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Today I am going to talk about should you cut weight or not for your first BJJ tournament. I received this question from Ashleigh Redmond. She is preparing for her first competition in June. She wants to know if she should cut weight. Ashleigh also asked if I have any tips for someone who is doing their first BJJ tournament. Her training partners have told her to stay relaxed and don’t tense up so she doesn’t gas out during the competition.
I recommend since it’s your first BJJ tournament that you don’t worry about cutting weight. This can be a test for you and your jiu-jitsu. You can see how your body feels at the weight you are at presently. If you are only 2 or 3 pounds over a division and you feel it would be easy to lose the weight that is fine. I think it is easy to lose a few pounds. However, if you are 5, 10, or 15 pounds over a division then I suggest you compete at your current weight and see how it goes. After you have competed a few times then you can better evaluate if you need to cut weight.
I always encourage people to compete in the best shape and condition possible. For men, 5%, 6%, 7%, or 8% body fat is amazing. I wasn’t sure what percentage of body fat is ideal for female competitors but I’ve heard it’s between 15% and 20%, but Im really not sure about it.
Regarding tips for first time competitors I agree that you should stay relaxed and don’t tense up or you will gas out very quickly.
My biggest tip for first time competitors or professionals is that you enjoy the competition. No one is forcing you to compete. You are competing because you want to be there and test yourself. It will be a good experience and you will learn a great deal about yourself and your jiu-jitsu game. Enjoy the experience in the warm up area and when they call your name. Also enjoy walking onto the mat and when your teammates cheer for you.
One thing I always stress to my students is that on Monday when you go back to work or school you will be the same person. You go back to work and family so nothing really changes. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you will have tested yourself and improved for sure. It’s just one BJJ tournament so don’t blow it out of proportion.
By competing you can analyze your game, both the positives and negatives. You can learn from your mistakes and work hard to improve. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose. Jiu-jitsu is about learning and improving.
I never force my students to compete. They need to make that decision for themselves. They should want to be there and test themselves.
I truly believe the more you compete the better you will become in BJJ. I say this because when you roll in your academy with the same training partners it’s hard to see your mistakes. However, when you compete it’s a test against someone you’ve probably never fought against before. For that reason, competition is the ultimate test. It will help you improve quickly.
Everyone I know in jiu-jitsu who received a black belt in 5, 6, or 7 years competed a lot. They put their game on the line and that is the best way to improve.

Here is the breakdown of the key points regarding should you cut weight or not for your first BJJ tournament:

  1. I think unless it’s only a few pounds over a division that you should compete at your present weight. Don’t worry too much about it. See how your body feels and reacts at this weight during the competition.
  2. After you have competed a few times then you will have a better idea if you should cut weight or not.
  3. Enjoy the tournament. You have chosen to compete. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose because I know that you will improve faster the more you compete.

I hope you all enjoyed this video. Thank you for the great question Ashleigh and good luck in your first competition. Oss.
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