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How to Approach Jiu Jitsu Competition

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

Congratulations on your interest in competing! Jiu jitsu competition is a challenging process of preparation, testing, and learning. When approached in a certain way, students can benefit from competition immensely. We encourage all competitors to avoid approaching competitions as a win-lose situation. Doing so means you can only come out of it with a singular good/bad outcome. Teammates and family members are strongly urged to keep these good/bad, win/lose terms out of your conversations with the competitor.

For example, avoid asking questions like, "How did you do?" or "Did you win a medal?"

These closed-ended questions lead the student into developing absolute, black & white, good or bad conclusions. This is severely limiting and reinforces an oversimplified, judgmental, good/bad sense of self and world.

Instead, ask questions like:

What do you hope to get from competing?

What do you think will be the toughest part?

What was it like?

What did you learn?

How did you feel?

How do you feel about your performance?

What things were you able to execute?

What do you need to improve?

Using Competitions as a Tool for Improvement

The bottom line is that competition motivates people to put more effort, dedication, and focus into their jiu jitsu development. We encourage all competitors to approach the competition as a tool for improving their skills in a variety of areas. This means that instead of having only 1 possible good/bad outcome, the competitor can now look forward to a long list of positive outcomes.

Competition helps students develop skills in several areas:

- Management of stress and anxiety

- Learning to disarm internal and external pressures

- Learning to identify and disarm negative and limiting self-judgments

- Positive self-talk

- Emotional awareness and control

- Focusing on a goal and blocking out distractions

- Jiu jitsu technique

- Goal setting and planning

- Strategy

- Respect and sportsmanship

- Leadership and teamwork skills

- and in general, identifying what works and what doesn’t work

Ultimately, using competition as a tool for improvement is the embodiment of the process of Kaizen - the process of gradual and continuous improvement - which sits at the core of our Dojo philosophy.

As the student sees their skills improving and their skill set widening, he/she will begin to enjoy improved self-confidence, self-awareness, and self-efficacy in life.

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