Tournament Prep – How

Like I said in my last post, I’ve known since about January that I’d be doing SOME tournament in March or April, just didn’t know which one until mid-February. Since I have decided to compete, I started focusing on getting ready for that. So in January, on Sunday evenings I went to AC’s “Competition” training. It was really helpful in getting me work on my takedowns and also work on chaining movements together.

Then on February 18th, the gym redid their BJJ schedule and started offering more sparring classes, as well as a strength and conditioning class at 6am. I changed my schedule some so that I was still getting 7 or 8 hours a week, but instead of stretching it over Monday through Thursday & Saturday morning, I’ve been doing Monday to Wednesday (and Saturday morning.) I actually have the same number of hours of BJJ, but I also get an extra night off.  This means that since February 18th, I’ve done 4 hours of technique and 3 hours of sparring every week.

I also decided to try out the 6am class. I haven’t been as faithful to that as to BJJ, but I’ve managed to hit it 5 or 6 times. It is building up my cardio and my strength, but it’s helping me in other ways as well. I’m shooting for the 185 division (I was 206 when I started in August) and that class is helping me get there. It’s also helping me build up my endurance and pain threshold. There has yet to be an easy class, and so just getting through that class has helped me push past “comfort” areas, an experience I’ll no doubt need on the day of the tournament.

The final area that I’m trying to work on is the mental aspect. In some ways this is more difficult. I’m good at mental exercises, and doing what I want mentally when it only depends on me. I’m not so good at enforcing my “gameplan” on others, and that’s something I’m trying to work on. I’ve talked with one of the coaches and came up with a gameplan. He’s helped me work on that over the past week as well. One thing he said has stuck out in my mind. When the match starts, I have to assume it’s already on the ground and I’m in a position I want to be. I can’t sit back and say “If he does this and I do that and he does this then maybe I’ll be here.”  Mentally I have to go in and say “I’m doing X, then Y and then Z.”  And that’s what I’m trying to work on right now.

So for the past 2.5 months, my preparation for the tournament has focused on BJJ skills, conditioning, and mental preparedness. All things that Mid-America has had a hand in. The only thing left to do now is actually compete.