How to prepare for your first jiu jitsu competition

If you're considering competing in a jiu jitsu competition for the first time or have already entered a competition, you might be wondering how to prepare for it. Competing in a tournament can be a nerve-wracking experience, but here are some things you can do to help yourself feel more prepared.

How to prepare for your first jiu jitsu competition

Have a plan

It's important to have a plan and a strategy when you begin any competition — jiu jitsu or otherwise.

A big part of coming up with your plan is knowing your game and your strengths so that you can play them up once the competition begins. So be sure to ask your teachers and training partners what you're best at.

But, as important as it is to have a plan, it's also important to know when to abandon your plan.

Things won't always go exactly as planned, so you can't expect to plan out your entire strategy play-by-play.

Nonetheless, it's a good idea to go into each match with an idea of how it will ideally look. But since you're competing against a human opponent and not some sort of simulation, you'll  need to be prepared to adapt to the unexpected.

That way, if your plan goes awry, you can still be comfortable going on without it.


It's super important to stay hydrated for your competition, but do it the night before.

Water doesn't instantly hydrate you. It can take up to two hours to fully absorb in your bloodstream.

If you start hydrating the night before a competition, that means you'll start the match at a fully-hydrated level which will give you better muscle performance.

As per the day of the competition, just remember to drink water after the match to help re-hydrate.

Don't think too much

Overthinking can cause you to second guess yourself.

As part of this, don't show up super early to the match to sit and watch one or two people with crazy moves you don't know take everyone else down during any sort of exhibition or warm up period of the tournament. Doing so will only psych you out.

Instead, do something that you enjoy before the match, whether it's hanging out with friends, listening to music or watching a good movie. Distracting yourself will make sure that you don't let your nerves spiral out of control.

Remember that it's a game

As seriously as you might take a tournament as you plan for it and prepare the night before, it's just a important to remember that jiu jitsu is supposed to be enjoyable.

After all, jiu jitsu (and all martial arts) are a way for you to increase your athletic performance, learn and get better.

So just because you're involved in a competition, you shouldn't abandon all ideas of the experience being fun.

Of course, you are trying to win, but there's more to any competition than winners and losers. Remember that good sportsmanship is important above all else, so try to keep a positive attitude and enjoy yourself (even if you end up losing).

So, once you've signed up for your first (or next) jiu jitsu competition, keep these points in mind to help you prepare yourself mentally and physically.

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