“Should You Compete in BJJ Tournaments? Does that help you to get better faster? Does that have an impact on your belt promotion?

Hi guys, professor Gustavo here, today let’s talk about BJJ tournaments and how they affect your training.

First of all… Do you have to compete?

No, you don’t… I don’t know of any gym that requires their students to compete, by the way, competition is not for everyone, some people don’t like the idea of competing, and that’s fine…

But there are many benefits if you do decide to compete, for example, usually when you start preparing for a tournament, you take your training more seriously, you push yourself harder, you take care of your diet so you can make weight, you study the game a little more, you try to keep up to date with the new trends so you don’t get caught with those new moves, you develop a stronger bond with your teammates…

You can see right away what’s working and what’s not in your game, especially if you are one of the best guys in your gym… you don’t get tested very often, so tournaments will expose the holes in your game, because you are gonna go against someone you have never seen before, so they are not used to your game and you are not used to their game…

BTW, competing in tournaments was the only way you could cross train.

Back in the day you couldn’t just go out and visit a gym like we do it today, there was a huge rivalry between the gyms so the only way to train with different people was actually competing in tournaments.

So all of that is beneficial to your Jiu Jitsu of course, you are trying to become the best version of yourself… regardless of the outcome of the tournament, winning or losing, most of the benefits come from that preparation where you really dedicate yourself to the art.

So it’s very common to see the competitors evolving faster than the non-competitors because they have that drive and motivation to keep trying to be the best they can be, they have a goal every time they hit the gym.

Competitions usually help the student to get better faster compared to those who don’t compete and just go to the gym without a goal or a plan.

Now, of course, you don’t need to compete in order to experience all of that, I know a lot of guys who don’t like to compete and are still evolving at a fast rate, because they are as motivated and dedicated as the competitors… but signing up for a tournament FORCES you stay on the right track and keep working, that’s your insurance.

Another common question that I get is:

Can you get really really good at BJJ without ever competing?

And the answer is yes, of course, it all depends on how much you can dedicate yourself to the art.

I know some guys that have never competed and they do just fine against high level competitors, they train on a regular basis with world champions, panam champions, and they hold their own… they’ve got the skills, the only difference is that the competitors not only have the physical skills, but also have the mindset, and that’s another great benefit of competing.

If you wanna be a successful competitor, you gotta learn how to control your emotions, how to deal with your nerves, fears, anxiety, how to perform under pressure, and that’s a valuable skill for your everyday life.

Of course you can learn that outside of BJJ too, but again, competing in tournaments FORCES you to develop that area that is so important, and very often neglected nowadays.

Lastly, are you gonna get promoted faster if you win some tournaments?

Probably, especially if you are winning big tournaments… there is no question that you’ve got the skills and are ready to move to your next belt, but let’s be clear, your Jiu Jitsu skills are not the only thing taken in consideration…

You gotta be a person of good character.

If you are an asshole at the gym, if you try to hurt your training partners, if you treat your family and girlfriend poorly… you won’t get promoted, it doesn’t matter how many world titles or how much money you have, Jiu Jitsu is not a place for assholes and we should keep that way.”

Gustavo Gasperin
BJJ Black Belt