4 Reasons That Every Jiu-Jitsu Student Should Compete

This week on the GB Compnet blog, we will talk about the top 4 reasons that all Jiu-Jitsu students should compete at least once.
Many instructors at Gracie Barra are very passionate about competition and put a lot of effort and enthusiasm into building their GB Competition Team.
Not every Gracie Barra jiu-jitsu student has the goal of being an IBJJF World Champion, but there several solid reasons why students should consider entering an open tournament outside of their GB school.
1- To push yourself out of your comfort zone. You train with your favorite training partners at every class and are familiar and comfortable with each other’s games. It’s a great workout, but it’s an entirely different experience to test your skills in an adrenaline-filled situation under the bright lights and in front of a crowd!
For many students, this is going to require them to leave their comfort zone and open themselves to new experiences.
Prof. Flavio Almeida – himself a World Champion and more recently Masters competitor – talks about a competition being the impetus for leaving our comfort zones.
“First and foremost it has been my experience as a teacher for 20 years now, is that competition is an essential part of jiu-jitsu. Every jiu-jitsu practitioner – no matter the age, no matter the level – should engage in some sort of competition. In my definition of competition is to step outside of their comfort zone.”
2- To stretch your technical abilities to a whole new higher level. Getting ready for the competition will force you to sharpen your existing skills and even add a new technique or position to your game. The samurai would call this “sharpening your sword”. The more intense training to prepare for a tournament will force you to develop your technique to be at your absolute sharpest for your matches.
“Really, the number one reason, the priority, actually the purpose behind the competition is exactly to stretch our abilities to a new level. To continuously grow as a martial artist,” says Prof. Flavio.
3- “Learn more from 1 tournament than from 3 months of regular training”. Many instructors and competitors are adamant that the lessons learned from competing in one tournament are equivalent to several months of regular training. They feel that the competition experience more deeply drives these lessons more deeply into our minds. A mistake leading to a loss will echo in the mind for a long time afterward and a successful technique that won a match will be forever cemented in our games.
Why is it that the tournament setting is so conducive to learning? Prof. Flavio feels that in the heat of competition that we experience “a different level of consciousness. And we are very open to learning everything. Everything that there is to be learned.
Technically speaking – you just see things that you just wouldn’t see in any other conditions. It’s almost like your brain is on steroids for those few minutes of that fight.”
4- To work within your GB team and push each other together. As a member of the GB Competition team you will support your GB Teammates and in turn, be supported by your teammates in preparing for the event. You will be responsible to show up to every training session to sharpen each other and improve as a team.
Prof. Flavio echoes the idea of connecting as a team: “You are going to develop a level of emotional bond with your coaches and training partners, your brothers and sisters in arms that you never would have developed otherwise. That’s really what happens out there.”
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Writer: Mark Mullen, Gracie Barra Black Belt