Gator Family Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
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Competition has numerous moving parts. In this manual we will break each part down into easy to understand systems. Understanding what to start with and what comes next will greatly reduce anxiety and allow the participant to focus on the task at hand, winning.
Knowledge is half the battle, the other half is action.
Stepping on the mats for competition takes courage. Win or lose you will gain respect from others and gain confidence in yourself.
Implementing the strategies in this manual will put you in the best possible position to fight and win.
Table of Contents
Training Page 3
Rules Page 6
Diet Page 7
Registration Page 8
Before Tournament Page 9
Day of Tournament Page 10
Competition Page 11
Learning from Matches Page 12
“You miss every shot you never take!”
Making a plan and following every step will greatly increase your chances of success on and off the mats. The first step to becoming a medal winner is training.
You must show up and put in the work. If you want something bad enough you will find a way, if not you’ll find an excuse. Your competition is probably training right now. This will require sacrifice. Sometimes you will have to train instead of doing something fun with your friends. It will not be easy but it will be worth it.
All training is not created equal. Let’s cover some of the differences. To stand on the podium you must be well rounded. Top level athletes require it. You need to have the stamina to last the duration of the match. This will require grappling for extended amounts of time. You will also need muscle memory and automatic reflexes. This can be achieved by drilling a technique over and over. The final piece of the puzzle is competition training. Stepping up the intensity will fine tune your skills and get you ready to win.
Regular rolling like at the end of classes should be used to focus on specific goals that help you refine specific skills. Cardio Grappling is rolling with numerous training partners for one to three minutes each consecutively. This will help you build cardio and stamina (Learn to control breathing) so you can keep going longer. Matches can end quickly with a submission but can also go to the time limit.
Being able to hold out until the end can lead to victory if you are up by points. Grappling with as many different training partners for as long as you can hold out will give you a clear advantage.
When you are tired you are forced to use technique rather than strength. Grappling will also help you with mental awareness and force you to pace yourself.
We all have our favorite techniques. They are our favorites because we feel comfortable doing them and feel natural. Practicing these techniques over and over with a partner will create a link between the mind and the body greatly enhancing an instant reaction time.
Do not practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong. It is also extremely important to practice positions you are bad at. Situational or positional drilling will help you improve techniques you are uncomfortable with.
We highly suggest the “three technique” rule. Know and drill at least three techniques from every position. Practice each position with different training partners to get different degrees of pressure.
Remember, your opponent will be trying to put you into every bad position they can. Drilling escapes, defenses and counters are equally important as attacks. Remember, when you think you are doing well your opponent can turn the tables on you.
Drill as often as possible and strive to make precise movements with the fewest mistakes possible.
During regular classes we always take care of our partner ensuring we don’t train out of control. The difference between regular class and competition training is the intensity. We step it way up. We still take care of our training partner but push harder for positions and submissions.
We run competition training class just like a real tournament. Two competitors are invited on the mat and shake the hand of the referee. It is customary at this time for the two competitors to shake hands. The referee then shouts “Combate” which means fight.
The two competitors may or may not slap hands and bump fists. Remember, this is competition and your opponent may take this opportunity to catch you off guard. Unlike regular class, the two competitors start standing up.
Each match has a set time limit depending on your age. You will grapple until the time has ended and the referee shouts “Parou” (Stop) or a submission is achieved. Competition training is serious. There is no playing around.
You are there to get better and gain valuable experience and also to help your training partner get better.
Competition training requires dedication. Giving 100% is tough but will expose your weakness and allow you to work on it.
Each tournament promotion has different rules. It is extremely important to read and understand the rules of the promotion you will be competing in. The biggest difference in rules are the Gi and No Gi divisions. Your Coach can help guide you in the right direction. Below are several links to the most prevalent tournament promotions.
International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation
North American Grappling Association
Newbreed Ultimate Challenge
Tournaments have many divisions based on age, weight and rank. Trying to
“Make Weight” for a specific division is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. If you are close to a certain weight division we highly recommend you choose the next heavier weight class.
Trying to cut weight can be extremely dangerous even when done properly. Healthy eating habits will make you better on and off the mats. You are much better off staying at the same weight. You will feel much better and won’t be deprived of the nutrients your body needs for fuel.
Your body needs nutrients to perform at optimum level. We are not certified nutritionist’s but having competed we are aware of foods that are both good and not so good to keep you in competition mode.
Eating non processed foods are essential. Stay away from anything that contains lots of sugar. Water is your friend.
Drinking water helps you to stay hydrated allowing your joints to move freely and helps flush your system.
Teams receive points for each competitor. It’s important that you speak with your Instructor to clarify what team to register under. In most cases you will be fighting a competitor that is approximately your same Age, Rank and weight. Checking the tournament website is crucial in determining what category you fall into because different tournaments have different categories. It’s best to consult your Instructor before signing up to ensure you are in the proper category. In some tournaments it is common in the kids divisions to have girls and boys in the same divisions.
Many times adults have the option to move down a division in age or up a division in weight. This is allowed because it gives you a disadvantage. Competitors younger than you may be faster and or stronger. Competitors that weigh more than you can use size to put more pressure on you.
Moving to a different division may be the only option to get a fight. If you register for a division and you are the only one in it, you may be moved by the promotion to the next available division with someone in it.
In the IBJJF if you are a lone competitor, you may stay in that division and receive a gold medal but your team will not receive any points.
Some view staying in a division alone as unethical. This is a decision you will have to make.
In the IBJJF, if you place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in your division for Blue belt and up you are eligible to fight in the Open Class. The Open Class is all of the podium winners for your Age and rank. For instance, Master 4 Brown Belt all weight divisions.
Before the Tournament
Several days before your tournament you should not grapple. Your body has been pushed hard and needs to rest. Resist the urge to train one more time. You already know what you know and there is no need to add any anxiety.
It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious. Your competition feels the same way. Training any more will only put you at risk for injury. It’s also normal to feel like you have forgotten techniques.
Try to calmly go through your techniques in your head. Try not to go through too many scenarios of what might happen. This will only lead to more anxious feelings.
The night before your tournament it is important to get a good night’s rest. It will be tough but so are you. Visualize yourself on top of the podium with a Gold medal around your neck. Soak it all in. The sights, the smells, the sounds.
Try to think about how good it is going to feel when all your hard work pays off.
In competition there is a winner and a loser. It is very important to remember that losing a match is not the end of the world. It is just a result and we gain knowledge from results.
Day of the Tournament
Its fight day and you’re ready! This is not the time to let your emotions get the best of you. Anxiety will be high. Always remember the work you have put in up until this point. Trust in your hard work.
Show up early to get familiar with the venue. Locate everywhere you need to be ahead of time. This will cut down on confusion.
Some people prefer to psyche themselves up by listening to music while others just try to relax somewhere by themselves. This process is entirely up to you.
Just remember that your team supports you win or lose.
Check in with the registration desk to ensure all your information is correct. Check to see if you have been assigned to a specific mat and locate it.
After you have familiarized yourself with the logistics of the tournament it is time to chill. Do not let your mind wonder about possibilities. It is extremely important to focus on your next match.
There may be multiple matches but the next one is always the most important. Take each match one by one.
Your opponent has the same goals and intentions.
Get your grips and follow your three techniques. For all positions there is a counter or defense.
The referee has called you and your competitor on the mat. You’ve bowed to the referee, shaken their hand and its GO TIME!
You will experience a flood of emotions. This is normal. Try to think clearly and use your technique. Impose your will : )
Use the “three technique” rule. For any position just start going through your techniques. One , Two, Three. One of your techniques will work or you will find yourself in a new position. In a new position? Start again with the “three technique rule”.
Immediate after the match whether you win or lose it is necessary to acknowledge your opponent and thank them for a great fight and thank the referee. It is also great practice to show sportsmanship to the opponent’s coach when you come back to the sideline.
Regardless of how your opponent reacts, you represent the Gator Family and Robson Moura the Jiu-Jitsu team. We are always respectful.
Learning from Matches
Whether you win or lose there are always things you can learn from each match.
Did you win? Awesome!
What techniques did you use?
What was your state of mind?
Did you lose?
What was your biggest mistake?
How can you fix it?
You trained, you fought! Win or lose you are better for it. Think of all the things you were able to accomplish in such a short period of time. The majority of Jiu-Jitsu students never step foot on a competition mat. Be very proud of your accomplishment. Be sure to take everything you have learned and apply it to your training and take all of the confidence off the mats but always be humble. Win or lose we are family and I will always be proud of you. Coach Wallace