Should you compete?

Do you think everyone SHOULD compete if they train?

I'm facing a deadline at work, so Ill post what I think a bit later.

I don't think anyone has to compete. I've heard numerous stories about some American black belts who don't compete, but tear up mats when they train.

Personally, I don't consider myself a great competitor, but I enjoy it. If I stop competing tomorrow, I won't enjoy Jiu Jitsu any more or less.

It's a great experience that everyone should try at least once. With the support of your team screaming and cheering you on there is no better feeling win or lose.

I had my first competition at the weekend and it wasn't the best experience ever. I'm not sure if i'll do it again.

Seems too much politics involved in it.

I competed twice and will most likely not do it again. My first experience was waiting 4 hours to get guillotined in 60 seconds, which is no big deal however my instructor wouldn't talk to me after for some time, very embarassing. My second time I did very well but the politics involved were sickening. Also, it was rather sad seeing some great coaches yelling at their students from the sidelines stuff like "Break his F-ing arm off", "Break it"...that kind of seemed in poor taste to me. There were obvious judges favorites and the like. As well the price of some of these competitions is outrageaous.

BenBJJ is correct.

When you compete you will experience what part of your game you are comfortable in and what makes you uncertain. It will tell you what you should work on when you come back to the gym. If you do any mistake in a competition you will remember them for life!!! and hopefully never do them again. I also see that most of the guys that compete have a more relaxed attitude when they train, they dont compete so much during training, they try new things and dont worry so much if they are beeing tapped.

A related article

I recommend to everyone who I train with that yes, they should compete, even if only once.

Sure not every competition experience is fantastic (nor is every instructor a great coach) but the rewards are certainly beyond a mere medal/title, the mateship etc is worth it alone.

In my opinion, there is a definite risk vs reward ratio.

I choose not to compete at this time b/c I know of far too many people whose only major injuries were sustained during competition. I'm a blue, and if I was younger I'd certainly give it a shot. I'm pushing 35 though and if I can't work due to injury I lose money. If I was 20 and my only concern was school, it would be different. Now I have a career, a house etc and an injury could cost me greatly.

I'm even cautious about who I roll with in class and in fact the majority of my teaching comes from privates w/ Charles Dos Anjos, a Gracie Barra BB 2nd degree. I roll with a few purples and a brown that I trust as well.

When you get older priorties change. Perhaps when I get old enough and more expierienced for the "executive" (old guys) bracket my thoughts will change as the competitors are mostly in the same boat as I am.

Competition for me serves two purposes. When I am motivated, all I want to do is be the best, win every tournament that comes up. Comp also helps keep you motivated. You know you cant slack off if your competing in two weeks.

There is a huge difference between "tearing it up in training" and excelling in a competition environment. Many guys who look dominating in training get slaughtered like meek little lambs in a tournament, because they can't overcome their inner fears.

I believe that if you want to truly excel in BJJ, you need to expose yourself to the stress and anxiety of a competition environment. Plus, a competition can give you a short-term goal to keep training hard for a set period of time. However, if you want to just casually train and get a little exercise then it's ok not to compete.

i suck but i do it to support grappling.

* Makes note never to compete in Operator's district *

God post Koma. I agree 100%. I got hurt bad. Now that I have a family I don't compete at all. Same thing with my training partners. I only trust a handful of them.

Thanks Cherrypicker.

As you grow older, you have more responsibility. I'm willing to take the risk of BJJ training, but not BJJ competition. In a typical tournament setting, I'd get smoked by most younger blue belts. I'm also not a big fan of heel hooks which have become all the rage. You can just get hurt too easily. A heel hook can hurt you before you even have a chance to tap.

Many younger guys feel a need to win it seems and go balls out with every submission. You don't even have a chance to tap before your elbow or knee pops.

I'll stick with the more controlled players and concentrate on technique rather than tournaments.

I agree with much of what Koma said (risking your job for a hobby) but there are risks with any sport. i had a friend who had his cornea detached from getting a finger to the eye while playing basketball at a gym. freak injuries happen, but i think you are more likely to get hurt in a hobby that involves submission holds than baseball. i constantly struggle with this risk thing and really want to go back to training.

my school was heavy into competition, you were strongly urged to compete. i really didn't trust my instructor when he advised me to compete. seems like competitions are fund raising events for gyms and gyms do favors for other gyms (get 10 of your guys in my comp & i'll put 10 of mine in your comp). same deal with seminars.

with all that said, i think if you train you should compete if you are in the right situation. for me it is not the right situation - no rich parents, tight job market, no one to bail me out.

I don't think it should be a requirement to advance in BJJ, but by the same token, i feel everyone should compete at least once or twice.
Like people have stated above, it gives you an immediate goal to strive for in training. And you get to learn about your abilities once you're in a do or die situation like competition.

Personally, i've learned a lot about my game and what i need to improve during the few times that i've competed.

just give it a shot.. who cares if you lose. it will be a learning experience. however you must prepare for competition.. dont go in without trainin and expect go get much positive out of it.

I hate it, but it's necessary. The amount you improve getting ready for a competition is worth it alone. The intensity goes up and I honestly think that it takes you to the next level in your skills. That being said, I still hate the whole thing, but the reward of partying after with the team is all worth it.

I do not enjoy competing, and have often been injured when competing which has taken time away from my training, which is not a productive thing, IMHO, however I do compete several times a year for the experience. I also recommend people try it at least once, because they may not know if they like it or not unless they try.

Here is my take:

You know yourself. If you have any doubts about how you react in a stressful situation, you owe it to yourself to compete until you are sure that most of what you know can be applied under duress.

I once asked Pedro Rizzo if he was nervous before a fight. He said, "Of course, but I know that the fight is the natural result of training. It is the reason we train, and you can't have one without the other."

What I took from that is that we train to be functional in a fight, to use what we know when we need to. Competition is a safe way to simulate the kinds of emotions and stresses you encounter in a real fight. Training in the gym isn't, to the same extent.

I was the guy who could talk about technique and pull it off in class, but would freeze in competition (see ADCC 1998 or just about any BJJ comp Ive been in for evidence). I decided to enter almost every tournament in my area until I could perform the same way in comp as I was in training. Over the last year, I finally reached that goal.

Now I just compete for fun and to represent the team, but I dont feel the same pressure to enter every tournament in order to reach my goals.