In this article we will cover what it takes to be truly ready for Jiu Jitsu competition, how long you should wait before competing in BJJ, belt requirements and timelines and more.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, often referred to as simply BJJ, is a martial art that focuses on grappling and ground fighting. Like any martial art it is a challenging and rewarding sport that requires dedication, discipline, and plenty of hard work. One question that many new practitioners have is how long they should train before competing in BJJ.
The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the individual's goals, experience, and dedication. For instance, someone starting at white belt that is looking at competing in BJJ at 40 is likely going to have a very different timeline than someone who started training as a child.
The minimum BJJ training time to compete
Generally speaking, it is recommended that new practitioners train for at least 6 to 12 months before competing. This time frame will allow for the development of a strong foundation in the techniques and principles of BJJ.
However this will depend on the person's coach usually. They will be keeping a close eye on you as you are rolling and if they know you want to compete, they will often want you to put in a certain amount of time initially before considering Jiu Jitsu competition.
During this initial training period, practitioners should focus on learning the basics of the sport, including proper techniques for grappling, positioning, what submissions to watch out for and escapes - learning subs typically comes later in your training.
You will also work on developing physical fitness, including strength, endurance, and flexibility. This will help to be better prepared for the demands of competition.
As practitioners progress in their training, they should begin to focus more on drilling and sparring. This will help them to become more comfortable with the techniques as well as develop their reflexes and timing. It will also help them to develop the ability to apply their techniques in live sparring situations - thus getting them ready to compete.
Belt requirements for Jiu Jitsu competition
Belt requirements in Jiu Jitsu competition are not standardized, though the IBJJF generally requires you to compete at your belt level. In general it is important to compete at your own level for a number of reasons.
Take into account something like sandbagging. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, "sandbagging" refers to a tactic used by a competitor where they intentionally underperform in earlier rounds of a tournament in order to be placed in a lower bracket, with the intent of facing weaker opponents and ultimately winning the tournament with less difficulty. This is considered unsportsmanlike behavior and is generally frowned upon in the BJJ community. In the end, you are only cheating yourself.
In general you want to be challenging people within your same belt range in Jiu Jitsu competition as it is the best way for you to learn while having a chance to win a tournament.
A lot of people ask the question, can white belts compete in BJJ? For the most part yes, though in most cases these competitions will take place within their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy. In some cases a white belt may compete in an IBJJF tournament, but it's best to start in house.
Benefits of competing in BJJ
Competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) can offer a variety of benefits to practitioners, including:
Improved skills: Competing forces practitioners to push themselves beyond their comfort zone and test their skills against other experienced players.
Increased confidence: BJJ competitions can help build self-confidence and mental toughness.
Personal growth: Competing in BJJ can be a powerful personal growth experience, teaching valuable lessons about perseverance, discipline, and mental fortitude.
Camaraderie: BJJ competitions are often a great opportunity to meet and connect with other practitioners from different schools and locations.
Physical fitness: BJJ competitions require a high level of fitness and endurance, and preparing for them can be a great way to get in shape and stay healthy.
Sense of accomplishment: Winning a match or a tournament gives a great feeling of accomplishment and can be motivating to keep training, training harder and with more frequency.
Learning from loss: Losing in a competition can be a valuable learning experience, helping practitioners to identify and correct weaknesses in their game. Learning how to deal with loss is an important part of sports psychology.
Jiu Jitsu competition is at the absolute heart of the martial art itself. To compete is to learn and grow as a martial artist. People often ask, do you have to compete in BJJ? Competition is encouraged but is certainly not a requirement to train.
How to sign up for a Jiu Jitsu competition
Usually you would ask your coach and compete as a team, but if you are going lone wolf, here's a step-by-step guide on how to sign up for a Jiu Jitsu competition.
Find a tournament: The first step in signing up for a Jiu Jirsu competition is to find a tournament that you want to compete in. There are a number of ways to do this, including checking online resources such as the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation) website, social media, and local BJJ gyms.
Check the rules and requirements: Once you've found a tournament, it's important to familiarize yourself with the rules and requirements. This includes things like weight classes, age divisions (BJJ competing in 40s, 30s, 20s, youth etc), and any specific uniform requirements.
Register: Once you've found a tournament that you're interested in competing in and have familiarized yourself with the rules, you can register for the tournament. This can typically be done online, and you'll need to provide some basic information such as your name, contact information, weight class and belt color.
Complete any necessary paperwork: Some tournaments may require additional paperwork to be completed, such as a medical release form. Make sure to read through the tournament's website and rules to see if there are any additional forms you'll need to complete.
Once this is done, now its time to prepare for your first Jiu Jitsu competition or tournament!
How to prepare for your first Jiu Jitsu tournament
Two important questions you will need to ask yourself first are: Should I compete in BJJ? Am I ready to compete in BJJ? If you answered yes to both, then you are ready to start preparing for your first Jiu Jitsu tournament. So where to begin?
Preparing for your first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition can be a daunting task, but with the right approach and mindset, you can feel confident and ready to compete.
The most important aspect of preparing for a tournament is to train consistently. Make sure to attend your regular classes and also try to get in extra training sessions when possible. This will help you to build your skills and fitness, and also increase your confidence.
Focus on your strengths
As you prepare for the tournament, focus on your strengths and try to develop them further. This will give you an advantage in your matches and increase your chances of winning.
Work on your weaknesses
While it's important to focus on your strengths, it's also important to work on your weaknesses. Identify areas of your game that need improvement and make a plan to address them.
Diet and hydration
A proper diet and hydration are important for optimal performance. Make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet and staying hydrated in the days leading up to the tournament.
As important as the physical preparation, is the mental preparation. Try to stay positive and visualize yourself succeeding in the tournament.
Get enough rest
Make sure you get enough rest in the days leading up to the tournament. It will likely be hard to shut your brain off, but try to get a good night's sleep the night before the tournament and avoid staying up too late.
Show up early
Make sure you show up to the tournament early to allow yourself plenty of time to warm up, register and weigh-in if needed.
That wraps up our go to guide to preparing for your first Jiu Jitsu competition. Remember, competing in your first BJJ tournament is an exciting and challenging experience. With the right mindset and preparation, you'll be well on your way to achieving your goals as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner!
Is it safe to compete in BJJ?
Like any sport, as long as you are training and preparing correctly, competing in Jiu Jitsu is completely safe. It’s considered much safer than competing in Boxing or full contact Karate for instance.
Can white belts compete in BJJ?
White belts can participate in Jiu Jitsu competition, though it usually takes place within their BJJ academy as opposed to an open tournament. However it is not unheard of for a white belt to compete in an external tournament.
Can I compete in BJJ over 40?
Yes. Competing in BJJ at 40 or older is commonplace. Most tournaments are broken up into age brackets so that people of all ages can have fair competition. Many people take up Jiu Jitsu later in life as its a low contact sport, so it only makes sense for them to be able to compete
Can you make money competing in BJJ?
Can you make money competing in BJJ? Of course. There are several ways to make money including Jiu Jitsu competition, tournaments and even fight leagues where people compete at the professional level.