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Entering your first BJJ or MMA competition

Everyone who comes to train or compete does so for different reasons. Finding out why they started training and or competing is fascinating and the myriad of reasons you’ll hear may even help you to understand your own reasons on a deeper level.

As much as we can try to simulate a competition environment in the gym, we can never give you a complete appreciation for what competition is going to be like.

All the training you’ve done up until this point culminates in this match, whether you’ve been training weeks months or years, now is your chance to show what you can really do. You bear all in front of your coaches, training partners, friends and family, against someone who has had an equal opportunity to prepare ( assuming they’ve been honest about their previous experience, training or someone that isn’t “sandbagging”).

For better or worse your first competition is rarely how you expect it to be,and it’s important to be mindful of that. Arrogance or ignorance can masquerade as confidence and being overconfident before the event, won’t motivate the best preparation. Nervousness and self-doubt are great motivators for preparation and performance. It’s a delicate balance between being nervous enough to prepare well, but not so nervous that your nerves overwhelm you on the day.

Competition is great because it allows everything that you do to be scrutinised. Looking at your preparation and how that relates to your performance allows you and us to grow and work together as a team towards developing your game even more. Treating your first competition as an opportunity to collect data is undoubtedly the best way to improve your performance and in turn the odds of a favourable outcome for you. Mentally try to collect all the telemetry about the event, in the run up to during and after the event.


Every amateur fight you may have is only practice until you turn professional. Every Jiu Jitsu match you have is only practice until advanced or black belt.

Here are a couple of videos from Avi and Griff talking about their first times competing.

– Antony Griffiths