next level, a time will come when you’ll need to compete against other people and not just your mates in your club.

When that time comes, usually for white belts, it can be nerve-wrecking, so we’ve put together these tips to help with your first BJJ competition.

Kids BJJ competition

Preparation is important

First of all, it’s ok to be nervous before your first BJJ competition – or your 100th for that matter.

If you’re not nervous, there’s something wrong.

Just arriving at the venue will get your adrenaline going, so don’t panic. Make sure you bring everything you need for the day, including plenty of water, snacks, and ID.

There’s a lot of sitting about at tournaments, so bring something to keep you entertained and relaxed, like music (and a charger for your phone).

Preparation for a competition goes back weeks, if not months.

Once you sign up for the tournament, set up a plan for training times along with a healthy diet. Try to cut out processed foods and focus on whole foods, reduce processed sugars, and consume healthy fats and proteins.

A good night’s sleep is essential in general, but especially more so coming up to a fight, although as the time gets closer, you may have trouble nodding off at night.

Train like a beast leading up to the comp, but the week before don’t push yourself 100%, you don’t want your body to be exhausted for the big day. Your muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments will appreciate the break and will be fresh for the contest, as well as your reflexes.

Listen to your coaches and training partners

Before signing up for a competition you should always talk to your coach, assuming they weren’t the ones who signed you up in the first place!

You may have doubts about your skills or level, but if they think you’re ready, then you’re ready.

Work with them on a training schedule and ask people what their experiences are of their first competition and if they have any advice.

Many other white and blue belts may have had their first tournaments recently, so you’re not alone.

Find training partners in your weight class and practice the fundamentals until they are second nature. Train with them to recognise and work on your weaknesses to give yourself the best chance of success.

Know the rules

Different BJJ competitions have different rules, and with so many branches of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there are plenty of variations between tournaments, so make sure you know what the rules are.

The length of your Gi, the material used, the size of the patches and where they go… all these things can differ between competitions, so make sure you’re not caught out when you turn up on the day. In fact, if possible, bring two Gis, always handy in case one rips during a match.

Knowing the rules will help you avoid disqualification if you pull an illegal move, but also conversely help you win if you know what’s allowed and what’s not.

The result isn’t important – win or lose

Your first BJJ competition is a cause of celebration, regardless of the result.

Brazilian Jiu jitsu is a journey that lasts years, so winning or losing a match on any particular day isn’t important.

What is important though is how you react to the result.

Always treat your opponent with respect, whether you tired them in knots or vice versa.

Never make excuses for a loss – “I was carrying an injury, the ref was biased…”. Always say you lost fair and square and move onto your next lesson.

If you win, you’ll be over the moon, but don’t forget to acknowledge your opponent’s skill and courage.

Be magnanimous in victory and gracious in defeat.

In other words, win or lose, don’t be a dick. (As seen here)

Set yourself a challenge of competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Taking part in a BJJ competition isn’t as bad as some might think.

You’re not going to be fighting in a no-holds barred death match with someone who’s been doing this for years!

BJJ competitions are for people to test what they’ve learned in the gym against others who are at a similar level. The aim isn’t to win – the aim is to improve.

And the only way to improve in anything is to challenge yourself.

If you would like to set yourself a challenge of competing in your first BJJ competition, then come and talk to us at Gracie-Barra Belfast.

Our friendly, relaxed gym is the perfect place for beginners to learn the fundamentals and get ready for a tournament.

Contact us today to start your free 14-day trial and let’s see if you’re up to the challenge!