T Nation

First Tournament...

Sooo, t-7 days until I fight in my first grappling tournament. A few details…

I’m 5’11, currently 160 (yes, a skinny fucker) and have been doing BJJ for 2.5 months. Before that, I did Jiu Jitsu (the STANDARD variety, which is basically a Karate/Judo/Aikido hybrid). I don’t expect to do very well due to my lack of experience on the ground but my trainer thinks it will teach me a lot and the rate of injury is usually very low in grappling matches…

I currently roll 2, sometimes 3 times a week. No weightlifting for the past six weeks, but advanced calisthenics (I can actually do pistol squats now ^^). No specific conditioning but since I’ve yet to gas in training I’m not too worried.

Anything I should keep in mind?

Show up, go hard, don’t panic, and have fun. That’s about it. And don’t go in expecting to lose, they’re not going to pair you up with Roger Gracie.

[quote]devildog_jim wrote:
Show up, go hard, don’t panic, and have fun. That’s about it. And don’t go in expecting to lose, they’re not going to pair you up with Roger Gracie. [/quote]

Great advice. Be ready for how hard your opponent is going to come at you. Be ready to go hard back.

Agree with them.

Also, be confident. Don’t underestimate what you learned and try to relax. It’s a learning experience, don’t expect everything to be perfect.

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
I don’t expect to do very well due to my lack of experience on the ground but my trainer thinks it will teach me a lot and the rate of injury is usually very low in grappling matches…[/quote]

If this is your first one then use it as learning experience but have more faith in your abilities than going in not expecting to do well. You will be matched up with people of your same skilll level and weight (hopefully) so strive to do your best. If it’s a large tournament then expect to sit around alot. They are really kinda boring unless you bounce around and watch your teammates roll. If you do wander around, just be very cautious of when they call your division because it seems the announcer is always talking. After a while, you will pretty much tune them out. You will probably also need to pack some food. They usually do the kids first before they turn loose the adults so it could be a while if you have to make the rules meeting first thing in the morning.

On a training note, you may start your rolls at your school on your feet. If so, that is great, because most schools start on their knees. Take-downs are almost a lost art at some schools so be aware that you will need to know how to start on your feet for a tournament. Finally, watch your gas and make sure to breathe. New guys start balls out and gas quickly. My first few tournnaments I just wanted to take some of my favorite techniques and see how they stacked up against new opponents.

Good luck.

The rate of injury in grappling matches may be lower (compared to what?) but, the rate of injury within grappling matches is higher the lower the belt ranking. White belts tend to get retarded. Is this no gi and will leglocks be allowed? If so, be careful.

Have fun. Don’t take it too seriously, but don’t fuck around either. Get your head straight before every match and try to dominate. The mental game is as fun to me as the actual grappling.

Don’t worry about injuries. I usually come out of these tourneys with some matburn and a sore ankle. Tap readily to arm, shoulder and knee-locks and you’ll be safe, even at whitebelt. There’ll be a few retards in your bracket, but most of them won’t be very good to begin with.

Good luck.

Don’t worry about trying to land submissions. Wrestle, stay on top, and win on points.

Utilize judo throws and surprise people.

Good pointers; thank you all. Fortunately I have an awesome coach (a 4’11, 100lbs woman but still) who really went into detail concerning the technical aspects you mentioned. I tend to be stronger than most BJJ guys in my weight class, so that’s a plus. I’ve started to push a bit harder while rolling this week so I get used to the intensity… Chances are I won’t win my weight class but I’m determined to dominate at least one match. If I do that, it was a good day ^^