Written by Guillaume ‘Gile’ Huni, 2nd degree bjj black belt, instructor at Kimura BJJ Serbia.
BJJ competitions are always nerve wracking. It’s no wonder that a lot of BJJ players choose not to compete. I’ve been competing in BJJ since 2002. I ALWAYS get nervous and scared before competing…I’ve fought over 120+ matches. Some of them have been wins. Winning is an amazing feeling, but another thing comes with the territory: losing.
I’ve lost A LOT of matches. Some of them I’ve lost in the stupidest ways. In some matches my opponent also destroyed me. Losing absolutely sucks and makes you feel terrible. The thing is, to not let that horrible feeling get the best of you, and to always get back up. Here are some ways that I’ve found are helpful in overcoming competition fears.
“My Fear Fuels Me.” Will Smith
1.Take everything as a lesson. No matter what happens, it always better prepares you and makes you improve for the next competition. If you think like this then ultimate failure is impossible. Everything happens for a reason
2. Find competitors who have failed and who have ended up conquering. These one s are even more important as they have experienced the toughness of hard losses.
3. Train like you’ve never trained before. If you go into a competition 100% prepared at the best of your abilities, you will feel confident. Go out and give it everything you’ve got. If you do that, then you won’t feel bad if you do lose.
4. Purposely go out and experience failure. Test yourself go compete in a super tough weight division against guys that are ‘on paper’ better than you. Go experience what you’re so scared of. I bet it’s not that bad, and you will learn from it.
5. Find the right motivation. If your reasons for accomplishing something are strong enough, nothing can stop you. Find the right reasons and let that fuel you. Very often athletes who need to win to feed their kids will always be more motivated than somebody that does it for fun..
6. Understand what you have to lose if you don’t achieve what you are going for. What will it mean for your, your family etc..
7. Visualize your ‘worst case scenario’. It’s never as bad as you think. For some people it will be getting injured in a tournament, for others being humiliated or over-matched. Once you get that thought down, get it out of your head.
8. Be positive. Whatever happens to you whether it be good or bad, try to look at the opportunities it creates. If you end up in your worst case scenario above, what good will come of that?
9. Don’t Quit. Keep going and improving.
Even Iron Mike Tyson was scared before entering the ring: