Strategizing in Jiu-Jitsu Competitions

minute/s reading time

Strategizing in Jiu-Jitsu Competitions

If you have ever been in a Jiu-Jitsu competition or plan on joining a competition soon, you probably have heard of the importance of strategizing in defeating your opponent. Apart from being a very physically demanding sport, Jiu-Jitsu is an immensely technical game. To win, you’ll need an excellent strategy on and off the competition mats.

However, strategy can be learned over time and fairly quickly as well. Remember that it all depends on what level of Jiu-Jitsu you are competing at. The higher your level, the more strategy plays a part in the outcome of your matches.

So what are the different forms of the strategy used in Jiu-Jitsu, and how can you use them to strategize well before a competition?

This article will look at how having a solid strategy can help you defeat any opponent and which strategies are best used under certain circumstances. It will also provide valuable insights into improving your strategizing and decision-making in a competitive environment. 

How to Win in a Jiu-Jitsu Match?

The main aim in a Jiu-Jitsu match is to make your opponent tap out, not win by points. You may simply win a Jiu-Jitsu match by submitting your opponent before the time runs out. However, this being said, points play a significant role in the game, and you need to know how to use them! 

There are many different ways and techniques to submit your opponent in Jiu-Jitsu. These techniques target other body areas and are meant to maim, control, or hurt the opponent into a forced submission (tapping out). A tap out indicates a successful submission which results in you winning the match. 

You can establish four positions over your opponent and three maneuvers that you can complete to gain 2-4 points. If both athletes cannot submit their opponent before the 10 minutes are up, the match will be decided on points. This means that all the points you have earned during the match will be added together and compared to your opponents’. If there is a tie of the points, the athlete with more advantage points and fewer penalties wins.  

Let’s look at both ways of winning a jiu-jitsu match:

1. Points 

Now that we know the importance of the points system, I will be explaining how you can earn the most points through certain positions in a Jiu-Jitsu match. These positions include:  

  • Knee-on-belly

Two points will be awarded to you to complete this move. 

  • Takedown

If you do this and successfully hold a dominant position for three seconds, you will be awarded 2 points. 

  • Guard pass

To do this, you need to pin your opponent to the ground get their feet under control with a guard to end up in side control or north-south position. Three points for this position.

  • Sweep

Three points will be awarded for completing a sweep successfully to knock your opponent off-balance. 

  • Back control

This involves gaining control over your opponents’ back by having control over one of their arms and crossing your legs over their thighs. 4 points are awarded for this. 

2. Tap out

One of the main reasons why Jiu-Jitsu is gaining popularity and more people like it is because you can apply it to real-life scenarios. Completing a successful takedown may require months of practice first, but it gets easier with more experience.

You must know all of the main submission moves to attack your opponent and defend against an incoming attack. 

Strategy Begins With Training

The journey to a Jiu-Jitsu competition is personal and different for everyone. However, some key aspects can help you strategize in the best way possible. Making sure that you are in a good physical state and your form is on point are the building blocks for any good fighter.

Work on your techniques and refine them over and over again. Remember that even the most basic of submissions will do the trick. Just take a look at Roger Gracie, 10-time Mundials Champion. He uses a basic cross choke from the mount to submit his opponents. 

Fighting in the right weight class also plays a major factor in your chances. Make sure to eat healthily and high-energy foods for optimal performance on competition day.

Tips to Help You Create a Winning Strategy 

Play to Your Strengths 

One of the biggest mistakes we make as amateurs in preparing for a competition is that we focus a lot of our energy and time on fixing our weaknesses. However, the better strategy is to focus on your strengths and improve on them.

For example, if you can sleep well and get back into position without allowing your opponent to sweep you, that is a strength. 

Also, practice on the submissions that you are strongest with. Narrow your techniques that you do well. My favorites are the guillotine and the triangle choke, but you should use what’s best for you.

Counter Your Opponent’s Weakness 

Studying your opponent and probing for their weaknesses before a fight is a great way to strategize. Find out which of your strengths will work best against the opponent you are fighting and analyze their weaknesses. This will allow you to mentally and physically prepare the moves and positions that will best counter their weaknesses.  

Don’t Fight Fire with Fire.

Once you have analyzed your opponent and understand their strengths, you can select a training partner that closely resembles your opponents’ fighting style. For example, if you find out that your opponent has trained in judo, you might want to try and sit guard more to prevent takedown points. As you gain more experience, you’ll be able to form new strategies based on how your opponent is fighting.

Be Flexible 

Let’s say that you have studied your opponent and prepared your strengths to counter his weaknesses, but on the day, nothing seems to be going according to plan. You’re halfway through the match, losing points, and nothing’s working.

You may need to change your strategy to plan B or plan C. Change things up and surprise your opponent by completely switching your style of play. If you were holding guard, go on the offensive. Have a plan ready for if things aren’t going well.

Relax (Even When You’re Down on Points)

The worst thing you can do to yourself in a match is to start panicking when you’re down on points. Your muscles tighten, and your mind stops working. This will result in frantic attempts at winning points and only provide your opponent with more opportunities to submit you. Instead, focus on your breathing and relax because you have till the end to try and complete a submission. 

Pressure your opponent

Strategize in such a way that allows you to gain points early on in the match and put your opponent under pressure. 

Later on in the match, when the opponent is desperately trying to gain some points, that’s when you look for a submission. Work smarter, not harder.   

Stay on Top

You will be able to pressurize your opponent and complete more locks by staying in a dominant position. Make sure you have the knowledge, the physical strength, and the technical form to do this correctly. 

Follow Your Coach’s Instructions

Lastly, always follow your coach. A coach will have way more experience than you, and so, by working together, you will be able to find the best way of doing things for you. Work out a complete game plan with your coach and stick to it. 

And remember to have fun! There’s not much difference between rolling in the gym and Jiu-Jitsu competitions. If anything, competitions aren’t as difficult as some gym sessions! 

Origin fighter

Origin Fighter is a blog for athletes and fitness enthusiasts to learn about Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, Wrestling, Boxing, Health & Nutrition, Performance and more. Origin Fighter also provides information on how to train smarter with resources such as workout plans and diets tailored for your goals.

About the Author

I am a huge fan of both BJJ and MMA. Jiu-jitsu is my biggest passion, and I’ve been training it for more than 5 years. I have recently been promoted to a purple belt. In this blog, I will be giving you tips on how to improve and how to choose the best BJJ equipment! Learn More