Fight to Win 2015 Colorado Open Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Tournament Wrap-Up

First, both Coach Joey and I are extremely pleased and proud of how everyone did. It takes a huge amount of bravery to work through the nerves and step out onto that mat. Each and every one of you that showed up to compete is worthy of praise. By the same token, each of you that showed up to support your teammates, cheer them on, and bring bananas (Meg) is worthy of praise as well. As tiring and frantic as it is, the tournament experience is worthwhile for everyone involved. If you’d like to see how it went, check the videos on our Youtube channel .

Coach Joey and I always reflect on how things went post-tournament and think about how we’d like to move forward. What changes should we make to training? What have we missed in our curriculum? What went well, and what needs more work? Our main thoughts coming out of this tournament were as follows:


  • As a team, we need more no-gi training time. This will be a combination of no-gi instruction and training. For those of you that plan on competing in no-gi or just want to learn more no-gi stuff, you’ll have to make a bit more effort to get your no-gi reps in. No-gi training is always going to be an adjunct to training in the gi, so you’ll have to seek it out a bit. You should be showing up for randori and drill sessions etc looking to train no-gi. Coach Joey and I will figure out how to add no-gi instruction to the schedule. Your thoughts are welcome.
  • Those with strong games on the feet had a tremendous advantage. We do our best to make time for takedowns in classes, and I’d say we actually cover more of that than most other schools. However, those with more time in the stand-up game are simply more comfortable, more confident, and more effective. You need to learn some takedowns, but more than that you need to train them a lot. Judo class is an option (in particular I recommend the M-W-F lunchtime judo.) We also work them all the time at lunch Tuesday and Thursday. Or at the 7am sessions. Or you can stay after class and work on them. Or come in early. Seeing a theme here?
  • Defense rules the roost. It keeps you safe. It allows you to take a brief break if you’re gassing out. It wears your opponent out as they waste energy attacking your strong defense. And the confidence you have in your strong defense allows you to be more adventurous and creative in your attacking.
  • Drillers make killers: When I watch a tournament match, it’s easy for me to see when someone is executing a well-rehearsed game plan. A leads to B leads to C, and the next thing you know, there’s the tap. These razor-sharp sequences are very difficult to deal with because they anticipate and react to your responses just as quickly as you can respond. The only way to get there is by drilling these sequences, much like a boxer practices his basic combinations thousands of times.
  • Nerves. Management of nerves in competition is a skill unto itself. I highly recommend this book about training yourself to be tougher in competition.
  • Cardio. There is no replacement for fitness. There’s a very simple way to diagnose insufficient cardio: resting heart rate. If it’s above 60 or so, you need more cardio. Not sprints, not Crossfit, not HIIT, not intervals, and not burpees. Old school cardio. Roadwork. Go for a run, ride a bike, go for a brisk hike. You should be at the very upper edge of conversational pace.


Those are my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours. If you have questions about anything I’ve written here or anything at all about the tournament, I’m all ears. See you at the next one! —- Coach Jason

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