- Signing up to compete usually brings a greater intensity and focus to your training. When you have a goal such as a tournament to work toward, you tend to train harder and more often than you normally would, which is good for your Jiu-Jitsu overall.
- Even if you’re not cutting weight, preparing for a tournament often makes you pay more attention to what you eat. It’s important to have proper nutrition, and it doesn’t hurt to have an additional reason to choose better options.
- Rolling in your own gym against your teammates doesn’t always give you an accurate picture of your skills. Competing against someone new can help show you the strengths and weaknesses in your Jiu-Jitsu, and give you some direction. In my own experience, the first time I competed against someone from outside of my school, it was extremely eye-opening, and I learn something every time!
- Competing can help you understand what it feels like to experience an adrenaline dump, and learn how to manage it, which could be beneficial from a self-defense perspective. First-responders often train in ways that induce the flight-or-fight response, because it doesn’t matter how the adrenaline dump is triggered, it’s all the same to your mind and body, and the only way to know how you will react, and how to control it, is to go through it.
- Competition doesn’t just benefit you personally, it’s also good for your school. Not only does it get your school’s name out there, but the ones with the most competitors tend to win the team awards. Also, any lessons you learn from competing often make their way back to your home mat, and as you improve, so do your teammates.
- Last but not least, the more people who compete, the more Jiu-Jitsu grows. No one wants to enter a tournament and have no one to compete with, so we should support our local competitions!
On a personal note, registration is now open for the next Circle of Iron BJJ Championship, and I’ve competed in their last three tournaments, but I’m probably not going to enter this one. I think their tournaments are great, and I do believe that competing is good for you, but I still mostly hate it. At the last tournament I told Conan that I was never going to compete again, and now I’m not saying never, but since I’ve accumulated about twenty-one Jiu-Jitsu medals over the last five years, I think I deserve to take this one off!
“All the players came from far and wide.
Wearing gis and belts on every BJJ side.” -Outkast (slightly paraphrased ;)