You have been training Jiu Jitsu for a little while now. You are probably really enthusiastic about it and you are finally ready to start competing. Competing in Jiu Jitsu is a special thing, it gave me confidence on and off that mat and probably some of my greatest moments were at Jiu Jitsu competitions. Here are a few tips that might help you.
1. Be prepared. I don’t just mean training a lot and being ready to compete. I am talking about being on top of your weight if you plan on cutting weight, having all your traveling planned out, making sure you have work covered if you need to take time off from work.
2. Be patient. Sometimes you show up to a competition and you compete within the hour. Other times it is an all day event and you might show up at 8 am and not compete until 7pm. Waiting around to compete can be more exhausting than actually competing. If you think its going to be awhile find a place to lay down and make sure to drink plenty of water. Try to relax and just wait until you are called. Don’t pace around and constantly ask the staff when your up, it might annoy them and its just going to make you more tired and anxious. If you are bringing friends or family make sure they know its an all day event and that you don’t know when you are going to be competing. The last thing you need when you are trying to relax and wait for your match is an annoying friend or family member constantly asking you when you are going to compete.
3. Remember its normal to be nervous. I still get nervous when competing. The thing that really helps me is to realize that everyone else is just as nervous as me or maybe even more nervous. I have seen world champion black belts puke from nerves before competing.
4. Get plenty of sleep the night before you compete. I have trouble sleeping the night before a competition. I just tell myself its normal and everyone else competing is probably having trouble too. Resist the urge to go on your smart phone or watch TV. Just lay down and close your eyes if you do it long enough you are bound to fall asleep. Or at least more likely then if you keep your self engaged with an activity like watching TV or playing on your phone. Even if you are unable to sleep at least you can be somewhat well rested.
5. Be a good sport. whether you win or lose make sure you shake the other guys hand. Remember you are not only representing yourself but your team as well. Getting upset at a bad call or something you deem “dirty” does not mean you get to curse anyone out or stomp off the mat. If you have a disagreement with the ref or decision, RESPECTFULLY request to escalate the situation to a head ref or who ever is running the tournament. Also you should do this before you walk off the mats after your match. Even if the call was made completely incorrect once you leave the mats and the next match starts it going to be very hard to change anything.
6. There is no losing, only learning. As long as you did not get hurt while competing you don’t lose. Getting eliminated in your first match does suck, however you should be able to learn from the experience. Also remember many people never compete. As long as you tried you should be proud of yourself for going out there and pushing past your comfort limits.