Tips for first BJJ tournie please


Brown Belt
Aug 31, 2003
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Ok im in my 4th week of class, and granted i know completely that im gonna get my ass kicked in this, but i want to at least put a decent showing, this is how the categories go

170-and below
195 and above

white belts

now i know since it pretty much takes a long while to gain a belt, that im gonna be stuck with some experienced grapplers in this, but i just want to put on a good showing, My huge weak areas right now are getting sweeped while in someone's guard, getting rolled from sidemount, and escaping sidemount. any advice you guys can give me i would appreciate, we cant use heel hooks, but i think ankle locks are alright, thanks for all the advice you can give.
Do a google search for "gracie jiu-jitsu techniques" and one of the first 3 results will be a page that has a nice list of common escapes depending on the position you're in, top or bottom.
It would be good for you to study these, just so you have some idea of the movements necessary to escape different positions. There are picture sequences so you can see what's going on. Good luck.

Keep those arms tucked when you've been mounted or you're in someone's guard to prevent them from getting an armbar. That's the best advice I could offer I guess.
When is the tournament first? Is it a Novice/Beginer division 6 months and under?

How often do you train?

How do you rank against other beginners at your school? (If its a 6 months and under, someone at your school that has trained 6 months)

My advice would be to train longer before a tournament. You haven't been going enough to even be prepared for it. Where I train we usually alot 6-8 weeks to prep for a tournament.

If you do compete, if you want a good showing, just dont give anything away by posting an arm wrong or spinning out the wrong direction giving up your back. If someone gets a RNC on you, its like a slam dunk in basketball.
Its on the 25th of feb, and its all whitebelts, no matter how many stripes, which sux large nuts for me, but in class i am competitive with everyone except for 1 student who is a whitebelt but moving up in 2 months, i more or less learn alot, and i win sometimes on points, i have good escapes from armbars, and i keep my guard active, i just dont want to look like a chump. i know this tournie is something i wont do good in, but the point of me competing is so i dont get too nervous and choke, and become accustomed to grappling in front of crowds. more or less im doing this to mature and get some feel of how tournies are, and just to try and be my best, even if i know right now its too early to tell, i just like testing myself.
Well if thats the case. Take time during your rolling sessions just to isolate drill everything you think you might encounter. Work escapes the most, guard retention, guard passing, pinning, 1-2 sweeps from various positions, maybe a few go to subs. But drill drill drill. Worst thing is when people get use to dominating people in class, they go to a tournament and get dominated and haven't work their escapes enough. Dont worry so much about free rolling, but more about taking the time to perfect your movements with resistance.
You've got a good attitude. You'll be fine.

The most important thing is not to be discouraged if you do lose badly, think of it as one tournament of many, instead of the only tournament you've done.

And always remember, no palo! Don't stop!
just try to relax and don't hesitate to go for moves - the first tournament is usually just a learning experience. i think a lot of people (myself included) get nervous at their first tournament and become apprehensive about trying moves that may put them in danger (e.g. shooting for takedowns, etc.), but this prevents you from learning as much during your first tournament.

in terms of preparation, i think before my first tournament, i didn't realize how important takedowns and positioning would be. i'm not a fan of the point system, but unfortunately, a lot of guys will win on points just because they get the takedown and maintain one position for the duration of the match. i won my first tournament match this way (even though i was going for submissions), and i lost my second match this way. practice your sweeps and escapes.
work on your sucks when you find an opening and cannot take advantage of it due to exhaustion....
Ouch that hurt and K'z factory have pretty covered the most important things....Good Luck
Mirada said:
You've got a good attitude. You'll be fine.

The most important thing is not to be discouraged if you do lose badly, think of it as one tournament of many, instead of the only tournament you've done.

And always remember, no palo! Don't stop!

thanks for the sound advice mirada, and to all that post on this thread i appreciate all the advice, im nervous, but i just love the feeling of acheiving goals, and just bettering myself. It sounds cheezy but the best days of the week for me are when i get to go to class.
I had my first tournament after about three weeks of training.

Depending on your overall grappling skill (including any wrestling background), experience might be the greatest reward. My fight lasted about a minute and a half, and I lost by armbar. But getting a chance to "feel" the tournament atmosphere was a tremendous plus. It also puts an additional focus into every class when you compete.

Skills-wise, I agree with the idea of focusing on just a few techniques that you've had success with in class/training. As they say, tournaments aren't necessarily the time to START being creative--especially after only four weeks of training.

I'm still a novice (5 months), so I'm very big on replacing the guard right now. For you, focusing on making your best attacks even better and shoring up any holes in your defense (i.e. do you have a good escape from rear mount or side control?) are probably things that can be accomplished in the next four weeks (depending on how often you train).

All the luck in the world to ya. Jiu jitsu is great. Don't forget to come back and let us all know how you did.
Thanks wog, hey outta curiosity maybe you can help me, whenever someone has me in sidemount, i cant create enough space to bring my knee inside to push myself into guard, any ideas? and 1 last question whenever i am in someones guard i try breaking it with my elbows, but it seems to telegraphic, is there any other things to do besides sinching in the elbows to break the guard? i also keep my hands on their hips to not let them come up, but they usually use their legs and either sweep me, or get me off balance enough so i stop breaking their guard...any help will be great, i want to work on these areas the most.
There are definitely more accomplished grapplers here than I that can answer both questions. You might want to start a thread for each one so that they'll notice and respond.

To the second question, one technique I've seen but haven't tried myself is to open your closed guard just enough so that you can move your legs up to wrap around his biceps when he's doing the elbow-digging thing. Once his arms are trapped, grab the cuff on one side (say, to your left) and grab the pants leg on the other side near the knee. Then, using your legs and your hand on the pants leg, sweep him over to the left.

To the first, I've never tried to use my elbows to pass the guard. Most of the best guard passes are standing. But my favorite, on the ground guard pass, is this one from Saulo Ribeiro ... 6.WMV
IF you are struggling with the elbow knee escape from side control its because you are relying to much on using the strength of your arms to create space. Bridge up and use your elbows and forearms to hold them up as you transition on to your hip. There are a lot of nuances in doing it. Im actually doing a mock tournament prep to get a little bit better in shape (winter kills me, i eat to much).

If you are getting swept you aren't basing right. You are committing your weight in one direction more than another. It's really easy to feel out if someone isn't balanced. I usually posture up and hold posture for a 20-30 secs and wait for them to open the guard for me. If you are based right they are going to have to pull out all of the stops in the book to break it. If they dont I stand up and break the guard standing. Even most people will have some tricks to breaking posture. We covered about 6 ways two nights ago about breaking posture. 2 of our guys are in Florida right now for some tournament. We covered it for them as that will become a huge part of the game if you end up in or with guard.
The thing I like the most about tournaments is you learn your weaknesses very quickly and you see what holds, submissions and counters are used most often. You then try to incorporate these into your grappling game for you next tournament.
I don't know if this is good advice, but I just did my first tourney (3 months of bjj, no prior grappling) and I spent the last two weeks sweating out every weakness I had....obviously the list was quite long! I was especially nervous about my standup because it was entirely new to me.

The night before the meet I decided I was going to shoot, shoot and shoot some more when I got on the mat.

I got takedowns in both of my matches, they were ugly, but at least I got myself into the flow rather than thinking and being aprehensive. I dont' know if that helps, or even if it's good advice, but it helped me get to doing the things that I knew rather than worrying about what I didn't.

Good luck, let us know how it goes!