The question likely running through everyone’s mind almost constantly is should I compete? If so, when is the right time? Am I ready? How will I know?
These are all great questions and things you should be asking. Before we dive too far into this I’d like to share a quote from Tom DeBlass.
“Competition must be a result of your love for Jiu Jitsu” – Tom DeBlass
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What is your reason for wanting to compete? Is it because that’s what everyone at you academy is doing? Is it because you want to prove you are the best? What is your reason for wanting to compete?
Do you truly love Jiu Jitsu and want to showcase your skills? Or maybe your drive is more to have a benchmark, a measure of progress if you will?
Whatever the case, I think that ultimately you are the only one that can determine the why behind signing up for a competition. Beyond that I fully expect that your instructor would want to have a say in if they think you are ready to compete or not, and in addition to that, I wouldn’t be surprised if they offered up a required (or strongly encouraged) training schedule that they expected you to adhere to I the time between now and the tournament.
Maybe you are on the fence about competing and unsure if it’s right for you. My advice here would be to go for it. There are so many benefits to competing, and really no down side working speaking of. First and foremost, when we look at the benefits is the fact that you will train hard. As human beings we rarely push our bodies, or our minds for that matter, to their fullest capacity. Chances are in day to day training you are leaving at least 50 percent of your ability in the reserve tank. Competing forces you to tap into that reserve and really push yourself. It’s not only likely, but very probable that you will train harder for this competition that you have ever trained in your life.
As a result of training so hard, you will likely experience some change in your diet, without realizing it, you will likely find yourself naturally gravitating towards foods that fuel your body rather than foods that pollute your body and or drain you of energy. Diet is always one of the hardest things we face. Setting goals year after year that this will be the year, but the reality is, statistically, most of us don’t change much, or anything at all. Old habits are hard to break and it’s easy to keep reaching for the same comfort foods when things don’t go as planned, or we have a tough day. Training for competition often times included a diet of some sort in order to cut some weight for the tournament and make weigh ins. Because of this factor and your commitment to the goal, it is likely that you will steer away from the garbage foods and focus much more on the healthier foods that you like, but are also fuel for your body.
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When you start to combine the efforts of your increased training volume and healthier eating lifestyle, you will start to see noticeable changes in not only your body fat and body shape, but also in your energy levels and overall health. Jiu Jitsu works incredible miracles when it comes to transforming your lifestyle. If you are looking to amplify these benefits you can add in intermittent fasting which is a something elite athlete and academy owner Tom DeBlass is a huge advocate for. DeBlass has a quick and easy guide available to anyone looking to electrify their results with additional training, a healthier diet AND adding in intermittent fasting and body weight exercises. “Ripped in 12 weeks: Intermittent Fasting & Easy Bodyweight Fitness” – by Tom DeBlass is sure to help you kick your results into high gear.
We have talked a lot about the physical benefits of competing, such as increased training time and a healthier diet leading to not only a healthier and likely happier you, but also a more ripped, and savage you as you will, by default, get better at Jiu Jitsu just by simply putting in the time on the mats. What we haven’t spent time on yet is the mental impact of training to compete and actually competing. The thing about competing is it is mentally challenging. There’s the anxiety of not knowing who you will fight (in some cases) meaning you can’t prepare and study their game. On top of that there’s the unknown of how many fights you will have, when they will be, so on and so forth. Competing forces you to develop mental fortitude and discipline unlike anything else in life. You will be required to stick to your training regimen if you want to be successful in competition. You will have to push through the days when you don’t want to go train, and show up anyway, so that you are showing up ready on the day of the competition. You will be forced to face the fear of the unknown and walk out on the mat and face someone you have likely never seen, and have no idea how they will perform.
Jiu Jitsu is amazing for our health, there’s no argument there. People see it, and feel it daily as they start training. Competing is how we take that to the next level and really squeeze out all of the benefits we can from Jiu Jitsu. Forcing us into becoming the best versions of ourselves. Jiu Jitsu, and competing are simply a lifestyle and the characteristics learned from both carry over into every aspect of life making us better at our careers, better in society, and ultimately better at enjoying life. So is competing right for you? Only you can decide that. It certainly comes with a lot of benefits, but those benefits aren’t free, you have to earn them… daily…
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