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BJJ: Why competing is good for your martial arts game

At Gracie Miranda we understand that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition isn’t for everyone. People train at our Sutherland Shire academy for all sorts of reasons, and gold medals may not necessarily be at the top of everyone’s priorities. 

But even if competition isn’t for everyone, we think everyone should compete at least once.

There are over a dozen BJJ tournaments and competitions held in Sydney each year. Some, like the Sydney Cup, are even held here in the Sutherland Shire. Some practitioners at Gracie Miranda compete all-year round, but you don’t need to make it a regular habit to reap benefits from it. 

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The crux of the point is that participating in BJJ competition is positive not just for your game, but for your personal development too. Here are 6 reasons why. 

It’s stressful, but good stressful: Taking part in BJJ tournaments is super stressful for most people, especially when it comes to the first time. You’ll have adrenaline flowing through you, and may find rolling in front of a crowd discombobulating. 

But all of that is good. Jiu-Jitsu is all about learning to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. It’s important for you to be in high-pressure situations, to experience failure and success in that situation, and realize that no matter the result, everything ends up OK.

It forces you to appraise your game: You’ll glean a lot of benefit from BJJ competition before you even step on the mats. When you inform your coach of your intent to compete, he or she will encourage you to look at your skillset. What are you good at? More importantly, what do you suck at? 

“Competition prep” means acknowledging areas of improvement and then working on those areas. You’ll turn weaknesses into strengths in the process. That’s a massive positive, regardless of your tournament outcome.

It’s good for team building: Jiu-Jitsu is good for lots of things, including self-defence, fitness and fun. But one of its more underrated elements is social. Over years of training, you get to really know your academy mates on the mats. 

While you may compete alone, tournament days are team affairs. You’ll meet up with your teammates, and your coach will be there to help you through the day. You’ll often end up eating with teammates afterwards as everyone reflects on their day. 

Friendship bonds are formed during stressful times – and as noted, competitions days are stressful. 

BJJ competitions help your self-defence: There’s a rift in Jiu-Jitsu between people who believe in “self-defence BJJ” on one side and “sport BJJ” on the other. In truth, competing in “sports BJJ” can also greatly benefit your self defence. 

I mentioned earlier that you’ll be full of adrenaline as you compete, and that the tournament environment can throw you off. In many ways, that makes it perfect practice for a self-defence scenario. If you ever find yourself in a street altercation, you’ll almost definitely experience a disorienting surge in adrenaline. Being able to acclimatize yourself to that feeling in martial arts tournaments is a great asset. 

It’s helpful for life: Life is full of stressful scenarios that risk overwhelming you. That can mean presenting in front of your company, or interviewing for a job. Just like BJJ tournaments are helpful in preparing you for self-defence scenarios, the stress you feel on the day also helps prepare you for all sorts of non-physical life scenarios. 

If you can calm yourself down and apply BJJ techniques under pressure, it’ll make you more confident that you can speak clearly while stressed, or perform any number of skills in high-pressure scenarios. 

Interested in martial arts tournaments? Come into Gracie Miranda in the Sutherland Shire for a free trial class