It's BJJ Competition Season
Off the back of a successful Autumn Cup in May, which saw the ROOTS team come 2nd in gi, 2nd in no gi, 4th in the kids, and 3rd overall, we are now in competition season. So we thought that we would put forward some advice for the first time competitors, and some things to think about for the higher belts.
If you have never competed before, go and watch a competition. Come and support the ROOTS team. Get your hands on a Team ROOTS yellow t-shirt and cheer on your team mates. Not only will you get to hang out with the people from your gym, you will also get to meet people from the other ROOTS gyms. So you are winning already! Most importantly, you will know what the set up for the competition is like; for example, you will see where the marshalling area is, you will see how the mats are arranged, you can see where people get their medals, you can soak up the atmosphere, and you can get a feel for competition day.
Competitions can be loud and stepping on the mat for the first time can be daunting. However, the reality is that you will be fighting against someone who is your own weight and belt, which is a bit easier than rolling with the higher belts in the gym. The best strategy here is to go and watch the people that will be fighting in your weight and belt category. Best to also look at the weight categories above too, in case you you want fight in the open division as well.
Also, come to the ROOTS monthly open mats. These are on the first Saturday of each month at a different ROOTS gym, kicking off this Saturday 1 June from 10am - 12pm at ROOTS BJJ Chinatown. These are a good way to test your skills and to train with a whole lot of different people.
Get to know what Self-EfFicacy Means
Get to know what self-efficacy is. Self-efficacy is the concept that you have confidence in your ability to perform an action or task within a given domain (i.e. your belief that you can win a BJJ fight). If you have high self-efficacy, you believe that you can achieve the task, and if you have low self-efficacy then you have the belief that you cannot achieve the set task. Self-efficacy is developed though training, through feedback from your peers and instructors, and from vicarious experiences, such as seeing your team mates win. Another aspect of self-efficacy is team self-efficacy. So if the team believes that it can win, then the team has high team-efficacy. Paulo and all of the instructors have all been fighters, and they all have high self-efficacy and high team-efficacy. They believe that ROOTS can win, and they believe that you can win, too. Our goal is to win the competitions and to make our way to the lofty halls of Valhalla at the end of the day for a night of feasting.
Have a Clear Game Plan And TRain
A game plan means that you have an actual “plan” on how to achieve your goal for your fight. It is not some idea that you will go on the mat and last for five minutes and hope for the best, or that your opponent will, meekly, submit to your bravery. They are also there to win. Submission in the first 30 seconds of a fight is not a game plan, it is a pipe dream.
What you need to plan out is your attack and counter attacks. Learn what will get you points and what will cost you points. Know what your strengths are so that you can use them, but also know what the counter moves are so that if your opponent does one of the possible counter moves you can get around them. What will you do when you get in guard, half-guard, or side-control? What will you do if you are taken down, or what if you get put into a bad position? During training, practice the moves when you are rolling at the end of the session and be cognisant of how you can use those moves in a fight. Yes, use your training to prepare for a competition. Try your attacks and see what happens, learn from these instances where you may be bested in training so that you are victorious on the day.
Have a competition Mindset
It is a fight. You are there to win. You are there to do your best. There is no shame in losing if you tried your hardest. So put in the effort when you get on the mat. Remember to breathe. This is a simple rule, but controlling your breathe means controlling your strength.
Your coach is out there trying to help you when you are competing. Many people get out on the mat and they lose perspective of everything around them. This makes it much harder for someone to coach you because when you are in this situation you probably don’t even know your coach is there anymore. So do your best to stay focused. Anytime you have the chance, try to listen to your coach, or if you have good control, you can look at him. It may help.
Keep calm when you are fighting, know where you are in the fight, know how many points you have, and look for the time on the scoreboard. Try to control the fight.
Here is some overall advice on fighting:
Confidence Built on Training and Teamwork
There are many reported benefits from doing a martial art that extend beyond the physical. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), in this sense, is a holistic martial art in that promotes confidence, discipline, respect, and friendship while building strength, coordination, flexibility, and balance. In this article, we will share some of the benefits of BJJ for children and share some of our team’s stories. We hear from Stefi, Pep and Luka from our St George, Liverpool and Warringah Mall gyms.
Full name, age and belt ranking
Stefi Angelevski. 15 years old. Green belt.
How long have you been doing BJJ for?
I’ve been training since I was 5 years old, so 11 years altogether.
I’ve competed in over 30 comps at the state, national and Australasian levels. My record is 28 wins from 31 comps. For those that are interested, you can watch my previous comp wins on my YouYube channel: https://m.youtube.com/user/ZAKIANDSTEFIBJJ
What do you like about training BJJ?
The BJJ community as a whole is a large influence on my passion for the sport. I like being able to see myself and those around me better ourselves over time, both in technique and as individuals. BJJ is something I’ve come to love more and more over the years.
What’s your favourite BJJ move and why?
Bow and arrow. If taught correctly, it’s a move that can be utilised time and time again, as there many ways to tweak and alter it to your own build.
BJJ helps children to develop confidence. Some children are naturally outgoing, but others may be shy or not as social as others. Training BJJ will provide children with an opportunity to develop both the confidence they need to grow into confident teenagers and adults. Whether they are athletic or not, BJJ is a place where children can develop mastery of technical skills and receive positive reinforcement from their teachers and peers. BJJ focuses on building confidence through hard training.
BJJ teaches children many of life’s lessons, and one of these lessons is how to defend yourself. BJJ, primarily, teaches children self-defence rather than how to fight. In training, children learn how to defend themselves, they learn how to gain control of a situation, and they learn how to keep themselves safe. BJJ is not about encouraging children to fight, it is about giving them the skills to defend themselves and to find a way out of a difficult situation. Also, because BJJ is hands-on, the confidence in their BJJ skills and ability to defend themselves that they gain from training will be based in a real understanding of their strengths. Some martial arts may incorporate flashy moves and fancy kicks, and while these techniques may be fun, they are not going to carry over into real life scenarios, which could give your child a false sense of confidence.
Pep Archer Brown
Name and Belt Ranking?
Pep Archer Brown and Yellow belt
2 years and 3 months
1st Place, 8 yrs under 30kg Gi - Grappling Industries
What do you like about training BJJ?
Pep does BJJ because he wants to learn self defence, and it’s fun!
Favourite move is the arm bar
Physical strength and coordination
Another noted benefit of BJJ is the physical strength and coordination that comes from persistent training. Today’s society is relatively sessile in that children may spend hours playing video games, watching television, or staying inside. BJJ provides an opportunity for children to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle, and teaching them healthy habits at a young age will set up the foundations for a healthy life. Perhaps the Gracie Diet is not for everyone, but children will burn off energy, increase their flexibility, improve their balance and coordination, and will build cardio endurance.
Discipline, resilience, and Friendship
BJJ teaches children discipline and can support the development of the often overlooked quality of resilience. The physical benefits are impressive, but the mental benefits are just as important. Through training, children can develop a sense of discipline which results from the “never give up” attitude that BJJ instils in people. It can take years of training and competing to attain a Black Belt, and this develops resilience along the way. A child will not win every fight, it may take years for them to master a technique to the point of effortlessness, but the persistence builds resilience. BJJ is also a martial art in that a good teacher will be strict on children, they will make them wear their gi neatly, to bow when they enter and leave the mat, to have good hygiene, they will make them show respect to their teachers and peers, they will guide them through the history of jiu-jitsu and BJJ, and they will teach them about the spirit of the samurai and to have loyalty, respect and honour.
Friendship, this is an enduring benefit of BJJ for both children and adults. BJJ is a community, and your training partners will become your family.
Name and Belt Ranking?
Luka Dargeyko and grey-black belt
Luka has been training for one year.
Gold Medal at 2018 NSW State Championships and current State Champion for mixed white-to-grey-black belt 6 year old 26kg
What do you like about training BJJ?
It’s fun! I like doing forward and backward rolls and fighting.
Favourite move is the Ippon Seoinage (one are shoulder throw)
What is motivation?
Research abounds on motivation and theories of motivation. It has been shown in myriad ways that without motivation we do not learn, we do not perform, and we do not achieve. So coming in to the end of a hard year of training, it is time to reflect upon what keeps us motivated to train BJJ. In this post, we asked some of our ROOTS team members to share their thoughts on what keeps them motivated. However, before we hear their stories, what is motivation?
Intrinsic Motivation – the holy grail of motivation
When we look at motivation, we seek to explain an individual’s goal-directed behaviour. There are three main factors that influence motivation:
Aleks Stojkovski (ROOTS Instructor Milperra)
Why do you train BJJ? Growing up I was always involved in many different sports but I always found martial arts interesting and it was only a matter of time till I was going to try it. Growing up watching Rocky, Rambo, Conan, Bloodsport and Enter The Dragon movies everyday and with a little encouragement from Robert Naumoski that’s all it took for me to train BJJ. As a little kid, I remember one of my cousins was friends with Rob and I always looked up to them because they looked fit, strong, won medals and always fought in kickboxing, boxing and just anything to do with fighting.
How long have you been training BJJ? I have trained BJJ for 8 years.
Home gym? Milperra Roots
Why do you compete? I see competition as part of the martial arts and I enjoy fighting. Also as a coach I like to lead by example and test my skills against other competitors and be a role model that other people can look up to. Competitions motivate me to train more and improve for next time no matter the result; I also enjoy collecting medals which is a bonus that comes when competing.
What keeps you motivated? Motivation comes in many different forms for me. One of them is competing the other can vary from learning new skills, staying fit or just being on the mats and rolling. Being a part of the Roots Milperra gym is really important for me, because we all work together for the common goal, to improve our jiu-jitsu and motivate each other on and off the mat.
Favourite part of training? Favourite part of training would have to be coaching and rolling with all the guys at the gym. That moment when I look up and see everyone is training hard and they are thinking about their next move, this is what I see as a team.
Anything else? Looking forward to see what my Brown belt journey brings and I always encourage people to try jiu-jitsu at least once in their life. It will make you a humble, respectful and confident person that is a guarantee!!!!!
Alice Lam (ROOTS Botany)
Why do you train BJJ? I have always had an interest with martial arts. I had been training Shotokan Karate for over 15 years and really wanted to add something to my training, a whole new challenge. I tried BJJ and fell in love from day one. It complemented the 5 principles of combat; Evade, Enter, Close Quarter, Take Down, Complete. Karate touches on the first 2.5 principles and BJJ completed the last 2.5 principles. BJJ also helps me build confidence, reboots my mind when I step onto the mats, keeps me fit and active, and overall makes me happy.
How long have you been training BJJ? I started in February 2016, so just under 3 years now.
Home gym? I train at Roots Botany under Professor James Hampton.
Why do you compete? I started competing in karate too late in the game when I was already a brown belt. This made the competition world very difficult to grasp and I didn’t want this happening with my jiu-jitsu so I made sure I started competing pretty much since the beginning. It has been challenging dealing with the nerves of competition but it has bettered me each time. Being able to get out there and test myself against the other competitors really helps develop my jiu-jitsu. You learn from both your losses and your wins. Stepping up to the challenge is part of training on its own in the sense that you're putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation and fighting your way out of it. I compete to test myself, learn and improve my jiu-jitsu. Of course winning is a very a rewarding feeling also :)
What keeps you motivated? In life, I am constantly striving to do better, to learn more, to experience more and this motivates me with my jiu-jitsu. I am motivated by constantly wanting to improve my techniques, learn new techniques, better myself and look forward to all the experiences that can come with my training such as seminars with world champions and travelling for competition. A major motivating factor is my team at Botany. We are always pushing each other to excel and our instructor Professor James is constantly pushing us forward and challenging us.
Favourite part of training? The fitness and discipline aspect. The challenge. The friendships made, the Roots Botany team are almost like my second family.
Anything else? This year has been an amazing year for me. Coming back from a broken leg for pretty much the whole second half of the competition session last year, I really wanted to knuckle down with my training and competing. The Pan Pacific Championships were the goal for the year and being able to come home with the gold was an incredible feeling. However the highlight this year had to be winning the double gold at the NSW State Championships in Gi and NoGi. I am really looking forward to next year's challenges. Martial arts isn’t for everyone, BJJ even for a lessor few, but it is such a rewarding art form and beneficial to all. It is fun yet tough at the same time. It develops your mind as much as your body. BJJ is also one of the most effective martial arts for self-defence so it is definitely a skill set everyone should have. I highly recommend BJJ to everyone and anyone who wants to build confidence, learn self-defence, or wants to learn an effective and traditional martial art.
Walid Kouatly (ROOTS Chinatown)
Why do you train BJJ? To keep fit, learn self-defence, improve problem-solving skills, compete, learn the art of jiu-jitsu, improve discipline and continue to evolve as a person.
How long have you been training BJJ? I have been training with Roots since July 2017. Before that I did a lot of weights in the past and a bit of grapping-style conditioning exercises as well as ‘youtube’ BJJ which is no way near comparison when coached in real-life by experienced and qualified BJJ coaches.
Home gym? Roots Chinatown, under Professor Paulo Guimaraes. I also visit Root Rockdale on weekends close to comps, and occasionally Roots Botany.
Why do you compete? To apply what I have learned, learn from my mistakes, experience the rush, and put myself out of my comfort zone and of course enjoy the victories for me and Team Roots.
What keeps you motivated? I enjoying being challenged and I enjoy the sense of achievement and growth. I am motivated by small goals I set to myself, from tapping less or barely surviving when rolling with senior belts, to winning tournaments and championships. I also motivated by overcoming difficulties.
Favourite part of training?
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