I competed in my first IBJJF tournament this past weekend and I cannot say anything but great things from my experience! I didn't do as well as I was wanting to, but that may be the most beautiful thing about jiu jitsu!

Something that I've been pondering about recently is the idea of BJJ for competition. Is it necessary to become good at BJJ? Do you have to compete when you train BJJ?

To be completely honest I have never been one for competition. I love competition training and creating a gameplan, but the competition part has never been my cup of tea. After competing in my first IBJJF tournament my perspective changed. Now I cannot wait to compete again!

I don't think that competing is something that everyone has to do. I think it's common in every gym that there may be an individual that wrecks everyone in the gym, but when competition comes around, they get totally lost. Jiu Jitsu oftentimes is practiced for self defense, sport, or both. Regardless of why someone trains Jiu Jitsu for, many coaches try to urge their students to compete. This may or may not be a good thing in some people's eyes, but I personally think that competition is something that all students of BJJ should try at least once. As many people have said prior to this blog, the things that you learn about yourself when you compete is so helpful in the development of your own individual game. Competition is where you learn what does and doesn't work against opponents that have never seen your game. It's a new way to challenge yourself. Also, working towards a goal is always a good thing as well, some people exercise to lose weight or to PR in a race, etc. In Jiu Jitsu you try to implement your game against multiple people, showing that your technique is the best (for that day at least).

To answer the original questions, No, I don't believe competing is necessary to becoming better at BJJ, although it could greatly benefit a BJJ practicioner. And do you have to compete when you train BJJ? ABSOLUTELY NOT! If your school is competition oriented but you don't want to compete, I would advise finding a new school, training with people who are wanting to make podiums at tournaments may be detrimental to your training if you are not training to compete. In the end, it's obvious that you should do what's best for you, but like the saying goes, "You'll never know unless you try", compete at least once and let me know how it goes!


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