3 Reasons You Should Compete

A big part of the Gracie Barra school is the nucleus of competitors who love to test their skills and represent the Red Shield. These athletes inspire and motivate the entire class with their efforts and high degree of skill they develop in reaching their competitive potential.

The majority of a Jiu-Jitsu school’s students do not choose to compete. The statistic is that less than 20% of a bjj school’s membership are active competitors. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There are many reasons why people decide to train Jiu-Jitsu and entering a Jiu-Jitsu tournament is but one. Many students love Jiu-Jitsu for the self defense aspect, the physical fitness, the challenge of learning a new skill and many other valid reasons.

I you were to ask most GB Instructors how they feel about competition, they will answer an enthusiastic “Yes! You should compete!” Many Gracie Barra instructors were serious competitors (or still are actively competing) and understand the benefits of competing in developing your Jiu-Jitsu.

“Competition is fundamental for athletics in general, and this is also very true for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Competition is an important component to the Gracie Barra community.

It drives athletes to strive for goals, reach for new heights, and pursue athletic goals on a different plane from the non-competing JJ students.

Not only does competition offer something different and special to students, but it is also a window through which we can show ourselves to the world, demonstrating Gracie Barra’s commitment to excellence.”

Gracie Barra HQ

If you are undecided and considering if you might want to try a bjj competition, here are 3 reasons you might want to set a goal to compete.

1 – Push to a higher level. There are few things that will light a fire of motivation under you like the commitment to compete in an upcoming tournament! You will get out of your training comfort zone and push yourself to be at your best technically, in terms of physical condition and mental strength.

The prospect of putting it on the line in a tournament will push you to extra competition training sessions. It will make you tighten up your diet to make a certain weight class. It will impel you to correct weak spots in your game. The competition preparation will sharpen your game to an all-time high. You will stretch yourself into a level up.

Drills for Competition


2 – Lessons from the competition. Numerous high level GB competitors have talked about the impact of the lessons learned from their competition matches. Some say that a single tournament is equal to several months in class learning in terms of the powerful lessons learned under the fire of competition.

For example, if a hole in your game was exposed in a tournament match, it will be burned forever in your memory. Did you discover a deficiency in your standup game and burn out your grips by fighting ineffectively? That lesson is unlikely to be forgotten!

If you experience success and your knee cut guard pass works like a dream, your efforts will be reinforced and you gain confidence in your passing game. You know that is a significant part of your game and that technique is forever solidified in your mind.

3 – Functioning under pressure. Most competitors will tell you that the intensity level of a tournament match is something completely different from the friendly rolls that you have in class with your best training partners. The nerves before the competition. All of the eyes on you. The shouting of the coaches and teammates. The adrenaline when the referee says “Combate!” all heighten the intensity of the experience.

Most students are aware of the importance if self defense, yet at the same time are seldom involved in any kind of physical confrontation in the street. They wonder about their Jiu-Jitsu skills: “Could I make this work in a real life situation? Could I remember my technique in a stressful, chaotic situation?”

How will you react when it is just you and your opponent standing across from each other and the adrenaline spikes?

While not identical, the stress and intensity of a Jiu-Jitsu match might be the closest test most Jiu-Jitsu students will get in trying to use their skills in an adrenaline fueled scenario. Many students emerged after a tournament with a new understanding of how their Jiu-Jitsu works under stressful, intense conditions.

In the end, you must decide if competition interests you. If you decide to take on the challenge of competing, you will no doubt emerged having learned a lot about your Jiu-Jitsu.

What has been the biggest benefit to you from Jiu-Jitsu competition?

See also on Gracie Barra : Your Jiu-jitsu Goals

Your Jiu-jitsu Goals


Credits: Mark Mullen

Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia