Why we compete

“Why would you participate?”

You probably train hard on training, you have good training buddies. You guys roll hard, what else can you gain from this event?

Let’s start with the essential reason of any martial art competition:

Competition is THE way to test your skills against a fully resisting opponent.

You don’t know your opponents game. That makes it interesting.
You will face different situations and problems, get caught by techniques that you’d otherwise never seen or that never felt ‘this tight’ before.
You’ll also get the chance to throw all your best techniques to a fully resisting opponent.

There is no better way to check yourself.

“I roll harder on training!”

You claim that you roll ‘hard’, but what do you have to gain or lose on training? What is the true motivation to win that roll? Did you really had him in a submission or did he tap out because it was uncomfortable?
With that in mind, when you step on the mats of a competition, the game changes completely. There is definitely a bigger motivation. Fame, money, willpower, medals, there is definitely something to gain from a victory.
Your opponent paid entrance fee, prepared himself mentally and physically for this match and will give his 100% to get the win. His lover, family and friends came to watch him perform.
You will be sure that your opponent is fully resisting and countering everything you are throwing at him. This makes a competition so interesting and so special!
This also brings another factor to the discussion: stress.

How can you handle the stress?

Stress is all around us. In life you’ll get into situations where you’ll have no control. Whether it is work, family, sports, at some point in your life you will be faced with difficult situations. Every BJJ practitioner knows that you aren’t only learning a sport or self defense, but that our art is far greater and more complex than that.
You learn life lessons.
You learn how to withstand an uncomfortable situation and how to overcome it. Some people disregard this aspect and call BJJ just a sport, but if you’ve never tested yourself, how can you know this is true?
Use these competitions to learn more about yourself and gain control over uncontrollable and uncomfortable situations. It will help you and your loved ones in your personal life.

“I don’ want to get injured!”

Let’s be clear about one thing, most injuries occur on training.
You only have max 3 – 5 fights in a competition. Whereas on training you roll >5 times each training!
Secondly, in a competition match your awareness will be much higher than normal and you’ll be more careful of the situation, which itself decreases the chances on getting hurt.
Most injuries in competition occur because the competitor has too much pride. They don’t want to give up.
Please realize that the art of BJJ is an effective art (with other words: It works!) and that, once you get caught in a fully locked-in submission, a tap is the only way out!
Check yourself before you wreck yourself!
You have the power to end the fight any time you wish. Use this power wisely!

My advice: Swallow your pride, applaud the better man, and take notes on how to get back stronger and better!