On competition day, we pack our gis, rash guards, water, and snacks, but we sometimes overlook the music. I have seen many of my peers nervously pace or jog in place in the bullpen minutes before their match without any headphones or earbuds to help pass the time. How can you go from a training room where you warm up, drill and roll to music and then go without it on your big day? Music is played during BJJ training to help energize the room, get the coach and students in the right mind set, and set the tone and pace for the BJJ experience that day. There is a reason why speed metal, rap, and rock music is played to get the blood flowing and the heart pumping instead of some whiny and emo James Taylor and Ed Sheeran music.
Here are 5 quick reasons why you shouldn’t forget the music at your next BJJ tournament.
You are already conditioned to listen to music during BJJ training – Your mind is already conditioned to play music during BJJ, so why would you deprive your mind and body of it on competition day? Do you have certain songs that your coaches constantly play during training the get your mindset ready for BJJ? If so, definitely add those songs to your BJJ competition playlist.
Distract yourself from your surroundings – There is so much going on around you at BJJ competitions including matches, injuries, screaming and yelling. Listening to music will help you tune out a lot of the stimulants at the venue as you get your mind right for competition.
Helps you warm up – Warming up at a BJJ competition is one of the most important yet overlooked parts of competing. Going for a warm up jog and doing a series of calisthenics could be boring and monotonous. Listening to tunes while warming can help give you the drive to push through the first wind so you won’t gas or have an adrenaline dump during your first match.
Deal with your nerves – Pacing around nervously in the stands and bullpen can be nerve wracking. Your heart is racing, you are standing only a few feet away from your opponents and you are cramming through your game plan in your head. For some, it will feel like you have been strapped into a roller coaster and you are now slowly heading up the first hill and there is no way off this ride. Listening to music at this point will help you deal with the nerves and and channel your energy before your first match.
Get you in the zone – When Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” starts playing before Ronda Rousey walks to the cage, you know a beat down is about to go down. When your set of songs play, you know you are ready to go to war. Sounds silly, but pick out a few songs you would like to use as your walk out song if you had a UFC fight. Then play those specific songs on loop 10 minutes before you are scheduled to go in the bullpen and while you are waiting along the mat you are about to compete on. This will help your body and mind know its time.
Here are a few examples of songs that have been standard on my BJJ competition playlist. Please don’t laugh.