A Quick Insight Into BJJ Competition
Competition plays a huge role in every sport, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is no exception. On October 15, 2011, several members of RGA Pittsburgh put their skills to the test at the 5th Annual Western PA Grappling Championships. Afterwards, I got the chance to interview one of our white belt competitors, Jonas Rubiano, and pick his brain about the experience.
What was the hardest obstacle to conquer? Was it mental, physical, or a combination of both?
I’d say the hardest obstacle, for me, was the physical aspect. This is because I worked at 6:00 AM that morning, and not having a chance to eat a good meal at all that day was tough on the body. I feel it’s easy to get mentally focused since you have time to prepare for that and when you see other competitors your adrenaline starts.
Mentally and physically, how did you prepare for competition?
I mentally prepared by having a set playlist of songs I work out to. Then, before I compete I listen to or sing those songs to myself and get my mind back into the state of being focused. Physically, I only had two matches so all I really did was try to stretch the night before, make sure I ate right and that I was nice and limber before competition.
What was your favorite and least favorite aspect of competing?
My favorite aspect of competing is the pure rush of going up against people of a similar skill set. My least favorite part is losing, obviously.
Which was more difficult, the gi or nogi division?
I would say the no-gi division was a little more difficult because the chances of competitors sand-bagging their skills are much higher, while the belt rankings in gi competition tend to prevent that.
Do you have any tips for future BJJ competitors?
Just be mentally ready to fight your fight. Don’t worry about your opponent’s plan. Trust your skills and yourself.
What did you get out of the experience? Was it a good or bad one for you?
It was a good experience for me; I took a lot of good out of it. Even though I lost in the end, I still felt I had a good showing. It made me more aware of where I needed to improve.
Did the skills you learned in the gym translate well to your fights?
Yes, the techniques I practiced in the gym translated well in my fights, although the timing to execute them was rushed. I believe that if you know the move and its counter, it makes your game much stronger.
Do you think it’s important to have a game plan?
I believe it is important to have a game plan, but I also think that you need to have heart and confidence. Without those, a game plan won’t be executed because there is room left for doubt.
What’s your favorite technique in BJJ?
My favorite technique in BJJ is the triangle choke. I like to utilize it from my guard as either a threat to chain to another submission or as a sweep.
Did competition bring your weaknesses to light? What are some things you feel you need to work on?
Any test of skill such as a competition will bring out the areas you need work on, but I feel as though you should already have an idea of that weakness. That way, competition will only confirm or deny it. I’d say I need to work on my strength training the most but also holding positions for points before advancing or going for the submission.