Why Should you Compete in Local and National Competitions?

By Gabriella McCrossan

So you’ve decided you want to compete. Now you have to choose a competition to sign up for. The choices may seem endless. You could buy a plane ticket and go to the biggest competition you can find, or you could drive across town (or maybe across your state) for a more local tournament. Let’s take a look at some things to consider to decide which would be right for you.

Competing locally has a lot of merits. For one thing, the cost is usually lower. You’ll save on entry fees in most cases, as well as travel costs from fuel or plane tickets, to hotel rooms and most likely meals out associated with traveling. You can probably convince some of your teammates to go with you if they aren’t already signed up. It’s a great opportunity to get to know some of your teammates during the tournament or during a carpool road trip to get there for the day. You’ll get to know people from other schools and gyms in your area. There is usually less pressure when competing locally, although nerves are part of competing no matter where you go.

Competing at a bigger tournament that you might have to travel to has its merits as well. One of the biggest bonuses of going to a bigger tournament, like Master World’s for instance, is that you will have more competitors in your division. Especially if you are part of a less represented demographic in Jiu Jitsu brackets, going to big competitions can be the only way to find appropriate matches.

These competitions also come with more challenges. Partly in the form of bigger brackets and tougher competition, but also in the form of all of the planning that goes into them. There are travel plans and possibly time off of work that have to be taken into account well ahead of time. Then there are hotel accommodations, which may have to factor in your weight cutting routine, which also influences food that will need to be brought along or acquired once you reach your destination. You’ll need to figure out how to get from your hotel or friend’s house to the actual competition, either by renting a car or begging someone for a ride. This can all be a lot of fun, but it can also add a lot of stress to competing that may distract you from focusing on putting your best foot forward when you get out on the mats.

Now you know some of the pros and cons of competing at local tournaments or big events that you have to travel to. The right one for you might change depending on your schedule or your goals in Jiu Jitsu. The important thing to remember is that you should be able to enjoy the experience!