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:
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