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Three Tips For Improving Tournament Jiu Jitsu

By: Tyler Bishop

In honor of newly launched FUJI Jiu Jitsu Championship Series, we wanted to give you a taste of some of the ideas espoused in all of the research we’ve collected over at our website, BishopBjj.com. Jiu jitsu is so much more than just a sport, or a form of competition, but there is no denying that this competitive desire is the focus of many jiu jitsu practitioners. So when it comes to competition, study and analysis can become useful tools that can assist in tournament and physical performance. If you haven’t read or observed our study of the 2012 World Championships, I highly recommend starting your research there. However, there are a few tips that you can start implementing now to improve tournament performance…


Guess what, the best in the world don’t just “see what happens”. The best in the world have a very good idea of exactly what they will do every time they step on that mat! You should do the same thing. If you haven’t checked out our series “It’s Science”, you should study up. One theme that comes across rather quickly is that the most successful competitors have a few things they are really good at, and then they put themselves in position to implement those strategies as quickly as possible.

Building a gameplan is no easy task. In our upcoming book we will go into detail about how this can be done, but until then, focus on a few important elements. Write down what you are best at (top 3), determine how you can get into these positions/scenarios, and figure out how you can go from your feet at the start of a match to one of these pre-determined positions. Once you have gone through this process, practice it religiously. If certain problems keep arising, make adjustments and move forward. A good gameplan is a series of events that you can put into place and seemingly fight any opponent competitively.


If one thing sticks out from the 2012 World’s study it’s that people that score first win. Regardless of the circumstances that lead to this anomaly, scoring first should be a high priority.  Make this a strong element of your gameplan if you want to be successful in tournament jiu jitsu. This means fighting or approaching your opponent differently than what you might typically do in the academy. It means fighting with your brain as much as your brawn.

It makes sense that scoring is directly proportionate to winning, but this concept seems to be a hard lesson for many. Many fight conservatively and leave points on the table throughout the match only to become tired and unable to score late in the match. Take points whenever they are available, you can never guarantee another opportunity. You will never look back on a tournament and say, “I shouldn’t have scored all those dang points!!!”.


Why leave anything to chance? There is a time and place for everything, and while working with training partners of relative skill and size is best for building a game plan, part of developing a complete game plan is determining the multiple types of reactions to your strategy. Once you have developed a comfort with your style and game plan, try testing it against training partners of all sizes, strengths, and abilities. Try to fully-understand the options your opponent has available them. What made our study of Rafael Mendes so amazing was how well he knew the options of his opponents. You won’t know all of the reactions until you have to account for the multiple body types and skill levels that are out there.

Interested in competing? Try to find one of the new FUJI Bjj Tournaments in a city near you in 2015 or 2016.

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