The Value of Competition (Athlete Journal 36)

Competition forces you to take a look at your game and actually think about what caused your bad position or loss.

My Brazilian jiu jitsu and my strength and conditioning continue to progress nicely. This week I was a little pressed, which is typical, but I still had five good days of BJJ and got in all three of my strength and conditioning days.

Working My Submissions

I have been focusing on adding more submissions to my game for the last week and it is something that I need to continue to work on. I’ve been doing well competing lately, but I’ve noticed that since moving up to purple belt, my submission rate has gone down. This is just another adjustment that I will have to make.

Over the last year I have made a lot of adjustments to my game. Some things that worked well for me at blue belt just didn’t work well, or at all, when I first started competing at purple belt. So I took my lumps (literally and physically) in the beginning, and after reviewing my performances and working with my coaches, I made the necessary adjustments and successfully moved forward. Winning by points is still winning, but I would rather finish the match in four minutes by submission.

The Value of Competition

It doesn’t matter how much you are dominating your opponent or what the score is. As long as you are both on the mat competing, he always has a chance to catch you. Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way. I always remember this one match when I was winning 9-0 and passing at will. I got caught in an inverted triangle with about fifteen seconds left in the match. That’s a match that I always look back on and think, “If only I could have submitted him, I would have never gotten to that point.”

That is what competition does. It forces you to take a look at your game and actually think about what caused your bad position or loss. When you get swept or submitted in the gym, you just touch hands and immediately start rolling all over again. You can easily forget about what happened and there may be no need to adjust. But when that same thing happens in a win-or-go-home tournament, you basically have until the next time you compete to think about the outcome and correct any mistakes.

This Week’s Training

This week I finished up week six of my thirteen-week strength and conditioning program. The weights have continued to increase as expected. I have noticed some real gains in the deadlift and hang cleans. This week I finished my deadlifts with a nice set of 385 of three, which is much higher than it has been for a long time. My hang clean weight hasn’t made any large jumps, but my bar speed is as fast as it has ever been.

Sunday – BJJ


Monday – Strength and Conditioning

  • Box Jumps 3×5
  • Oblique Plyo Push Up 3×2
  • Plyo Pull Up 3×3
  • Power Jerk 180×4, 185×4, 190×3, 195×3, 200×3
  • Squat 345×4, 350×4, 360×4, 365×4, 370×4
  • One Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension 30x3x8
  • Hammer Curls 50x3x8
  • Core Work

Monday – BJJ

Labor Day, Rolling

Wednesday – Strength and Conditioning

  • Deadlift 365×4, 375×4, 380×4, 385×4
  • Chin-Up (With 35 pound plate) 10, 8, 5
  • Core Work

Wednesday – BJJ

Drilling, Submissions From Side Control, Rolling

Friday – BJJ

Harrisburg BJJ and Judo, Marathon Rolling

Saturday – Strength and Conditioning

  • Box Jumps 3×6
  • Oblique Plyo Push Up 3×2
  • Plyo Pull Up 3×4
  • Hang Cleans (KG) 90×3, 92.5×3, 95×3, 97.5×3, 100×3
  • DB Incline Press 100×3, 100×3, 105×3, 105×3
  • T-Bar Row 155x3x8
  • Core Work

Saturday – BJJ

No Gi Rolling

James Kearns is an active Brazilian jiu jitsu competitor and also trains and competes in Olympic weightlifting.Follow his journals here every week.

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