Tag Archives: Goal setting

Top 5 Tips for your “First BJJ Tournament”

BJJ Tournament
Team Conquest at US Grappling
First Tournament Tips

1.Just do it!!! The biggest thing holding people back from competing is the feeling of not being “ready”. The truth is the sooner you start competing the better competing is. With your first tournament, there is less of an expectation to win and less pressure to perform. Pick a tournament, register, and hold yourself accountable to show up and compete on that day. The skill difference between you and the other competitors can become vastly different the longer you wait. For example,the novice white belt division is typically 6 months (or less in some cases) of training where the blue belt can be anyone training from 1 year up to 4 years. I have also found that the students who compete sooner progress faster. I believe this in part due to those students gaining confidence more quickly and being in situations that allow them to develop their game. When you decide to compete you typically start developing a game or style. Which brings us to tip number two….

2. “If you don’t know where you are going you might not get there”. What does this mean to the person getting ready for their first tournament? It means develop a game plan and set a goal. Obviously, the main goal of competing is to test yourself and win; however, that is too broad of a goal for this scenario. You need to develop a game plan that will guide you to win. For example, if Steve is very good at from closed guard, his game plan should be centered around that and not takedowns. You should be able to pinpoint your strongest position and have an avenue to always be able to get back to that position. This is best done in training; decide on your strategy and how you would like each of your tournament matches to go and force that game plan in every roll during class. This builds precision in your techniques, confidence in your ability to execute the techniques, and provides opportunities to learn how to adapt when the technique fails.

3.Learn to listen. There is a great saying… “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we talk.” The ability to listen to your coach during a match is essential and can be the difference between winning and losing. Your coach has an outside view of the match and can help remind you of techniques you may have forgotten in the heat of the moment. The best way to train your listening skills is to have mock tournament matches during class or open mat during the weeks leading up to the tournament.
Doing this will help you recognize your instructors voice under pressure, while your adrenaline is pumping.

4.Learn the rules. Many competitors, both novice and experienced, now a days get to a tournament and do not understand or even take the time to read the rules for that particular tournament. By taking the time to read and understand the rules you can prevent any chance of getting disqualified and even plan a strategy around the rules (to your advantage). For example, if the tournament you are entering has a time limit you can use a strategy that secures points quickly while you go for submissions or wait until time runs out. If it is a submission only-no time limit match, your game plan will be based on being able to submit quickly or build your endurance to last a long match.

5.Train Train Train! If you have picked a tournament and made the commitment to compete, the best thing you can do is train. Show up to as many classes as your schedule allows. The time spent on the mats leading up to a competition is invaluable when it comes to preparing for any tournament. Listen, learn, drill, and roll as much as you can to prepare for the competition. Train with a goal in mind, do not just train and roll like you normal would in class. Have your game plan in mind and roll every time looking to execute your game.

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BJJ Goal Setting for 2014 How & Why

Many people feel as if they’re adrift in the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. They work hard, but they don’t seem to get anywhere.

Like Zig Ziggler Said “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time!”

( Read this whole post! At the bottom there is a goal work sheet pdf for you to print out. )

A key reason that they feel this way is that they haven’t spent enough time thinking about what they want from BJJ, and haven’t set themselves formal goals. After all, would you set out on a major journey with no real idea of your destination? Probably not!

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of your future into reality.

The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, ie: winning a local tournament, not getting smashed in side control, making it to class 3 days a week, or my favorite drilling with a partner 2 days a week, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You’ll also quickly spot the distractions that can, so easily, lead you astray.

Why Set Goals?

Goal setting is used by top-level athletes, successful business-people and achievers in all fields. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge in BJJ, and helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the very most of your BJJ life.

By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, that, you can measure and take pride in, the achievement of those goals, and you’ll see forward progress in what might previously have seemed the long BJJ grind. You will also raise your self-confidence, as you recognize your own ability and competence in achieving the goals that you’ve set.

Starting to Set BJJ Goals

You set your BJJ goals on a number of levels:

  • First you create your “big picture” of what you want to do with your BJJ life (or over the next 10 years), and identify the large-scale goals that you want to achieve. ie: get your black belt in 10 years, win Worlds at each belt rank, open your own school
  • Then, you break these down into the smaller targets that you must hit to reach your lifetime goals. ie: get my blue belt by the next belt test, add one day a week for classes and drilling, volunteer my free time at the school to learn the business side
  • Finally, once you have your plan, you start working on it to achieve these goals.

This is why we start the process of goal setting by looking at your lifetime goals. Then, we work down to the things that you need to do in the next five years, then next year, next month, next week, and today, to start moving towards them.

Step 2: Setting Smaller Goals

Once you have set your lifetime goals, set a one to five year plan of smaller goals that you need to complete if you are to reach your lifetime plan.

Then create a six-month plan, and a one-month plan of progressively smaller goals that you should reach to achieve your lifetime goals. Each of these should be based on the previous plan.

Then create a daily To-Do List  of things that you should do today to work towards your lifetime  BJJ goals.

At an early stage, your smaller goals might be to read books and gather information on the achievement of your higher level goals. This will help you to improve the quality and realism of your goal setting.

Finally review your plans, and make sure that they fit the way in which you want to live your life in BJJ.


If you feel that you’re not paying enough attention to certain areas of your life, you may need to use these same goal setting techniques in other parts of your life. Family, money, education, love, anything and everything. 

Staying on Course

Once you’ve decided on your first set of goals, keep the process going by reviewing and updating your To-Do List on a daily basis (if possibly) but no longer then weekly.

Periodically review the longer term plans, and modify them to reflect your changing priorities and experience. (A good way of doing this is to schedule regular, repeating reviews using a computer-based diary, or a composition book)


A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic. While there are plenty of variants (some of which we’ve included in parenthesis), SMART usually stands for:

  • S – Specific (or Significant).
  • M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
  • A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
  • R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
  • T – Time-bound (or Trackable).

For example, instead of having “winning worlds” as a goal, it’s more powerful to say “I want to win blue belt Worlds by June 2015.” Obviously, this will only be attainable if a lot of preparation has been completed beforehand! (Setting smaller goals daily, weekly, monthly to attain your larger goals.

Further Goal Setting Tips

The following broad guidelines will help you to set effective, and achievable goals:

  • State each goal as a positive statement – Express your goals positively – “Execute this technique well when in Closed guard ” is a much better goal than “Don’t make this stupid mistake when sweeping someone.”
  • Be precise: Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. If you do this, you’ll know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
  • Set priorities – When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
  • Write goals down – This crystallizes them and gives them more force. You must do this!!!!!!
  • Keep operational goals small – Keep the low-level goals that you’re working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward.
  • Set performance goals, not outcome goals – You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. It can be quite dispiriting to fail to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control! In BJJ, they could include poor judging, injury, the person is better then you or just plain bad luck.If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals, and draw satisfaction from them. ” I may not have won worlds this year but I played my game well Roger Gracie was better then me, I will beat him next year.” 🙂 Thats the idea at least
  • Set realistic goals – It’s important to set goals that you can achieve. All sorts of people (for example, employers, parents, media, or society) can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions. It’s also possible to set goals that are too difficult because you might not appreciate either the obstacles in the way, or understand quite how much skill you need to develop to achieve a particular level of performance.

I have made a goal setting work sheet for you to download

Click the link to download your 2014 Best BJJ Drills Goal Sheet

Tell me your Goals for 2014 in the comment section below!

Also please share this blog if you like it!


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