Friday, October 31st, 2014

5 things every BJJ Player needs to know before competing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

I have had quiet a few people share my last blog entry on being a good cornerman on their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, so I figured I would reward them with another ‘quality’ entry.  Sometimes you bake cakes, and sometimes you make cookies.  These blog entries are a little bit more like the cakes your mom use to bake…hopefully they are so good, you’re asking to lick the bowl and the spoon, lol.

Here are 5 things I would have found beneficial earlier in my career if someone would have handed me a work book with  These 5 things in the ‘need to know before you compete’ chapter…lol.

1. Be prepared to wait

Probably one of my biggest pet peeves as a BJJ Competitor is when friends and family come to watch me compete, and inevitably stand around watching a bunch of men half naked hug each other for several hours before they get an opportunity to see me go onto the mat to do my own bit of the man dance.  Really outside of the IBJJF, very few competitions give you an accurate start time.  As someone who has organized and promoted several grappling tournaments myself, I realize the predicting of matches and brackets along with schedule and dependency of ref’s is something that is hit or miss at best for an amateur grappling organization…So I tell all of my students to be prepared to wait when they sign up to compete.  Be prepared to have friend and family ask you about 100 times when are you ‘going to be on’ brah!?

I have had matches where they have called my name over the loud speaker several times, even threatening to DQ me if I didn’t immediately report to mat 2…only to find out that my opponent is actually in the bathroom bringing the Cleveland Browns to the SuperBowl.  Mentally be prepared for this.

2. Bring a Backpack! 

Man, how many times have you wished you had a sandwich after sticking around the tournament for a couple of hours, and realizing your probably not going to compete for a couple more…and that great breakfast you had before heading the the tournament…was…digested, about an hour ago, and my stomach is growling…lol.  Easy snacks like peanut butter and jelly, trail mix, granola bars, are quick to pack into a bag and simple to eat on the side of a mat while stretching out and waiting around.  Headphones, Books, iPad, or something else that you can use to entertain yourself while you are trying to relax are going to be needed.  I usually feel Jiu Jitsu’d out after an hour of watching matches, and there is now way I can warmup for 2-3 hours….so typically if I have arrived too early, I’ll bring some headphones, or an Iphone charger so I can relax leading up to my warmup time (…guys…have a warmup plan).  A change of clothes, towel, water, electrolytes,bar of soap, mouth guard, bubble gum, something to break a sweat in, and some shoes are just a few things on my Packing List!

3. Visualization

Part of being able to calm down, utilize your strategy, fine tune last minute technical details, is to visualize the performance.  Put yourself in good and bad positions in your mind and technically think of the details you need to escape, improve, or finish the match.  Imagine yourself hearing your coaches voice and distinguishing it from all the other noises in the crowd (like the lady, with the baby in the stroller, yelling ‘SLAM HIM’ her discontinued TAPOUT hoodie). Visualize yourself not only winning, but accepting the medal around your neck, taking the photos of the success into detail in your mind.  As the Notorious BIG said ‘It WAS ALL A DREAM’…Now I’m in the limelight cause I rhyme tight.


4. Know the Rules Dummy

I say this as a joke, but it is true, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the only sports in the world where people argue about the rules, without actually knowing all the rules themselves.  There’s a takedown and the guy passes straight to side control.  How many points is that worth? Does he get points for the takedown, and the guard pass…but there was no guard pass?  Hmmm…That’s just one of the million different examples I could have picked.  Is it IBJJF, NAGA, SUNDAY ROLLOUT, GRAPPLERS QUEST, ADCC…or any of the other opportunities to compete?  Are heel hooks going to be allowed?  Are you going to pay to travel halfway across the USA rent a hotel, and then be DQ’d because you ‘REEPED THE KNEE, BRO’. It pays to know the rules, and have a clear understanding.  What is an advantage? How do you earn one? What happens if we both are tied and someone receives a warning for stalling?—again, the more you compete the more you will understand the rules for each type of tournament, but with that grain of salt, the higher a level of competition you are performing at, the greater emphasis on playing, knowing, understanding, and strategizing within the rule set will show.

5. Strategy

Do you know he is going to pull guard?  Why not look to set up the knee tap for a quick 2 points?  Have you seen your opponent compete already (maybe earlier in the day?)–maybe you have noticed an opening for a knee tap takedown.  Have you really been nailing a sweep in the gym and you’ve been visualizing yourself hitting it all afternoon in the competition? (Well, how are you going to get into that position…whats the strategy?!)  I think you should have an understanding of what you need to do in the match to win, and a clear roadmap for what you need to do to accomplish that.  During the match there will be so many variables that your body will ultimately react on instinct, however the goal is to have an understanding of exactly what the correct instinctual reaction should be and to focus on that.

Hope you guys enjoy the blog article, it took sometime and is my own words, which kinda makes this like a school assignment…except I am not getting any grade on it…which kinda makes it like a job…lol.   If you appreciated the knowledge though, put your name in the box on the right, watch the free choke video–and I’ll hook you up with some more original work that I think will be useful.