Today, I’ll answer the question: Are BJJ Competitions Hard?

I’ll do that by talking about my experience during BJJ competitions. First and foremost, yes, they are hard. Physically and also mentally.

I completely underestimated them in my first tournament. I thought it’s gonna be equal to rough rolling sessions in my Gym.

But they were not – they were way more demanding. It felt drastically different, and it was one of the hardest and most fun things I have done in my life.

Here, you can listen to my experience at my first BJJ tournament

What’s The Difference Between A Hard Roll and a BJJ Competition?

I went into that competition thinking that I was prepared for what was coming. In my BJJ Gym, I had many hard rolls. I’d sometimes do 5 of them in a row.

I was confident about my strength and cardio and wanted to approach it like an open mat session.

End Result: I completely gassed out in my first fight, ending up losing on points. All that was because I was tired.

The reason was that I was too spazzy. I was going for takedowns, I was moving around the mat and did a lot of quick, unnecessary movements.

So even though I told myself I’d approach this like a hard roll in the gym, my nervosity led me to exhaust myself too much too quickly.

So the difference between a hard roll and a competition is that you’ll be more nervous and have more adrenaline in your body. It’s not as playful as in the Gym.

I think I never wanted to win in my life so badly than in this first match. So the difference is mental, which will have an influence on your physical performance.

What Makes BJJ Competitions Hard?

The first thing I realized after the BJJ competition was that I made it hard. I put too much pressure on myself, and even though I wanted to make it like a training session, I approached it like a life-or-death situation (I know, dramatic…)

So, let’s get into why BJJ competitions are hard.

  • You’ll be nervous: I usually don’t get nervous easily. But there I got more nervous the closer I got to competition day. I wanted to prove to myself that I could be good at something.
  •  Adrenaline bumps: My adrenaline was going crazy during competition day. Before a match, high, then low when waiting, then high again. It’s a crazy feeling.
  •  You cut weight: I had to cut 4kg (9lbs) in 10 days to make the desired weight class. That didn’t help. I started losing weight too late, so the 10 days before the competition wasn’t fun. It made me think about the competition too much.
  •  People are watching you: When I had a match, all these people were standing and watching. My friends, teammates, and strangers. This added to my nervousness because now I wanted to prove I could do it.
  •  You don’t get many breaks: If you’re unlucky, you’ll have 5 matches within an hour. I had 6 matches within 2 hours, and it was hard.
  •  You don’t know: You know how your training partners roll in the gym. In BJJ competitions, you don’t know your opponents – you don’t know their strengths and weaknesses. That will add to your nervousness.
  •  Unfamiliar environment: You’ll compete in a place you haven’t been to. So everything is new. So there’s gonna be a lot of fear of the unknown.
Watch my first BJJ competition match win here

How To Make BJJ Competitions Less Hard

My number one thing if you’re considering competing: Just do it. It’s gonna be hard. It gets less hard if you accept that it will be hard.

And think about it – it should be hard, it’s a competition. If it weren’t so hard, nobody would do it.

But on a more practical note: Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. I went into it like my life depended on it. Big mistake. Take it easy, have the will to win, but accept that there’s a possibility that you’ll lose.

I lost my first match because I put too much pressure. Once I lost my first match, I dropped that. I thought I had nothing to lose anymore. And then I ended up winning 5 matches in a row and getting 3rd place. So, I was my biggest hurdle on that day.

So, to make competitions less hard is to compete and feel it. It’ll get easier with each competition, trust me.

Are BJJ competitions hard? This is the picture of me getting 3rd place in a BJJ tournament. I'm standing there with first and second place of the tournament
Me on the left getting 3rd place (1 Loss, 5 Wins)

Are BJJ Competitions Hard? Final Words

So, as I said, they are hard, but they are also super fun. I learned a ton during my first tournament. I made so much progress just by competing there.

I felt blessed and amazing after the competition. And that is because it was so hard. Overcoming the hardness was the best thing.

Competitions are a big part of BJJ. So look your fear in the face and say you’ll do it anyway.
You’ll grow in life and also in BJJ.

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