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Competing and Points
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Competing and Points

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So you’re thinking about competing?  

Competing in a Jiu jitsu tournament can be a great way to put your skills to the test and gauge your progress in the sport.  It’s easy to get in the routine of training with the same people every day and starting to learn their game. It becomes much more challenging when you decide you are going to compete.

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It’s a new opponent, likely someone you have no experience training with, or rolling with. This person likely has a game different than that of the training partners at your academy. All of these things can lead to increased nervousness prior to the fight.  Wondering what will it be like, and trying to get in the right mindset. Tom Deblass breaks down for us his tips on how to get in the right mindset in his video “Tom DeBlass on the Competitive Mindset”.


“Competing in Jiu jitsu must be a consequence of your love of Jiu jitsu” – Tom DeBlass


Show up and train live as much as possible.  Seven days a week. DeBlass says when he tells competitors they need to be training seven days per week that doesn’t necessarily mean taking classes seven days a week.  It could be that you are studying technique, working on your strength training, or getting in some rounds of live training to better prepare for your fight.

Unlike training for a mixed martial arts fight, in Jiu jitsu we have everything we need at one academy.  There typically isn’t a need to train multiple places to perfect different skill sets. That being said, once your training is on point you need to focus on your weight.  Remember, experienced competitors are cutting weight for this competition, if you don’t take this seriously and keep eating garbage food you will not perform your best.

Eating right ties into more than just weight.  While cutting weight for a competition is extremely common these days, eating healthy is going to impact many other aspects of your Jiu jitsu.  For example, If you decide to load up on some Little Debbie’s at lunch time, you’re not going to be able to drill and train live as hard that night at Jiu jitsu class.  You’re likely going to be lethargic, weaker than normal and not as mentally focused as you would be if you ate healthy, or even fasted. In my opinion eating healthy can be and should be another consequence of your love for Jiu jitsu.  Look at it like this; all your life you dream of owning this Ferrari, and one day you’re finally able to get that dream car. When you pull up to the gas station, are you putting the lowest grade octane gasoline in it? No way, right? Look at your body the same way, it can be a fine tuned machine that dominates on the mats, but you have to fuel it properly.  

When you commit to the competition make sure it’s something you want to do.  Something you really and truly WANT to do. This is going to take dedication. It’s going to take tons of hard work, sacrifice and dedicated, focused training hours to properly prepare for what lies ahead.  If this is where your heart is, this process will be a blast, if not, it will be miserable every step of the way.

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Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.  At the end of the day you are putting yourself out there in the spotlight competing against another practitioner doing the same thing.  In most cases it’s going to come down to who prepared more effectively. Who skipped class, and who did not? Who went the extra round in live training, and who made an excuse to leave early?  Who studied technique as if they were studying for a college exam? Ultimately, who wanted it more?

Depending on the type of competition you are looking at it may be submission only or it may be points based.  There could be a combination of the two as well, but for now we will just focus on the two primary types of matches.  It’s important to understand the points structure of a typical Jiu jitsu match if that is what you are signing up for.  How can you expect to be prepared, or have a strategy if you don’t know what awards you points, and how many. According to the IBJJIF rules the points breakdown is as follows:

Mount – 4 points

Back mount – 4 points

Passing the guard – 3 points

Takedowns – 2 points

Sweeps – 2 points

Knee on belly – 2 points

It’s important for you to check the rules and weight classes of the competition you plan to do long before the competition and start preparing your strategy.  Do you need to drop weight? If so, how much and when do you need to start cutting? What is your plan of attack after you slap hands? Do you have a plan B in case something is different than expected?  

From what I have seen from the top competitors in our academy, they always seem to have a plan of attack. They not only have a plan, as well as a backup plan, but they focus most of their time and energy on drilling this plan, executing this plan, and ingraining this plan into their brains as muscle memory so that when they step out on the mat they are over prepared and it’s just another day, nothing special, making it much easier to dominate their opponent.

Remember, once again, competing must be a result of your love of Jiu jitsu.  Decide if this is really what you want to do, and if so, promise yourself you will give it your all and prepare accordingly.  If you do that, the outcome of the match doesn’t matter, you gave it everything you had in training leading up to the match, and left everything on the mats after the match.  That’s certainly something to be very proud of.

Half Domination from Tom DeBlass has been one of the most successful DVDs we've ever offered.  With the addition of the Half Butterfly Guard to your arsenal, you are going to do far more than dominate your opponents and training partners from the half guard position.  Get your copy of Half Butterfly Guard today at BJJ Fanatics!

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