The Mouth of MMA

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Choosing A BJJ School - For Competitors

Posted by SteveFicca on June 9, 2012 at 11:15 AM

By Steve Ficca, The Mouth Of MMA Editor



As a follow up to my piece "Choosing a BJJ School", I'd like to go a little more in depth. For an established competitor looking for a new school, there are additional concerns besides those mentioned in my prior article. Whether moving or just looking to broaden your horizons, there are a few things you might want to look for. My previous article mentions location, schedule, technique, attitude, and variety. All of these attributes are imperative to a good school, but as a competitor we both know; you need more!


A coach - Any black belt can qualify as an instructor, and sometimes even the best instructors fall short in this department. To be a good coach, the instructor has to know how to push the athlete and prepare him for the mental and physical hurdles that come with competition. A good coach will study your videos, point out your flaws, and make corrections that see you improving as a student as well as a fighter.


Pace - lots of technical, top notch schools practice traditional philosophies. Slow, composed technique paired with relaxed breathing and not "muscling" your moves are commonplace philosophies in this belief system. When training for a fight, we have to move fast! We have to go hard! We have to scramble! While I'll never fully advocate compromising on your technique, the end always justifies the means in competition. Putting that extra bit of force and causing that scramble that gets you a good hard-fought two points could be the difference between victory and defeat. Sometimes we have to train to learn; sometimes we have to train to win.


Support - I've seen guys go into tournaments without a coach or even teammate present. I've been there myself when competing on a national level, but you can’t expect many teammates to jump on a plane and miss a week of work because you're competing. If your fight is a stone's-throw away from your gym though, your coach or a representative better be there for you. No excuses!


A competition team - if a competitor is surrounded by other athletes who train for fights, they will be forced to go into a mindset of preparation, focusing on the improvement of not only technique, but the will to push forward and reach that next level.


Different styles/body types - Training at a small gym has its downsides. No matter how good you are, it gets to a point where if you compete long enough you're going to be surprised. It's important to train with a wide variety of different styles and body types. Being the best guy in your gym and winning countless tournaments won't prepare you for the tall guy whose legs step right over your open guard, only training with somebody with similar attributes will. If your school doesn't have a wide variety of body types and styles for you to roll with, your instructor better be cool with cross training at other academies.


Currency - If you're going to be out there in the competition scene, your jiu jitsu has to be up to date. You have to watch recent fights and keep familiar with the new techniques in use. What worked back then may not be what works now. I'm not saying you have to berimbolo, but you have to know what it is in order to defend it.


I've been faced with a lot of these dilemmas personally. Having been fortunate enough to train at some of the top competition schools in the U.S., I found myself spoiled. When I came back to the east coast I bounced around tirelessly to find a school that fit the mold of what I needed. It took some time, and probably some name calling behind my back, but I finally found the formula I needed to win. After all, that's what it's all about.


Creonte your mama!

Categories: Fighter Journals

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1 Comment

Reply Lex
5:51 PM on June 10, 2012 
Great post as always. I think "creonte" is a label given out by those that are just fortunate to be in a place that satisfies all the above attributes. Most of them probably live in California ;-)