Competing in your first BJJ tournament is both fun and extremely nerve racking. While it's no surprise training hard is needed for your success, there are other things that you probably haven't thought about that go a long way in preparing you for your first ever competition.
5 Tips for Your First BJJ Competition
1. Arrive Early
Always arrive early; no matter what time your division is scheduled. This trick aids in relieving some (not all) of your anxiety, as arriving late can often make you feel rushed, which is a major contributor to anxiety, unsettling your focus when you need it the most.
Arriving at an already packed venue can create feelings of unease, as if you’re a stranger in a strange land - a land where you don’t belong.
Conversely, arriving early, while there a few others there, can make you feel as if you own the place. You belong there and are totally comfortable.
Be early, claim a place for your belongings and make the venue feel like home.
2. Don’t Cut Too Much Weight
I know you’ve seen fighters in the UFC cut extreme amounts of weight in order to gain a size advantage over their opponent, after rehydrating and eating.
However, BJJ is different and unfortunately you won't have the 24-hour gap between weigh ins and competition to refuel. Nope, for most BJJ comps it’s weigh in and get on the mat.
Cutting too much weight can leave you feeling depleted, slow to think and slow to act, so it’s important you choose a weight division where you feel comfortable, strong and sharp.
If you do decide to cut weight, do it early and do it gradually so your body will have time to adjust and your performance won’t be negatively affected.
3. Bring Food
It’s a sad fact, but Jiu Jitsu competitions can often run behind schedule and you may be left waiting for what feels like forever between divisions.
Make sure you bring food and water with you to stay hydrated and maintain your energy levels.
Stick to foods that are easy to digest, like bananas and yoghurt, as heavier foods can leave you feeling lethargic.
Also, nobody performs well when they’re on the brink of rushing to the toilet; avoid spicy foods or anything that may curdle in your bag.
4. Bring a Spare Gi
Jiu Jitsu competitions can be very strict in regards to uniform specifications and you may be scratched from competing if your gi isn’t compliant.
These stipulations usually include:
- Sleeve and Pant length
- Sleeve and Pant Cuff Sizes
- Faded Colour
- Mixed Colours
- Torn Material
- Unhygienic Uniform
- Non Regulation Patches
For this reason it’s always a good idea to pack an extra gi with you just in case some thing about your first choice isn’t up to scratch.
5. Stick to What You Know
Finally, competition is all about bringing your A-game. The weeks leading up to the comp should focus on sharpening your best assets rather than introducing new techniques.
Know what you want to do and do everything in your power to make it happen. After all this is the only thing in your control, not what your opponent will do, how they attack or how hard they come at you.
All you can control is you, your intentions and your actions – make that your focus.