Why Should You Compete as a Master in Jiu Jitsu?

By Danny O’Donnell

In Jiu Jitsu, just as in other sports, most practitioners define their athletic prime as sometime between their late teens and early thirties. While there is definitely some validity to this in terms of strength, speed and coordination, these are often not the main factors that determine success in Jiu Jitsu. Since many of the moves and positions are based on leverage and timing it is not uncommon for a Jiu Jitsu athlete’s prime to be past his or her physical prime. Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles, Andre Galvao, Braulio Estima and Xande Ribeiro have all won world titles in their mid to late thirties. Wellington “Megaton” Dias, who owns and operates Megaton BJJ Academy in Phoenix, regularly competes successfully in adult events despite often being twice the age of his fellow competitors. The following are some of the reasons you should continue to train and compete in Jiu Jitsu even as you age.

Gives Purpose to your Training

Although going to training each day is challenging in and of itself, it often feels different when you have a competition on the horizon. Because you will be testing your Jiu Jitsu against someone you likely have not rolled with before in front of coaches and teammates, you want to be sure you are preparing to the best of your ability. This will often result in training with more skilled training partners and incorporating new techniques or variations into your game. If you have been competing for a long time you may be competing against someone or even multiple people that you have faced before. If so you likely know something about the person’s game so you tailor your training to accommodate this. All of these factors make it easier to come to training as you may even have specific goals for each session.

Keeps your Game Evolving

As mentioned above, training for a tournament usually involves rolling with more skilled training partners and incorporating new techniques or variations into your game. This type of training can sometimes be frustrating, but because you are pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, these are often periods of time that result in huge amounts of growth. In addition to the physical stress of training, you will likely start to feel mental and emotional stress. It is common to start imagining potential outcomes and situations during the matches, which can give you the feeling of having butterflies in your stomach sometimes weeks before the tournament. Learning to manage these thoughts and feelings can lead to tremendous personal growth that will carry over into everyday life.

Sets an Example

Many Jiu Jitsu academies preach the importance of competition to new members, and rightfully so. One of the best ways to ensure that new students are open to competing is for the more senior students to set the example themselves. If the gym you train at has a lot of competitors it will motivate the newer students to compete as well. Hearing stories of wins and losses from their teammates will help newer students realize that winning and losing is part of the competition experience and the most important part of it is their own personal growth.

What do you think are the best reasons to continue competing at the master’s level? Let us know in the comments and make sure to get signed up for the AZ Master’s Cup!