My first BJJ competition

Ivan

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Hi guys, I haven’t been active in a while. To recap, after my issues with my striking journey, I decided to switch to grappling full time. I already had some very minor BJJ experience but I dropped all my striking apart from some light technique on my own and started taking as many grappling classes as I could. I would train BJJ 13-15 hours weekly, along with some strength and conditioning for it, and I plan to take up some Judo and Sambo classes on the side once I return to Scotland.
I am currently back in England and writing this 2 days after my first BJJ competition, a single-elimination tournament in Brighton, where I won my first match and was eliminated in the second via submission by a guillotine choke. I have footage of my first match below!

For reference, I am wearing the black gi with the red belt, grappling against the guy in the white gi.

I am lucky and grateful to have had a coach from my gym down in England coaching me as well as the support from the rest of my team, even though I entered as an individual competitor. I am also thankful for my grandma who came to support me all the way from Bulgaria. During the match, the adrenaline hit me very hard - as soon as it started it was as if my body was an autopilot and had no chance to think or collect my thoughts. Leading up to it just before it started I expected I would be much more nervous but I am very happy that I managed to keep my nerves in check.

I honestly thought I was losing the match. I almost got caught in a triangle choke, although I do like to bait my opponents into engaging with them in their closed guard so that I can pass with a over-under pass. Three minutes or so in, I pulled guard into a triangle choke which I attempted to finish for the rest of the round. Although my opponent could not get out of it, and I could see and feel him straining, I simply could not finish it. It was odd for me as it’s one of my most common submissions. My coach explained to me that I had not cut an angle properly to fully apply the choke, and I imagine I didn’t realise this because of the adrenaline.

In my last 20 seconds, I heard my coach screaming to switch to an arm bar, which I did. My opponent propped up to get his arm out, and as I went to push him back down and submit, the match finished and I won by a 10-4 point advantage. At the end, my mouth was so dry I started gagging on my mouthpiece. My coach had to help me walk to a wall and prop myself up to recover as the adrenaline had taken so much out of me. It was an amazing experience.

Unfortunately, my grandma God bless her, wasn’t able to film my second match. I think that she didn’t realise she wasn’t recording, as she’s not the best with technology. I lost via a guillotine choke from guard that caught me off guard as I was scrambling to take the opponents back. I believe that part of the reason I lost was because I had cooled off too much after my first match. I had a 20 minute break, and did not warm up before hand. I was caught off guard by how explosive my opponent was, and being cooled off as well as focusing on pacing myself left me like a deer in headlights.

I plan to sign on to the IBJJF London Internationals Open in July. I have started preparing and my coach also taught me the Von Flue choke to counter guillotine attacks. However, I have also been working on some basics during my spare time (my favourite). I have filmed myself sprawling (both sides) on multiple angles and I was hoping I could have some evaluation of my technique? Also anything you spot in my comp footage that I could work on would be awesome. Thanks to everyone on here for having my back. Glad to be back on here again.

I feel most awkward with my left leg forward as my hip seems to keep clicking
 

R5ky

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good to hear, BJJ is a challenging MA as I too take it.
I admire you greatly for even having the courage to participate!
OSU!
 

_Simon_

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Bloody fantastic Ivan, takes a lot of courage to compete and to win your first round is huge. Great that you've pivoted to other stuff and seeing how this part of the spectrum of MA sits with you. Proud of ya mate, a huge achievement 👍🏻
 

Tony Dismukes

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I was hoping I could have some evaluation of my technique? Also anything you spot in my comp footage that I could work on would be awesome.
Sure thing.

Regarding your sprawl, the first thing I would work on is spreading your legs wider. With your legs together like that, a good wrestler will turn the corner and tip you over after your sprawl.

Regarding your competition: your coach is entirely correct that you failed to cut any kind of angle when you went for the triangle. I would suggest that you start looking for a 90 degree angle from your pit stop position before you figure four your legs to finish the choke. If you lock in the figure four first, it can limit your mobility for getting the angle. It's possible to finish a triangle from straight on, but it requires more strength and a perfect fit. If you freeze frame the moments when you were trying to finish the triangle, you'll see that you in no way had the proper fit to cut off his blood flow. (Let me know if you need more explanation on any of this. I figure it's possible that your coach has already explained all of this and you just lost track of what was happening in the moment due to adrenaline.)

Another problem you had with your triangle is that you were consistently allowing your opponent to stack you. In this case it worked out in your favor because he was also a beginner and his balance was so poor that he kept giving you a sweep when he tried to stack. But you absolutely should not rely on that happening. When your opponent drives forward to stack you from within your pit-stop or triangle position, you should frame and shoulder walk backwards. You want his head over your belly, not over your head.

If your opponent does fall over while in your triangle (as your opponent did repeatedly), you'll generally want to either immediately transition to a mounted triangle or to an armbar, depending on his position. You don't want to just lay on your side and wait for him to get back on top. Most of the times that your opponent fell over you were in a better position to transition to the mounted triangle. However in that final exchange your coach was correct in telling you to go for the armbar.

Other than that, both of you were giving up dominant positions way too easily when you got them, but that's not unusual for beginners. Overall you did fine for your first competition.

I almost got caught in a triangle choke, although I do like to bait my opponents into engaging with them in their closed guard so that I can pass with a over-under pass.

I would caution against making a habit out of this. It works against lower level opponents who haven't learned good technique with the triangle yet. It will get you in trouble against higher level opponents.
 

JowGaWolf

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Looks like I'll be quiet on this one and taking notes in the shadows lol.
 

R5ky

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I've been thinking about competing as well.
I've never competed in a large competition with hundreds of onlookers, and it makes me anxious.
I constantly get the advice to just do it.
I may be paired with a senior white belt who will humiliate me because I am a very fresh white belt.

Overall, I admire your courage for going through with it regardless of the result.
 

R5ky

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@Tony Dismukes

What should one do while rolling against a partner with a 40–50 pound advantage in a regular class session?
Due to the weight of them taking the top spot, I frequently gas out and just tap from them being on top position.
It also depends on whether I pair with them at the beginning of the rolling session. Sometimes I can hold my own, but it quickly turns into a fight for my life, and by the time we exchange partners a couple more times till the finish of class, I'm already exhausted.
 
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Tony Dismukes

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@Tony Dismukes

What should one do while rolling against a partner with a 40–50 pound advantage in a regular class session?
Due to the weight of them taking the top spot, I frequently gas out and just tap from them being on top position.
It also depends on whether I pair with them at the beginning of the rolling session. Sometimes I can hold my own, but it quickly turns into a fight for my life, and by the time we exchange partners a couple more times till the finish of class, I'm already exhausted.
The first step when you get pinned under a much bigger opponent is to not panic and trying to force your way out. Instead, learn how to get as comfortable as possible in the position. If you can get just slightly onto one side (facing the opponent if he's in some form of side control), you'll have a much easier time breathing. Use frames to reduce the amount of pressure he's applying directly into your torso. Use slow, deep abdominal breathing (the kind they teach in yoga class) instead of breathing from your chest. Keep your elbows in. Mentally relax. Conserve your energy. Don't try to force your way out all at once. Instead, just work for small improvements in your position. If you get one, work for another one. If you get enough small improvements in your position, eventually you'll be in a place where you can escape all the way. If you get a small improvement and your opponent adjusts to negate it, don't get frustrated. Just keep working for another improvement. If your opponent is busy keeping you from making these small adjustments, that's time and energy he isn't putting into submitting you.
 

drop bear

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@Tony Dismukes
Thank you for the tip; it was incredibly helpful because I was able to stay alive the entire time and defend all the way to the end.

I will also go knees to knees with them. Which is frowned on. But screw em. If the weight difference is that big and they are just going to fatty me to death. Then I don't give them the top control.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I will also go knees to knees with them. Which is frowned on. But screw em. If the weight difference is that big and they are just going to fatty me to death. Then I don't give them the top control.
Can you explain what you mean by “knees to knees”?
 
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Ivan

Ivan

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Sure thing.

Regarding your sprawl, the first thing I would work on is spreading your legs wider. With your legs together like that, a good wrestler will turn the corner and tip you over after your sprawl.

Regarding your competition: your coach is entirely correct that you failed to cut any kind of angle when you went for the triangle. I would suggest that you start looking for a 90 degree angle from your pit stop position before you figure four your legs to finish the choke. If you lock in the figure four first, it can limit your mobility for getting the angle. It's possible to finish a triangle from straight on, but it requires more strength and a perfect fit. If you freeze frame the moments when you were trying to finish the triangle, you'll see that you in no way had the proper fit to cut off his blood flow. (Let me know if you need more explanation on any of this. I figure it's possible that your coach has already explained all of this and you just lost track of what was happening in the moment due to adrenaline.)

Another problem you had with your triangle is that you were consistently allowing your opponent to stack you. In this case it worked out in your favor because he was also a beginner and his balance was so poor that he kept giving you a sweep when he tried to stack. But you absolutely should not rely on that happening. When your opponent drives forward to stack you from within your pit-stop or triangle position, you should frame and shoulder walk backwards. You want his head over your belly, not over your head.

If your opponent does fall over while in your triangle (as your opponent did repeatedly), you'll generally want to either immediately transition to a mounted triangle or to an armbar, depending on his position. You don't want to just lay on your side and wait for him to get back on top. Most of the times that your opponent fell over you were in a better position to transition to the mounted triangle. However in that final exchange your coach was correct in telling you to go for the armbar.

Other than that, both of you were giving up dominant positions way too easily when you got them, but that's not unusual for beginners. Overall you did fine for your first competition.



I would caution against making a habit out of this. It works against lower level opponents who haven't learned good technique with the triangle yet. It will get you in trouble against higher level opponents.
Hi thanks again for the advice. I did look through the footage again and definitely saw that I didn’t have it on no matter how much I tried to squeeze. The adrenaline was definitely a factor. You can see I was trying to undertook his leg for the angle but I wasn’t actually twisting my body, and though this has not happened to me in training, I was just stumped in the moment. I hadn’t considered going for the armbar when my opponent fell over, and I did try a mounted triangle once or twice but I’ve never had success with them, so I will probably focus on it next.

Thanks again for the advice, and I’ll definitely start relying on some of my other, less risky guard breaks.
 

drop bear

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Can you explain what you mean by “knees to knees”?

Generally if they go to knees. You go to guard because it is more realistic. But instead you go to your knees and fight from a fifty fifty position where you both have a chance of winding up on top.
 

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