What Should You Expect From Your First Competition?
By Gabriella McCrossan
It’s finally time for your first competition! It’s an exciting time, but it can also be a little bit nerve wracking if you don’t know what to expect, so we’re going to go through some of what you can expect on the day of your first competition. Walking in: It’s best to arrive at least an hour early so that you have time to park and get inside and familiarize yourself with where everything is. You should take note of where the test scale is, where the bullpen area or areas are, and where you need to be to hear when your name is called to get your gi checked. These are all usually together in the same area, so once you’ve gotten comfortable you can move on. You’ll want to note where the bathrooms or locker rooms are for changing, and also where your teammates are! This can alleviate a lot of the nerves by being around familiar faces. Teams will usually group together and make a home base in one spot so go and find them!
Before the match: Now you know where everything is you can get ready, get your gi on and go check your weight. Unless you know you’re several pounds under weight, this is another thing that you should do for your own peace of mind. Talk to your teammates and coaches, know what time and what mat you compete on if you can, and find out who will be available to coach you during your match so that you know who to look for and listen to.
Checking in: The coordinators have just called your name, you’re in your gi and ready to go. You’ll have to present your photo ID so make sure that you have it with you. Your gi will be checked to make sure that it adheres to the rules, and then when that is completed, you will walk up to the scale and weigh in. You only get one chance to do this, so make sure you’re in the appropriate division when you sign up. When all of that is done, you will wait in the bullpen area for some time. It could be just moments, or it could be up to half an hour. Don’t stress during this time, just move around and stretch a little.
Match Time: The mat coordinator will come and find you in the bullpen and then walk you to the mat you’re going to compete on. You will probably need to provide your ID again at this time, so keep it with you and also keep your shoes on until this time. You will be told which side of the table to walk out on and if you and your opponent are wearing the same color gi you will receive an extra belt to help distinguish between the two of you. Now you will look out and wait for the referee to signal that you should come on the mat. Go out and shake hands with the referee and your opponent. Now, it’s time to start grappling! Do your best, don’t get hurt, and have fun! Helpful Tips: -Wear a gi that you’ve worn before, so that you know that it will fit correctly and most importantly, you will know how much it weighs! Be aware of the rule requirements surrounding the gi, including fit, color, patches, and any rips or tears. The same applies to your belt.
Learn the rules. You don’t have to be familiar with all of the intricacies of scoring in Jiu Jitsu, but at least familiarize yourself with the points before you go. Know what moves are illegal, especially if you train somewhere that this isn’t emphasized in daily training. It’s not a great feeling to be on top of the world thinking that you won your match only to be disqualified because you heel hooked your opponent. Be sure to bring water, snacks, and a change of clothes. Especially if you are cutting weight, you will be hungry and thirsty after your match, and you don’t want to spend the whole day in the sweaty clothes you competed in. Just trust me on this one.
The 2018 Novice Cup is this Saturday, August 11th. Which of these tips do you like the most and what would you add? Let us know in the comments!