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Updated: Dec 1, 2022

We recently had a chance to sit down with Professor Flavio Almeida to discuss his perspective on competitive Jiu-Jitsu. Prof. Almeida is a 5th-degree black belt who has competed on the world stage for many decades. Flavio proposes the notion that some form of competition benefits everyone and believes competitiveness to be one of the most important driving forces behind the development of BJJ. Enjoy the read...


This week on the GB Compnet blog, we discuss the top 4 reasons that all Jiu-Jitsu students should compete at least once.

Many instructors at Gracie Barra are very passionate about competition and put a lot of effort and enthusiasm into building their Competition Teams.

Not every Gracie Barra Jiu-JItsu student has the goal of being a World Champion. Still, there are several solid reasons students should consider competing as part of their training.

1 - To push yourself out of your comfort zone.

You train with your favorite training partners at every class and are familiar and comfortable with each other's games. It's a great workout but an entirely different experience to test your skills in an adrenaline-filled situation under bright lights and in front of a crowd!

This will require many students to leave their comfort zone and open themselves to new experiences.

Prof. Flavio Almeida - himself a World Champion and, more recently, Masters competitor - talks about competition being the impetus for leaving our comfort zones.

"First and foremost, it has been my experience as a teacher for 20 years now, is that competition is an essential part of Jiu-Jitsu. No matter the age or level, every practitioner should engage in some form of competition. For some, a sparring session at their school is the right level of competition. For others, competing on the world stage is needed to step outside of their comfort zones and continue to grow as martial artists.

2 - To stretch your technical abilities to a whole new higher level.

Preparing for the competition will force you to sharpen your existing skills and add a new technique or position to your game. The samurai would call this "sharpening your sword." The more intense training to prepare for a tournament will force you to develop your technique to be your absolute sharpest for your matches.

"The number one reason, the priority, actually the purpose behind the competition is exactly to stretch our abilities to a new level. To continuously grow as a martial artist," says Prof. Flavio.

3 - Accelerate the learning curve

Many instructors and competitors are adamant that the lessons learned from competing in one tournament are equivalent to several months of regular training.

They feel that the competition experience deeply drives these lessons into our minds. A mistake leading to a loss will echo in minds for a long time, and a successful technique that won a match will be forever cemented in our games.

Why is it that the tournament setting is so conducive to learning? Prof. Flavio feels that we experience "a different level of consciousness in the heat of competition. And we are very open to learning everything. Everything that there is to be learned."

Technically speaking, you see things you wouldn't see in other conditions. It's almost like your brain operates at a much higher capacity for those few minutes of that fight."

4 - To work within your GB team and push each other together.

As a member of the GB Competition team, you will support your GB Teammates and, in turn, be supported by your teammates in preparing for the event. You will be responsible for showing up to every training session to sharpen each other and improve as a team.

Prof. Flavio echoes the idea of connecting as a team: "You are going to develop a level of emotional bond with your coaches and training partners, your brothers and sisters in arms that you would never have developed otherwise. That's really what happens out there."

As a GB Student, consider the role the competition can play in your Jiu-Jitsu journey, and stay tuned on our website for upcoming CompNet events in your region.

Blog Written by Mark Mullen


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