Competition Advice with Prof Gerson Alef

“My advice is to take the competition habits for life and make it a lifestyle. “
Meet new GB black belt and active competitor Prof Gerson Alef of GB Morgan Hill
Prof Gerson shares his philosophy of competition and a few tips for GB competitors. The mindset of a competitor might be the most important factor in their success in tournament matches and Prof Gerson talks about how he prepares for high-level competition.
Have you checked out the NEW GB Online Website?
GB: First of all can you tell the Gracie Barra readers how you got started in Jiu-jitsu. Where is your home Gracie Barra school?
Prof Gerson: I started training jiu-jitsu through a co-worker who also trained and always invited me to take a class. In my trial class, I had a chance to do some light sparring and I could see how amazing it was so I said to myself, I need to learn this! I started training at Gracie Barra São Luís, Maranhao, Brazil.
GB: You are an active competitor. What are your weight class and competition accolades/accomplishments?
Prof Gerson: Actually I compete as lightweight, sometimes middleweight too. I won some tournaments in the last few years like:
F2W champion
IBJJF Austin Open Champion
IBJJF Boise Open Champion
Naga Champion
Jiu-Jitsu World League Champion
South American CBJJE Silver
Pan American CBJJE Silver
GB: Many GB students ask about how to best prepare for an upcoming competition. What are the most important changes to make when you are getting ready to compete next month?
Prof Gerson: I would say the mentality is number one, then training really hard and giving 100% on the mats. I believe it helps to increase the confidence and it makes the whole difference in the tournament. During training, I like counting the points because it gives me feedback right away, and I like to drill all my favorite techniques. Sometimes I need to change my nutrition depending on how my weight goes.
GB: What are the most common mistakes that inexperienced competitors make? How can they avoid or correct these mistakes?
Prof Gerson: Not understanding the rules and the scoring system are the most common mistakes I believe.
Some of the most important points to avoid mistakes:
– Make sure you are signing up in the right weight division, check your weight then choose the division.
– Study the rules and the scoring system, it will make you train and compete better and smarter.
– Look for a Professor/Coach who has experience with competitions, they know exactly what you are going to face so they will learn how to prepare you.
– Listen to your Professor/Coach
GB: What advice would you most like to share with GB Red Shield competitors?
Prof Gerson: My advice is to take the competition habits for life and make it a lifestyle. Competitors eat well, sleep well, take care of the body, take care of the mind and always want to be the first. I strongly believe that everyone should adopt this mindset because it also makes you a better human being.
GB: Lastly, would you like to shout out to any coaches, training partners, or sponsors?
Prof Gerson: I would like to say that I am very grateful to Professor Ivaldo Alves (GB São Luís, MA), he always motivated me to compete and he was fundamental for me to get where I am today.
Thank you!
See also on GB Blog: GB Inspiration: Prof. Flavio Almeida on overcoming struggles
Writer: Mark Mullen, Gracie Barra Black Belt