Grapple Smart! 4 Essentials for Competition Training

Above and beyond regular BJJ practice for some

If you are interested in finding out what you need to do to prepare for a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Submission grappling tournament please read on. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that I need to do additional training above and beyond regular BJJ practice in order to be successful in tournaments. Since everyone is different, I’ll share my “4 essentials” for competition training.

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E-Book and MP3 Audio Download
E-Book and MP3 Audio Download
E-Book and MP3 Audio Download
E-Book and MP3 Audio Download
E-Book and MP3 Audio Download
E-Book and MP3 Audio Download

Bump up your cardio!

Depending on your weight class and age bracket it is important to prepare yourself to compete in several matches. It is not uncommon for some weight classes to have 5-8 matches to win the division.

In order to prepare for the intensity of competition I do 2 things:

  1. I typically will add in 1 or 2 (medium – high intensity 1 hr long) cardio kickboxing workouts per week. This will boost my overall cardiovascular fitness.
  2. 2-3 HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts should also be added in if your body allows. HIIT workouts are short ultra-high intensity workouts that truly prepare your body for the rigors of competitive matches. HIIT workouts also train your mind to think more clearly under pressure and oxygen debt.

Live sparring even when exhausted

This will be one of the most beneficial things you can do to prepare yourself for competition. Basically, you will push your “I QUIT” button a little farther away each time you train live when your gassing out. Each and every time you train live when you’re gassed out you can learn something useful for competition time.

  1. You will be used to the feeling of executing your techniques when gassing out so it will be nothing new when you encounter this in competition.

  2. You will learn which of your moves are based on strength and not on technique. Since you’re gassed out, you won’t be able to execute your strength moves effectively and will only be effective when you use proper technique. This may seem obvious but something as simple as a hip escape to recompose guard can seem like the hardest move in the world when you’re gassing out.

Develop a grappling game plan

The Grappling Game Plan is a system developed by the great BJJ player and Judoka (Judo Player) Lloyd Irvin Jr. Essentially, you plan your attacks, defenses, throws, and counter attacks. Once you’ve developed your plan it’s essential to practice it relentlessly during live training so that executing your plan in competition becomes second nature.

Having a written plan of attack seems to be the most neglected part competition preparation but will be worth while if you take the time to formulate one.

Improve diet

This is always the most difficult part of training for me. Since I really enjoy Mexican food and some fast food, eating a clean diet can be difficult. I typically follow the Nutrition and Body Fat Burning specialist Tom Venuto. Essentially, I eat a lean protein and a vegetable every meal every 3-4 hours. The other essential factor is to be at a calorie deficit if your goal is to increase muscle mass and lose body fat. Basically a “calorie deficit” is when you’re burning more calories than you’re taking in every day. You need to be at 90% consistency (9 out of 10 correctly portioned meals) in order to be successful on this plan.

It is also very important to be realistic with yourself. If you’ve never watched what you’ve eaten (I’ve been there before) then be realistic about your nutritional goals and do something you can stick with.

Good luck competing and I’d love to hear about your competition preparation or anything you’d like to share!

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Comments 3 comments

Aikidk01 8 years ago

Really sounds like a very ambitious and aggresstive training schedule. Should result in positive results.

thacker profile image

thacker 8 years ago

Hey great hub! Where can I get that MP3? Sounds like a good ebook.. Thanks for the insight on what it's like to train for a BJJ tournament. Thumbs up from ME..


jkudo23 profile image

jkudo23 8 years ago from Carlsbad, California Author

Hi Thacker,

Thanks for posting, the ebook is currently up and should be available for download at by 8/4/2008.  I'm currently having the MP3 recorded and will post again when it's available.  

For more info on training and other helpful things related to BJJ and grappling check out my blog at

Jeff Kudo

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