When Can You Start Competing In BJJ?

Joining a BJJ Tournament

So you’ve been training Jiu-Jitsu for a while, and you’re wondering when can you start competing in BJJ. The simple answer is that if you feel like you’re ready, go for it. There’s no established rule about how long you should train before competing.

For some people, three to six months of training might be enough, while others need up to a year or longer. Don’t worry if you keep training for months, not being ready for your first competition. What’s important is that you take your time and know when it will happen.

Some people train BJJ for a couple of years and never compete at all because they’re not interested in competing. On the other hand, some people join their first tournament after a few months of training.

Why You Should Start Competing in BJJ Sooner Rather Than Later

Training for competitions is a great way to test your knowledge of the basics of grappling. It allows you to enhance your training by adding aspects that you may have been ignoring, such as better cardio, grip fighting, takedowns, and other maneuvers you might not train as often in your jiu-jitsu gym.

When Can You Start Competing In BJJ

Another great reason to compete in BJJ is that it helps you see how far you’ve come as a grappler. You’ll be able to measure your progress against others who are at your level.

Competitions also help you refine your jiu-jitsu technique and develop the mental strength required to succeed in BJJ.

As with any other martial art, jiu-jitsu competitions will also teach you self-defense skills that will help you defend yourself against an attacker on the street.

In addition, they provide an opportunity for you to meet and socialize with people who share a common interest in BJJ.

Don’t be afraid to compete in BJJ tournaments. With each competition, you’ll become more experienced and feel more confident about your training. Attend as many jiu-jitsu tournaments as you can to help you become a better BJJ player.

Why You shouldn’t Compete in BJJ

The main reason people don’t like to compete is that they could be afraid of getting beaten. If you’re scared of getting beat up, then you’re not ready. It’s as simple as that.

If you have a big ego and are easily humiliated, then it’s best to avoid competing. People lose in competitions all the time, and most people don’t like getting beaten —but it’s part of the game. If this is a problem, then throw in the towel before it even starts.

Another reason is that some people don’t like to compete against other people because it can get pretty rough sometimes (and it’s not something to take lightly).

Signs That You Might Be Ready To Compete In BJJ

One of the top reasons people wait to compete in BJJ is that they don’t feel confident in their knowledge. But, some signals might indicate that you probably know more jiu-jitsu than you think to stand your ground in a tournament:

  • You know a few sweeps and scapes in every fundamental position of BJJ.
  • You’re not scared of being pinned in uncomfortable positions like side control or mount.
  • You know your back control position, and you can use it effectively (your opponent cannot move from it just with brute force).
  • You can break guard, pass, and set up attacks. When your opponent’s guard is down, you can easily pass the guard safely.
  • Many different sweep, submissions, and escapes work for you.
  • You feel less tired after rolling in class than when you started learning BJJ.
  • You’re not afraid to get beat up since you know that it will make you better in the long run.

At the end of the day is all about confidence, especially as a beginner. Feeling confident in a BJJ tournament is all about knowing at least the fundamentals of what to do in the following situations: Your opponent is on top of you, your opponent is on the bottom, you’re under attack with a specific submission.

10 Tips for your first BJJ competition

If you decided to compete in your first Jiu-Jitsu tournament, here are some tips that can make the experience more enjoyable:

  1. Have realistic expectations – Always expect to lose at least one or more of the BJJ matches, but don’t worry if you do because it’s part of the game.
  2. Take action at every opportunity – That means, for instance, not getting stumped by a submission attempt. Be aggressive and try to escape as fast as you can.
  3. Keep an open mind and learn from your experience – Your performance alone is not what matters. You can take many lessons from your first BJJ tournament other than just winning or losing.
  4. You’re going to be nervous, that’s normal – Breath to focus and calm yourself down. If you don’t, you’ll end up trying too hard, risking injury, or leaving areas of your game that could lead to a higher rating than what you currently have.
  5. Eat the best you can for 8 to 12 weeks before competing –  Don’t prioritize cutting weight over developing your techniques. This will only make you weaker and slower.
  6. Prepare a basic game plan – Make sure to discuss it a lot in class so you can try it out and feel comfortable with it.
  7. Learn the tournament rules – When you know the rules, this will help you focus only on your technique and solidifies your game plan.
  8. Bring healthy food – It will keep you energized during the matches.
  9. Don’t over-train – Go all out for 8 to 12 weeks and then take a week off. That way, you won’t risk injury or burn out too much before you compete.
  10. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself – Who cares if you lose? If you’re enjoying yourself, then more power to you!

Choosing Your Weight Class

Losing too much weight means that you’ll have to cut down your training time. The smaller the division, the more weight you have to lose before stepping onto the mat.

This will not only be physically taxing but can also be emotionally draining. A smaller division fighter trying to make his or her way into the ring will be at an immediate disadvantage when facing a larger opponent.

The size and weight category of your competition can impact what techniques you use and how you play out your game plan. 

Your trainer will be able to help you decide which weight class you’re best suited for. It all depends on your body type, strength, and flexibility.

The right way to choose is not what class is the most popular or looks the coolest. It’s what division will allow you to perform your best and reach your goals.

ibjjf weight classes

Final Thoughts on Your First BJJ Competition

Always remember that BJJ is a game, and you will get better at it with time. You won’t become a great player in one day, and no BJJ teacher will be able to make you a champion right away. Even some jiu-jitsu black belts are not top of the food chain competitors.

There’s no exact time when it is best to start competing in BJJ tournaments, but if you feel like it’s the right time for you, do it.

If you know for sure that you’ll be too nervous and scared before the actual competition, don’t fight and concentrate on developing your game more.

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