Every UFC champion has been through it—dealing with their first amateur competition. Entering a gymnasium awash with Jiu-Jitsu fighters and the deafening ruckus of cheering sections is enough to make you tremble at the knees. When they call you to weigh in, your heart speeds up and the adrenaline dump starts to transform you.
When it’s time to hit the mat—that’s when the pressure builds. Yes, the first time is no walk in the park, we know. But GRACIEMAG.com is always watching out for Jiu-Jitsu fighters, from white belt all the way to success at black. Here are some pointers for you, who are about to stick your neck out in competition.
1. RULE NUMBER 1: IT’S NOT AN OBLIGATION
Participating in a competition gives you butterflies in your stomach, that feeling of being overwhelmed. But ever since your first class, Jiu-Jitsu has taught you to muster up the calm you need to evaluate your best exit route. Don’t put demands on yourself, keep calm, imagine the match is just another roll at the academy, and put what you’ve learned to practice without overthinking things.
2. KNOW THE RULES
Ask your Jiu-Jitsu professor about them, discuss them at the gym, and read up on them on the internet. To win, you need to be up to date on competition rules, which moves are off limits and whatnot.
3. SCORE POINTS, THEN FINISH
When you make it to an advantageous position—like the mount, for instance—, make sure you stabilize it before all else. Firstly, so you don’t go off halfcocked. Secondly, so the ref will award you your points. Attacking right off the bat will put you at risk of losing the position too soon and leave you without precious points.
4. ALWAYS KEEP A MOVE UP YOUR GI SLEEVE
Make an effort to practice move variations. Having two or more options for the same attack, sweep or pass are of the utmost importance. And don’t forget to practice your defenses for the moves.
5. DEFEAT DOESN’T MEAN THE END OF YOUR CAREER
If you’ve never been successful, don’t bow your head in woe. Pick yourself up and seek to correct your mistakes. Have a talk with your Jiu-Jitsu professor, pick up on tips, and ask about where you went wrong and what you can do to improve. For sure next competition will go differently.
6. GET CLUED IN TO THIS BASIC DOUBLE ATTACK
When the going gets rough, a double attack may be your saving grace. Pay attention to how important it is to distract the opponent’s attention before applying the choke. Out of concern for his neck, he ends up leaving his arm attack prone.