BJJ Tournament Tips: How to Get Your Mind in the Game Instead of Simply Showing Up
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  • Post published:13/05/2021
  • Post last modified:13/05/2021

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a demanding sport, both mentally and physically. It combines proper technique and leverage with mental focus so that, if done properly, anyone, no matter their size, can take down their opponent.

Unfortunately, for many practitioners of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, they have trouble advancing in tournaments. No matter how much they train physically, how much they work on their techniques and discipline, they can’t seem to takedown more than one or two opponents before they are defeated. If this happens to you, it’s not because you are not good enough, or well-trained enough: it could be because you cannot get into the right state of mind. BJJ tournaments can be grueling, so you need to get into a winner’s mindset if you want to advance. Here are some quick tips on how to do just that.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Prime Your Mind

The first key to successfully overcoming mental obstacles and making your way deeper into tournaments is to prepare your mind hours, even days in advance. Tournaments present a lot of challenges that you may not consider until you face them, so you need to not only physically train properly beforehand, you need prepare yourself to accept new challenges as they come.

The best way to do this is to get into the “winner’s mindset.” Tell yourself every day that you are good enough to beat anybody. Visualize yourself successfully performing your takedowns, locks and chokeholds on your opponent. What you can see in your mind is what you will be able to do, so think positive thoughts about your abilities and see yourself advancing through the tournament.

On the day of the tournament, arrive as early as you can and take in the atmosphere. Familiarize yourself with the arena and get yourself comfortable so that you do not feel out of place or are overwhelmed when it’s your turn to compete.

Train Your Mind While Training Your Body

Whenever you practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, practice with your mind as well. Don’t just go through the motions of your physical techniques, but be in the moment and understand those techniques with your mind. Take note on how they feel as you go through the motions, from beginning to end.

This may be one of the most difficult things to do because it is what hard work is truly about. Some people think they want to work hard until they realize what hard work is. If you want to do better in BJJ tournaments and, hopefully, eventually win some, you will need to train both your body and mind, every time you train. Success is a marathon, not a sprint, and each day you spend training hard — both mentally and physically — will get you one step closer to your goal.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Nobody likes to make mistakes, especially ones that cost you an advancement in a tournament you’ve trained hard for. But mistakes are opportunities to further your learning and do better next time.

If you make a mistake, don’t get down on yourself and take it badly. Sure, you can be disappointed, even upset, but only for a moment. Instead, think about what happened and how you can prevent the same thing from happening in the future. If you choose the wrong technique and it ends up costing you, analyze why it did and what you should have done instead.

Getting yourself into the winning mind-state isn’t something you do the weekend of a tournament. Rather, it’s something you should do every day of your life if you want to get better, and learning from your mistakes is a great way to keep you thinking about yourself, your abilities and the areas you need to work on most.

Accept that It’s Difficult

If you want to advance in tournaments and become the best BJJ practitioner you can be, you must accept that the journey to achieve your best will be long and difficult. Understand that if you want to be a champion, you will need to have the right mindset as well as the right techniques, and that takes a long time to achieve.

Accepting the difficulties and challenges ahead will give you the patience you will need. It will lessen the losses and setbacks you will inevitably face along the way, making it easier to get up and keep working toward your goal.

Getting into the right mindset may be the toughest part of winning BJJ tournaments. Think about these tips and do your best.

Photo Credits

Photos are pixabay public domain

Guest Author Bio
Leah Davidson

Leah Davidson is a BJJ instructor. She has been practicing martial arts from a young age so it was a natural step for her to become a trainer and help kids and teens in her area.



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