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BJJ: Start thinking about competition again

With Australia slowly going back to normal, now is a fantastic time to think about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition. 

Along with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) academies around the world, Gracie Miranda re-opened in July in accordance with the NSW government’s decision to open up community sports. With Sydney’s new daily coronavirus cases mostly staying in single digits, we expect the return of BJJ competitions some time in 2021. 

That means now is the perfect time to start thinking about competing. Whether you’re new to Jiu-Jitsu, train at Gracie Miranda or another academy, there are many great reasons for you to try your hand at competing once you get the opportunity to do so.

bjj competition

Step into the arena

One of the biggest benefits you’ll get from martial arts competition comes from the weeks that precede competition. 

Tournaments are intimidating, and knowing you’ll be competing will force you to analyse your strengths and weaknesses. Your rolls will become more insightful. When you’re prepping for a tournament, you’re more likely to notice flaws in your guard retention and passing skills, and correct mistakes that stop you from securing a submission.

In other words, preparing for competition makes you pay attention to little details. And as anyone who’s done Jiu-Jitsu for any length of time can tell you, the little details make huge differences. 

This is helpful at all times, but especially so now. The coronavirus shutdown caused all of us to lose months of training. Getting back on the mats has been wonderful, but the “new normal” that we’re living through still takes up a lot of mental and emotional space.

Getting into a competitive mindframe will give some the incentive they need to truly refocus their attention on Jiu-Jitsu. 

Sport and Self-Defence

In many martial art circles, self-defence training and competition training are seen as two completely separate beasts. 

There’s certainly some truth to this. There are many guards, sweeps and techniques in “Sports Jiu-Jitsu” that are designed to work against a trained opponent but which may not work too well in a fight. You may struggle to Berimbolo someone in a crowded pub, for instance.

But the truth is that competing in Jiu-Jitsu tournaments will be a substantial boost to your self-defence skills. That’s because competition in many ways replicates how you’ll feel in a real-life altercation.

Anyone who’s competed before will tell you that there’s a big difference between nailing a technique in a friendly spar versus nailing that same technique during a tournament. This is particularly true of the first few times you compete. Your hormones will be going crazy: You’ll feel stressed, exhilarated, nervous and excited all at the same time.

Spending time in this state is highly valuable, because it’s how you’re likely to feel in a real-life self-defence situation. If you’re assailed on the street, you won’t have all your wits about you, and you won’t be in as much control of your motor functions as you would when you’re completely calm.

A key skill in Jiu-Jitsu is becoming comfortable in uncomfortable situations. If nothing else, competing in BJJ is valuable for this precise reason.

Try it once

Although competition yields many benefits, it’s not for everyone. At Gracie Miranda, we don’t make our students compete — but we encourage our students to compete at least once.

Some people don’t enjoy competing. Many people practice martial arts as a hobby to exercise and have fun, and see the stress of competition as not being worth it. That’s a fine perspective to have. Everyone is on their own journey and everyone gets something different out of their martial arts training.

That said, we’ve had a lot of students who thought they would hate tournaments but who end up becoming addicted to the thrill of competition. And even if you don’t end up loving it, every BJJ practitioner should have the experience of competing at least once. You’ll be richer for it.

If you’re in the Sutherland Shire and are thinking about taking up martial arts, come into Gracie Miranda for a free trial class