One of the biggest debates of the last year in jiu jitsu circles has been the street vs sport debate.

I am not going to go into it in too much detail. Basically it boils down to the ‘old guard’ of jiu jitsu practitioners bemoaning the sportification of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the ‘new school’ defending their belief that competition jiu jitsu is just as effective in a self defence scenario. There are strong arguments for both sides and this platform is not really the place to discuss either.

At Infinitus Jiu Jitsu we train for both self defence and competitions. There are various grappling events happening this year and as I haven’t really written anything about the topic of competition and I thought now might be a good idea to do so.

Whether or not you train purely for self defence, competition jiu jitsu has a lot of benefits for the average student.

It gets you fit.

A lot of people who train jiu jitsu do it for two main reasons. One is for self defence but the other is to get fit(ter). Now, even though jiu jitsu should not require you to be fit to train in the first place, the mere fact that you are doing something physical for an hour will increase your fitness levels over time.

However, if you want to really see boosts in your fitness levels and weight loss, train for sport jiu jitsu matches. Sport jiu jitsu requires you to push yourself to your limits for all 6 minutes of your match. Try pushing yourself to your limit during a few 6 minute rolling sessions and you’ll be amazed at the results.

Learn to trust your techniques.

One of the biggest lessons I learned from my first competitions was to trust the techniques I knew. I remember one fight where I did not trust my triangle finish. My setup was good, but I hesitated in completing the choke. My opponent used my hesitation to bust out and pass my guard, leading to my loss. I learned that day that if I have a good triangle setup and simply trusted the rest of the technique, I would finish with a triangle every time.

Testing your jiu jitsu against a strange opponent

One of the downsides of only training at your club/gym/academy is that at some point you will get used to how your fellow students train. For some this takes longer than others, but each of us has a ‘game’ and unless we are actively pushing that ‘game’ to test it’s limits it becomes predictable. By competitng you get to experience other jiu jitsu practitioners ‘games’ and learn how they apply their jiu jitsu.

After the last Mother City Open Ryan came to me and said the following ‘I was not prepared for the aggresion that I faced’. This is so true, unless you compete you may never experience that level of aggression because you are not fighting someone else who is bent on defeating you.


In closing, while I will never force a student to train with a competition mind set or compete in any competition, if approached the right way competition can have valuable advantages to the self defence student.

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