Tips for Your First Tournament

You plan to compete in your first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) tournament, and you start feeling the nerves. You’ve never quite been in this situation before, and you’re not quite sure what to expect. Fret not, as here’s a simple guide that will help you make sense of all that you probably are thinking or feeling right now.

If you are a white belt, then the Blue Belt Classes are essential in helping you build a strong foundation. It is critical to focus on the building blocks of your BJJ game. Improve the execution and efficiency of the techniques of bread-and-butter moves like armbars, triangles, positional controls and escapes. Be an absolute sponge in class; stay behind to clarify any queries you might have with the instructors and take up some private lessons to work out some of the few weaknesses you find in your own game.

Proper nutrition is vital. Remember, your diet is literally what you eat, and not a quick, temporary fix to a permanent lifestyle. Think of a 50-30-20 ratio in terms of your carb-protein-fat intake ratio. Eat well and your body will thank you for it, especially during the tournament. Hydrate properly, by ensuring sufficient intake of fluids to replace those lost during training and the tournament. (approximately 1lb of body weight = 24 ounces) For optimal rehydration, ration your intake of fluids such that it does not exceed one cup approximately every 20 minutes.

Strength and Conditioning is vital to every martial arts and BJJ isn’t any exception. This will give you the edge in the tournament format, ensuring you are fresher in the latter stages of the event. FightShape classes offered at Evolve MMA are an indispensable ally in this department, helping you achieve prime conditioning to give you the edge. Having said this, competitors should never rely on strength in Jiu-Jitsu, as that will be losing sight of the principles of Jiu-Jitsu’s applications. BJJ is founded on efficiency and technique to allow a lesser man to overcome a bigger and stronger adversary.

Tournament training is where you piece everything together; it is a culmination of your Jiu-jitsu skills, strength and conditioning, and also your competition prowess and state of mind. Randori or live sparring with your friends can help greatly in this area. After all, a tournament is just just an extended and more adrenaline-filled version of Randori. This will expose any possible issues you might face during tournament day itself. The hard nature of the training will mimic the actual tournament intensity. These sessions are best done after class with your teammates, and would include elements like drills, stand up work (ie. Wrestling/Judo), sparring, and transitioning to your ground game.

Having a run through of what will happen in the tournament helps in reducing your anxiety levels about the tournament day itself. Draw upon the experiences of your instructors and fellow teammates to help you prepare for both the expected and unexpected. This way, you can remain calm, focused on the important matters at hand on tournament day. Run through your favorite moves and positions. Visualize yourself getting out of difficult situations. Focus on have a clear state of mind for the day of the tournament.

Above all, make sure to have fun. The point of martial arts is to have fun and to unleash your own potential. Tournaments are a fun way to test your own skills and to push the limits of your abilities. Don't take things too seriously. Train hard, learn as much as you can, and let the chips fall where they may. It is your first BJJ tournament. Chalk it up as a great life experience from which you will grow!

Evolve Mixed Martial Arts® is Asia's premier brand of MMA academies.  Evolve MMA ranks among the best academies in the world for Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Mixed Martial Arts.