Friendly Competition Guidelines
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is something you enjoy if you are reading this, and likely where you find a lot of people you become friends with over your training time. If you are going to be competitive in the sport, either locally or at elite levels, chances are you are going to end up meeting one of those friends on the mat for a match at one point or another. Depending on your overall goals and what tournament you are in there are a few different approaches and schools of thought on this dilemma. As you have seen in multiple meetings of BJJ Fanatics fighters, competing against a friendly face does not necessarily have to destroy a friendship, nor does it have to change your tournament decision.
The most likely times you will run across this issue of teammate vs teammate are the two ends of the tournament spectrum; small local competitions and elite top level tournaments. Let’s start with the local example; if you are entering a tournament with very little participation, then the opportunity to mix up the brackets might be limited. So you find yourself face to face with a friend or training partner during one of your matches, what do you do?
Some people find it better to fight against a friend in an early seeded match in order to completely avoid competing over a title in finals or semi-finals, others would rather wait until at least the second or third round to potentially allow one person to be eliminated and skirt around the issue entirely. Trying to fanagle with brackets is always an option, you just have to weigh the potential outcomes and choose which one you would rather risk.
Pass The Guard with PRESSURE!
What you ultimately need to come to terms with and learn how to approach is physically going against a training partner in a competition setting. It will seem strange, it might seem even more nerve wracking than going against a total stranger, but if you are looking to test your skills and improve then you should be prepared to face anyone you draw.
First, if you know ahead of time that you will be going up against a familiar face, talk about it beforehand! Discuss your desire to either treat the match as just another in that competition, lay out any ground rules you want to address with each other so there are no hurt feelings or thoughts of betrayal on the day of the tournament. Perhaps you want to treat it just like a roll at the end of class, you both agree to tap early and roll light to evade chance of real injury, or you take the opposite approach and agree to roll hard and treat it just like any other competition roll. Your coach is probably more than happy to address the issue with you both (or all of you, if there are more than two in your division).
Once you have established how you are going to address the match with them, carry that through to the rest of the competition. If you have agreed to be teammates first and competitors second, stick with continuity and be their friend! Sit together if that’s what you would normally do, acknowledge them and be friendly. On the other hand, if you have settled on treating each other as opponents and you tend to seclude yourself from competition before meeting on the mat, then follow that rule with them as well.
Lastly, prepare yourself for any outcome. One of the biggest upsides to going against someone you know, is that you know their regular moves and their weak spots; one of the biggest downsides is that they know the same things about you. You should not assume that they have been going full throttle during class rolls or even open mat if you have grappled with them before, since those were theoretically controlled environments. Underestimating can be detrimental in a competitive atmosphere, whether that be your opponent or yourself.
Competing against a friend can be great insight to how you wish you proceed with the sport of Jiu Jitsu in general, as well as how you have dealt with your opponents in the past. If you are averse to be competitive with teammate and don’t mind sacrificing a match in order to avoid conflict, then you might have answered your own question on whether you want to be competitive in the sport at all; the same goes for the opposite case in which you might surprise yourself with your desire to compete no matter who you are going against. Being confronted with someone you know and are on good terms with will also shine light on if you have conducted yourself with good sportsmanship previously with those you grapple with. Take these opportunities to grow and adjust your Jiu Jitsu path as needed.
Pressure Passing is for EVERYONE! Take the guesswork out of passing and start to completely CONTROL your opponent. BATTLE TESTED PRESSURE PASSING By Bernardo Faria is a masterclass on Pressure! Shut-down your opponent’s guard and leave them feeling HELPLESS!