Competing in any athletic endeavor is challenging, especially when it’s a one on one sport like jiu jitsu. Not only will you be facing someone who’s hungry to win, you’ll likely be doing so in front of teammates, friends, and family. Although this may seem like a daunting task, there are plenty of benefits that you’ll receive through competition that are difficult to obtain through training alone. Below are five reasons why you should compete at least once in BJJ.
You’ll Train Harder to Prepare
When you first sign up for a competition, you’ll likely start to feel anxious almost instantaneously. You may start thinking about potential opponents or outcomes and this will cause you to want to train harder. While there are many people who train consistently without having a competition coming up, the intensity is often a differentiating factor. When training for competition you’ll have to understand the rules and you’ll likely put yourself in specific scenarios that are relevant to the ruleset you’re competing in. These periods of time prior to the competition are invaluable to your jiu-jitsu journey and will often lead to the most progress.
Learn to Perform Under Stress
Jiu Jitsu is a martial art that constantly puts you in bad positions. Whether you’re a brand new white belt or a seasoned black belt, there will be times when you get mounted or get your back taken. One of the most valuable parts of the art is that it constantly challenges you to work out of bad spots. Tournaments will make this even more apparent. You’ll likely feel pressure to perform at your best, especially with more people watching you than you used to at the academy. Learning to deal with and eventually thrive under this pressure is not only important for jiu-jitsu but is also a valuable life skill.
Compete Against Different Styles
Even if you train with a large number of training partners, it’s impossible to encounter every type of style in the training room. There are an endless amount of techniques and body types and competing will give you more exposure to different styles. Sometimes in jiu-jitsu tournaments you’ll encounter competitors who have a background in a different art like wrestling, judo, or MMA. Regardless of the style your opponents bring to the tournament, they’re likely ones you haven’t encountered before. This exposure will help you adapt your game and give you new things to work on in the academy.
Build Camaraderie With Your Team
One of the best ways to build camaraderie with your team is to compete alongside them. From traveling together, to coaching each other, and just being there for support, your bonds with your coaches and teammates are sure to grow through competition. We often think we know our teammates pretty well because of how much time we spend with them at the academy. However, when we compete together we get to see a different side of our teammates that ultimately makes us better friends and training partners.
Find and Correct Weak Areas of Your Game
There’s nothing like competition to expose weaknesses in your game. Often times in the academy we get to know our teammates games and come up with ways to counter them. While this is good and can lead to strengthening your main attacks, it can also leave you unprepared for other styles. For example, your gym may be known for having high level guard players who are great at sweeping, but in a tournament you may face a submission specialist who will challenge your triangle defense. If you don’t train with someone who has a great triangle, it’s unlikely that you’ll have great defense for the move. As you compete more you’ll have a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses and it’ll be easier to make your game more complete.
Competition is not for everyone, however, there are undeniable benefits that you can reap from the process. If you’re serious about improving your jiu-jitsu, it will serve you well to compete at least once in BJJ.
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