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Jiu Jitsu: Do you REALLY need to compete?


“Do you really need to compete when you training BJJ”

I started training BJJ to enjoy myself, stay fit, and learn something new. It wasn’t about competition for me. Then I found myself asking the question above.

But I started to question this decision the longer I trained. Was I missing out on something? Were my concerns about injury unjustified?

So I researched the issue a lot before I made a decision and this is what I discovered…

You don’t HAVE to compete. It isn’t compulsory, but (and it is a very big but)!…

There’s nothing better for speeding up your learning and technical focus — especially if you’re a beginner.

I spoke a lot of people about competition for this. They all said the same thing: competing in jiu jitsu is like getting 3 months of training at once.

Now, that does sound a like a mighty claim! But I have found it to be true! Let’s look at it more in depth.

Preparing for competition

You’ve signed up for a competition and you’re going into overdrive to prepare. Think about it: on the run up to the competition, you will focus on your training more. You’re going to as many classes as you can, because you want to be prepared. So more 1) training hours, 2) drilling and 3) focus on your game, because you have a goal.

The competition

Now, win or lose, competing will give you something to work on. You may come across a technique that you’ve never encountered before. You might not be used to starting sparring from standing. These were both situations that happened to me!  Competing helped me focus on these specific aspects of my training that needed improvement.

Post competition

You’ve come home, and you’re tired. Even if you compete once and lose, you’re better off.  Think about what you overcame, just stepping on the mat to face your opponent. You will walk away with some valuable knowledge about yourself and your jiu jitsu.

It’s like being offered a BJJ hack that helps you improve your jiu jitsu super fast. Would you take it? Of course!

Having an aspect of your game to focus on forces you to improve. You can find these areas out through training for many years, or by having it handed to you by your opponent. If you’re like me, taking part in a competition can give you this.

Wrap up

I have a number of friends that don’t compete. Some are focused on self-defense, and others just don’t like the nerves that competing brings up. There are sure to be many other reasons why people don’t compete and these will all be very valid. This discussion isn’t about invalidating these thoughts.

BJJ is all about the learning, the experiences and the journey. So if you’re on the fence about competing, I’d say that there are many benefits to jumping in.

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