Last weekend, I had the great experience of competing at the world championships for the first time. Being a purple belt and competing at 154 pounds, I was in for some serious work.
I ended up losing my second match 8-6, but it was a great experience. I will be back with new lessons next year.
I did quickly realize three key facts that I think most of us already know, but they were made ever clear through my experience. I wanted to take a second and share these three things because they may help some other jiu-jitsuka in their experience.
- Strategy– Points competitions breed strategy, but Worlds took it to another level. In sub only matches, you can kind of wing it and just go for the sub, but with points and especially giant divisions like at Worlds, you need a strategy. I saw many different strategies at the tournament – from stalling positions out and exploding, to playing for sweeps that can keep you up two points, to just maintaining top position and pressure. The basic premise of BJJ point strategy is to always stay just barely ahead of your opponent (unless of course they make it easy).
- Anything Can Happen– This seemed to ring true throughout all the belts. Although some black belts are still on a tear, there were a few upsets, especially in the early rounds of the open weight. However this was also true at the lower belts. Two guys who I have paid a lot of attention to at purple belt and believed would make it very far actually lost very early on.
- Conditioning- Conditioning is obviously very important because you will have five to seven matches in most divisions at adult male and they can be spread out. This can lead to warming and cooling, which can take an effect on your energy levels. If that wasn’t enough to make conditioning seem important, then you should take into consideration the pressure of the atmosphere. The large stadium and name alone add a ton of nerves to many competitors.
I already knew these three things, but they were made more clear by being present at this tournament for the first time. Have you competed in Worlds? What did you learn while there?