The Lessons From Tournaments

For days after a BJJ tournament, many competitors reflect about their matches. They reflect on what did they do well and what didn’t go so well.

It is important to not focus too much on what you did wrong and be overly self-critical. There were no doubt pluses and minuses, and both deserve some attention.

To first time competitors, many were surprised at the effects of nerves waiting for their matches and the increased intensity of a tournament match.

Some competitors say they would learn more from a single tournament than they would from several months of training. There is no doubt a technique that succeeded spectacularly or failed miserably feels amplified on the competition mat. The lesson can be forever burned into your memory when you win by highlight submission or lose because a technique goes horribly wrong. It is a good time to learn some lessons from your matches.

Some of the most common revelations that you hear after a tournament are:

“I need to do more standup.”

If you have been starting all of your rolls from the knees, it can be very frustrating and exhausting to get into a stand-up grappling war with your opponent. Best to do some stand-up regularly instead of waiting until a week before the tournament.

“My grips were fried after three minutes!”

This is mostly due to using too much strength in gripping when it is not necessary. Even Popeye would have forearms burning from lactic acid after a few minutes of gripping at 100%. Sure, you can do some grip training to strengthen your muscles, but the fatigue really comes from attempting to hold a death grip for the entire duration of a match.

“That technique I have been working on really worked!”

That sweep or submission setup that you so assiduously drilled in the weeks leading up to the tournament actually worked in the tournament! This should provide a huge injection of confidence in that technique in the future. Bolstered by that tournament success, you are now motivated to delve even deeper into the details of that submission or sweep and really make it part of your A game.

“I was really nervous before my 1st match, but once I got in there I was fine.”

It is remarkable how many new competitors admit in a whisper that they are really nervous before their first competition, as though pre-competition jitters are not experienced by anyone else but them.

The truth is that even World Champions experience the nervous stomach and adrenaline squirt before a big event. It is completely normal and fortunately it tends to diminish as competitors gain more experience.

What is the biggest lesson you learned from a BJJ tournament?

Read also on Jiu-jitsu Times: Do You Have A Game Plan?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here