Tag Archives: Bjj tournaments

Happy Friday! Words of Wisdom Edition

Happy Friday everyone!

Recently I was talking to a friend unfamiliar with jiu jitsu (I know, I still acquire those now and again: shocking) and they asked what competition was like. This was my response.

“Competitions can be sort of stressful at times but personally I feel, win or lose, a sense of accomplishment at the end of it: you did what you could and either you had a really great day, or the matches didn’t play out in your favor [or let’s be real, you made a mistake] and you need to try again. You only really lose if you let fear get the best of you and you no longer participate.”

Not the most eloquent, but it’s the truth. Just wanted to share with you all.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Article on Jiu Jitsu Outgrowing the IBJJF

Bloody Elbow published an interesting article about how (professional) jiu jitsu is outgrowing tournaments run by the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu JItsu Federation, for anyone who isn’t sure). As the sport grows, as jiu jitsu players turn professional and more events offer super fights and a cash prize, the IBJJF will become more irrelevant.

I agree with the author- while I think a number of higher competitors will continue to register for these events, these events will no longer be a high priority. As discussed in the article, we’re already seeing this trend with some of the bigger names in jiu jitsu: if there is a tournament to prepare for that will pay cash, competitors will opt out of the IBJJF tournaments.

I think there is still value in the IBJJF “brand” (for lack of a better term). There is still the impression of prestige to these events, but the organization is going to have to step up their game and offer more financial incentives if they want to keep star power at the larger tournaments. I think they have taken a step in the right direction with the BJJ Pro tournaments, in which winners are given a cash prize-  I just hope it’s only the beginning to something more, and not the only action the IBJJF is willing to take.

What do you guys think? Let me know- otherwise, have a great day everyone!

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Being a Black Belt is Kind of Like Being a Parent….

Over the past couple of months I’ve realized that in some way, being a black belt is sort of like being a parent. It’s definitely more than just teaching techniques- people look to you for guidance (mainly in regards to jiu jitsu, but sometimes not), even when you are not entirely sure of the next course of action.


You come in early, or you stay late after class because someone has a question or needs help. You patiently explain- again, and again- a particular concept, but then you have the reward of seeing their eyes light up when they finally get it or successfully complete the technique.

You get up early for events you are not even participating in, to take photos and support those who are taking part. And if this past weekend is any indication, I’m going to be the best, or worst mom ever:

Hey, is that so-and-so’s mom?


Is she really napping in the bleachers?



You (at least appear) to have this certain level of authority, but you also encourage lower ranks to think for themselves, to express their own personalities and creativity, so they too can progress in their jiu jitsu and take on a leadership/parental role in the academy- to develop into a full fledged adult, if we’re continuing with that analogy.

And speaking personally, you do it all because you care about your teammates, you want them to succeed, and sincerely wish for their success and happiness, just like you would for any family member you care about.


Just wanted to share with you all. Have a great day everyone!


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Metamoris and Gary Tonon- Huh?

So, due to the fact that I have a 9-5 job and spend the majority of my conscious moments on the mat, admittedly sometimes it feels like I live under a rock.

This would be one of those times:


First of all, I had no idea Metamoris was even in a position to offer this kind of deal to any competitor, or that they had offered it to Tonon. Second, I had no idea there was a response on Tonon’s end, declining the offer. I found all of this out through Instagram: which Metamoris, let’s be real, that’s an equally brilliant and awful way to publish a press release. Awful mainly, but brilliant in the “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” sort of way.

What do you guys think? There is a HUGE piece of the story we’re (obviously) not getting here. Anyone know more about this? Let me know- otherwise, have a great day everyone!

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Jiu Jitsu and Lessons in Humility

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but if I haven’t, I truly believe that Jiu jitsu is for everyBODY, not everybody. Jiu jitsu can accomodate the tall, the short, the lanky, the stocky- the list goes on and on. What ties all these people together- of all ages, races, really any demographic you can come up with, is a will and strength of character in the face of adversity, injury, and defeat.

in jiu jitsu, you WILL lose. You’ll lose matches you thought you should have won- you’ll also occasionally win matches you thought you totally should have lost. You’ll lose at white belt, you’ll lose at black belt. You’ll lose and think back on the match and reprimand yourself, saying that you know better than to do that thing at that time and what the hell were you thinking.

These losses are lessons in humility- they are very real, in your face reminders that you still have a lot to learn, even if you feel you have a certain proficiency, hell- mastery even of jiu jitsu. And it’s what you do with those reminders that define you as a jiu jitsu player. Do you make excuses, tell yourself that it was because you were feeling off that day, or do you accept that mistakes were made, and that you need to head back to the mats- to learn more and hone your technique? Do you hide from these reminders, or do you use them as motivation to go to class, to drill and understand your mistakes in an effort to correct them? Using your losses as opportunities to recognize your weaknesses and shortcomings will ultimately make you the better jitsuka, but you need to face these losses and short comings in order to improve.

Just some food for thought- have a great day everyone!


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Competing in Pans? Review the Updated IBJJF Rules

Everyone talked about this a while ago, about how the rules were going to change for IBJJF tournaments. I vaguely remember what was going to be changed, but considering I can’t remember what I discussed with someone last weekend, let alone things that were discussed months and months ago, my memory of what’s allowed now and what’s not is a bit fuzzy.

Thankfully, the IBJJF not only has the updated rule book on their site, but also a handy dandy cheat sheet to review what updates have been made, so you don’t have to read the whole thing over again.

Check it out, particularly if you are planning on competing at Pans next week or at an IBJJF tournament anytime soon!


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Congratulations to Our Competitors at NAGA this Past Weekend!

I’m sorry, I should have mentioned this earlier: this past weekend our team headed out to Broomall, PA and competed in a NAGA tournament. Win or lose, the team did well and I’m happy for everyone who put themselves out there and competed.

Great job, guys!

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BJJ and Competition: “If You Do This, I Will Lose My Mind”

This is another one of those phrases I never thought I would say in jiu jitsu class.

Sometimes competition can be just as nerve wracking for the coaches as it is for the competitors themselves. I firmly believe half the white hairs which comprise my gray streak are probably from coaching my teammates at tournaments. Well worth it, but still.

We’re headed to a NAGA this weekend, so during one of the classes we (the higher ranks) did a quick review of the rules and points with the white belts. We started to talk about mount, and points for taking the back, and I’m not entirely sure how we got to this point but I rolled onto my belly with my legs straight and just laid there, explained that position is what we call a flat turtle, cautioned them to avoid it and said,

“If you do this, I will lose my mind.”

I understand things happen sometimes beyond our control during a match, but in complete honesty- yeah, I would probably lose my mind. I don’t think it’s something they would even think about consciously doing, but again, crazy things happen sometimes in tournament.

Just wanted to share with you all. Have a great day everyone!

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BJJ and Competition: Do Medals Equal Promotions?

Graciemag recently posted an article asking if tournament titles determine promotions.

Personally, I think the short answer to this is that in general I think there’s a bit of correlation, but no causation. I know a lot of people think there’s almost a formula when it comes to promotions: jiu jitsu player+gold medal at a tournament= promotion. But it doesn’t really work that way. Or at least it shouldn’t- as I’ve mentioned before people (even instructors) aren’t perfect and neither is the system. In general however, promotions should depend on the student and their long term progress, rather than how well they did for just a few minutes on one day in this big adventure we call the journey of jiu jitsu.

Sure, tournaments are a great way for students to test their mettle and to see how well they can perform under pressure, but when looking at the big picture it’s such a small element to the whole thing. And instructors for the most part (I would hope) understand that: they watch you drill and train, what you’ve been learning, what you’re currently working on, your attitude- if you have the maturity to handle a promotion.

What do you guys think? Let me know- otherwise, have a great day everyone!



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Where Does Your Jiu Jitsu Come From?

I understand this is a pretty odd question, but something you should think about while training now and again. To be clear, I’m not talking about what school you belong to, your lineage in the whole jiu jitsu family tree: I’m talking about mentally and emotionally, what is the driving force to your techniques? Where is your jiu jitsu coming from? It can vary from day to day, and different stages in your jiu jitsu adventure (yes, I still prefer to call it an adventure rather than a journey).

For some people, particularly for lower belts, it can be fear or panic. They are primarily reactive or at a standstill- they know things are happening to them that they don’t like and don’t quite have an extensive enough skill set to do much about it at the time. Or, when they do move, they blast through techniques at a lightning fast, spastic pace- probably because they are afraid if they go too slow that their efforts will be thwarted. I’m not saying this as a condemnation- trust me folks, we’ve all been there at some point in our lives. It’s through drilling, sparring and (personally, I think) competition we can get past this panic. After some time you realize really the worst thing that’s going to happen is you lose- you then get up, dust yourself off and try again.

For some people, anger can be their driving force-which as you can imagine has some some (sorta) benefits, but definitely more detrimental than anything. That anger could be directed towards their opponent or training partner, or turned inward at personal frustrations. Again, not judging, we’ve all been there. Sure, you may feel you have more speed, strength, whatever to get the technique done but it’s sort of like tinder in a fire- it burns bright, but runs out quickly- leaving you exhausted and no where near the end of a match.

Sometimes jiu jitsu can come from a place of curiosity- what happens when I attempt this, put my leg here, choose to go there. Sure, it leaves you more than ever in a vulnerable position but can also assist in discovering new positions and helps you think outside of the box.

Finally, sometimes jiu jitsu can come from a place of peace and happiness. Personally, this is my favorite way to train/compete/whatever. Keeping calm, relaxed, and in a good place leaves you open to any opportunities that come your way, and I think gives you a better chance to figure things out even when a position gets a little wonky.  Granted it’s not a place we can always reach, but something I really think we all should strive for: to be calm, confident in what we’re doing when on the mat.

So, think about your training recently- where has your jiu jitsu been coming from? Do you think there’s another place your jiu jitsu can come from so to speak, and if so where? Let me know- otherwise, have a great day everyone!


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