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Should I Compete In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
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Should I Compete In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners come from a variety of backgrounds in all aspects; there are people from all walks of life on that mat.

Individuals join for different reasons, some to lose weight, some just for fun, and others are more competitive by nature and need an outlet. Everyone has a different Jiu Jitsu path they want to take, which is okay!

Chances are you will ultimately be asked whether you plan to compete at some point in your Jiu Jitsu career; your answer does not have to be yes, and it also does not always have to stay the same. Entering a grappling event has its perks, which we will go over, but like anything in life there are also drawbacks to consider (believe it or not). 

Competing can provide a lot of different benefits for people of all different grappling levels. Entering a tournament not only gives you something to work towards and focus on, it can help to hold people accountable and generate a stronger work ethic when times get tough. When you are aware that in two months you will be competing in a tournament, you are more likely to be attentive to details during class and begin to single out your areas of weakness to avoid a loss.

This process does not have to be associated with competition, but often is exacerbated due to self inflicted nerves and pressure to win. Addressing these issues and learning how to either compensate for them or working on improving them not only increases our body awareness and grappling preferences, but also tightens up bad habits that might not have been focused on before.

However; since we all have weaknesses there are bound to be competition matches that we lose. Though this might not seem like it at the time, learning to deal with a loss is one of the most beneficial aspects of competition. Allowing yourself to grow on a personal level and accept loss as a product of life can help both on the mat and off, especially for younger grapplers.

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Once we are okay with the fact that nobody wins all the time, competition itself becomes much less stressful. That being said, a big perk to tournament life is having fun with your peers and teammates. Bonding with others that you see at multiple different competitions, locally and otherwise can be a great asset and make you feel more at home in the martial arts community. 

On the other hand, not everyone is able to be involved in the tournament scene. Maybe you simply are not interested in that side of the sport, perhaps you have a medical reason for not participating competitively, or it could be that you know that you are not mentally prepared to deal with the stress and pressure involved in a tournament match.

If you are not looking to take your skills out of your weekly classes and open mats then that is completely fine, your personal goals can still be addressed and there is no doubt that your Jiu Jitsu skills will continue to progress regardless of whether you compete or not. Often times, these people end up being the best training partners because their love for the sport stems from something completely different and ego never gets in the way.

The only real roadblock that is insurmountable when it comes to competition is a medical one; if you are unable to pass medical examination or receive the all clear from your Doctor, then it just might not be something that you should work towards. By no means does that mean you are less capable of good jiu jitsu, it just means you have to practice your skills in a different atmosphere.

This can be temporary, such as someone that has a torn ligament and is instructed to sit out for a specific time period, or it can be permanent. If you are okay to compete physically, but are unsure of your ability to process a loss or the stress mentally then you might want to put competition on hold.

Exposing yourself too early to a tournament can be very overwhelming and result in a major mental setback. Give yourself more time to learn and grow in the sport and see how you feel in the future. 

All in all, competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be incredibly rewarding and beneficial to your mental and physical game. The key aspects to consider are whether you are personally interested in tournaments (not your peers, your coach or your family) and if you are both physically and mentally prepared to enter. Readdress these before each tournament entry and have fun with what you’re doing! 

If I were you, I’d start with “Pin Escapes & Turtle Escapes: BJJ Fundamentals – Go Further Faster” by John Danaher and “Ripped in 12 Weeks Intermittent Fasting & Easy Bodyweight Fitness” by Tom DeBlass.  These two video instructionals will help you build a strong healthy diet, while building functional strength and a foundation of Jiu Jitsu fundamentals from the best in the business.  You’re welcome in advance!

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