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White Belt BJJ Tournament –  How to Prepare for Your First Competition

White Belt Jiu Jitsu Tournament Tips

Considering doing a white belt jiu jitsu tournament? Here are our top tips and insights you should check out before stepping onto the bjj competition mat.

Let us get ready for your first competition as a white belt BJJ practitioner. In your BJJ journey, know that there will come a time that you will sign up for that competition. This can be something local or something big like a large IBJJF event or ADCC. 

For our detailed competition guide take a look at our post here

Considering doing a white belt jiu jitsu tournment? You should prepare the logistics first by learning the rule structure, narrowing down your weight class, when to arrive, and what to bring then prepare both mentally and physcially by creating a game plan and working on performing these gameplan techniques as frequently as possible in both drilling and live sparring scenarios during training.

Now, what is important though is to know how to properly prepare yourself and we are here to help you! 

As you read on, we will be giving you tips and things to learn while you prepare for your big event.

  • From creating your training game plan
  • Preparing both mentally and physically
  • Identifying your current weight class
  • What should you take with you to the competition

We know that it can be a very exciting event, because this will be part of your BJJ milestone. What we want you to know is that we highly encourage preparedness because we want you to be successful. 

Check out our full guide on how to deal with bjj competition nerves here

Here is a match from a competition by Zack (creator of

Keep in mind that in BJJ rolling sessions or competitions that you always come home a winner. Despite not getting that medal or trophy, you get to gain knowledge. 

You will reach a level or awareness as a person and thrive to improve each and every time you compete. 

Keep in mind that in BJJ rolling sessions or competitions that you always come home a winner. Despite not getting that medal or trophy, you get to gain knowledge. 
You will reach a level or awareness as a person and thrive to improve each and every time you compete. 


Moreover, this will be a fun and exciting event. Most especially if you are bringing your loved ones with you. Furthermore, your team will be there to support you. 

Trust me, although nerve racking, it will be worth it! 

So read on and learn about what you have to prepare before signing up for that competition you have been eyeing for some time. 

Create a BJJ Training Game Plan

One thing you can do is create a training game plan before the competition. Of course, with all the training that you have been doing, you are able to figure out your strengths and weaknesses already. Therefore, there is room for you to create a game play that is to your advantage. 

Now, what you have to do is keep on doing drills. This will allow you to improve your technique and submissions. Moreover, the more familiar you are with certain moves and its variation, the more chance of success. 

Keep on rolling! Participate in the mats and try to apply what you have been working hard for. Try to see the different openings and possible opportunities that you have to apply your techniques. 

Find a training partner that will allow you to practice your submissions and the moves that you want to improve on. In addition to that, always reach out to your seniors and get feedback on what you should include in your training plan. 

Lastly, be consistent in showing up to training. The more exposure you have, the more prepared you will be. 

Figure Out Your Ideal Weight Class for the Tournament

One thing you have to know before signing up for your first competition is your weight class. Do know that competition hosts exercise fairness by categorizing their competitors based on rank, weight and age group. 

The reason behind knowing your ideal weight class prior to signing up is to gauge the preparation you have to make. This means, either gaining, cutting or maintaining weight before the competition. 

In addition to that, on the day of the competition, they actually weigh you before your match. Therefore, if you do not meet the weight class that you signed up for, you can be disqualified. 

Trust us, we have witnessed people trying to cut weight on the competition itself, by doing some last minute cardio and starving themselves. We do not want that for you. 

In addition to this, if you are competing in Gi, know that your Gi is worn when you are being weighed in. Therefore, when you weigh yourself prior to signing up to the competition do it in your Gi. So that, you will not have any issues with your weight on the event. 

Rooster – under 55.6 kg (under 122.6 lbs);
Light feather – above 55.6 kg and under 61.7 kg (122.6 – 136 lbs);
Feather – above 61.7kg and under 67.5 kg (136 – 149 lbs);
Light – above 67.5 kg and under 73.5 kg (149 – 162.6 lbs);
Middle – above 73.5 kg and under 79.6 kg (162.6 – 175.6 lbs);
Medium heavy – above 79.6 kg and under 85.5 kg (175.6 – 188.6 lbs);
Heavy – above 85.5 kg and under 91.6 kg (188.6 – 202 lbs);
Super heavy – above 91.6 kg and under 97.5 kg (202 – 215 lbs);
Ultra heavy – above 97.5 kg, no upper limit (215 lbs and up);
Open class – open to all weight classes

Study the Rules of the Competition

One of the things that you should include in your competition preparation checklist is to study the rules. 

Know that each and every competition host has their own set of rules that they follow. Additionally, these rules are made to protect and exercise fairness among the competitors.

Moreover, these rules were made to give everyone a fair chance of success with minimal risk for injuries. Even though they might be similar to one another, you still have to be familiar with it. 

So let us go over, why do you need to study the rules? Well, it is a way to protect yourself on the day of the event.

One of the most vital reasons is that you do not want to be disqualified. Do know that there are certain things that are not allowed during the competition. Moreover, there are moves that are not allowed for certain belts or ranks. Proper knowledge will help you avoid these circumstances. 

One of the most common reasons for disqualificiation is knee reaping.

Furthermore, you want to be able to know if you were able to score points and contests if you are being called out. Just like in anything you do, proper knowledge is needed. 

Related: Interested in doing a competition with open palm strikes – check out Comabat Jiu Jitsu

Try to Get Proper Sleep the Night Before

We know that before a match, you will feel all sorts of emotion at least the day before. However, you still have to get the proper sleep that you need the night before. Why? Well, this is to allow you to be at your best during the event the next day. 


  • Try to get 8 hours of sleep. 
  • Keep your room cool, dark and quiet. 
  • Do not take naps in the afternoon. 
  • Avoid using mobile phones or computers at least an hour before your bedtime. 
  • Do not go to bed hungry or with a full stomach. 

Choose to Eat Healthy Leading up to the Competition and the Day of Competition

Choosing to eat healthy is a lifestyle. Do know that before your competition, proper preparation is necessary. Therefore, this includes your eating habits. 

So before the competition, try to make sure that you get the right balanced meal before. Make sure also, that you are able to maintain the weight class that you signed up for. 

Moreover, do not change your eating pattern or try new meals on the day of the competition. This is due to the fact that your body may react differently which we want to avoid at all cost because it can affect your game. 

Pack your gym bag early

Pack your gym back early! You do not want to forget anything before the competition. 

Make sure that you have everything you need before your competition is ready. Keep in mind that it is better to prepare early since this will give you more time to double check. 

Competition Checklist: 

  • Gi or No Gi apparel – Bring your competition uniform. Always make sure though, that you are bringing the competition standard attire. This means that your Gi or rash guard is competition approved. HeavyBJJ recommends bringing in another set of uniforms. Why? Well, sometimes, matches can get too intense, your uniform can have slight damage. Thus, it can make you uncomfortable or hinder your performance in the next matches. 
  • Protection Gear – bring in the mouth guard, or groin protector if you prefer using that. 
  • Snacks – Bring in healthy snacks that can keep you energized while waiting for your match. Our recommendations for best competition snacks are: bananas, grapes, protein bar, trail mix, etc. Keep in mind not to try anything new on the day of the competition, because this may cause adverse effects. Thus, preventing you from being your best self, or worse, competing. 
  • Water or electrolyte drinks – Hydration is very important! Stay hydrated to avoid cramps. Replenish after each match.
  • Change of clothes – Know that we highly encourage proper hygiene in BJJ. Therefore, do not go home in your BJJ attire. Bring in that set of clothes that you will use after the competition. In addition to that, some events have shower rooms which you can utilize. You can also take a shower if possible.

Warm Up Properly

Arrive early in the venue to give yourself time to warm up. Of course, it will be an intense day for you so you want your body to be ready for everything. Moreover, warm ups are very important because they reduce your risk of injury during the competition.

Also, we are recommending doing this same warm up routine before each class leading up to the tournament to help better normalize the tournament environment. 

In addition to that, your body can be prone to injury if you try a new warm up that you are not used to or confident in doing. Hence, do what you are used to or something that your body is very familiar with. 

Record your Match If Possible

Get that camera or cell phone ready and record your match, only if possible. Aside from serving as something that you can look back into in the future, this is to help you assess yourself. 

Therefore, recording your match gives you the opportunity to see how you performed during the day. To add to that, you can also see the opportunities you might have missed or might have taken advantage of.

Watch the video below of Zack, HeavyBJJ’s founder and creator during his 1st ever BJJ match.

Learn from your Competition Mistakes and Appreciate What you Did Well

If things do not go as planned, then you must still give credit to yourself for doing your best.  What is important is to learn from your mistakes or missed opportunities during the match. 

Furthermore, you must also appreciate the things that you were able to do. You have dedicated time and effort preparing for this match and we know that you tried your best. 

What is good about this though, is that you get to gauge at what level you are and the things you still have to work on in your future training session. 

What to Expect for your First BJJ Tournament?

How to Deal with a BJJ Competition Loss

Expect the unexpected during the tournament! You may have been replaying this event in your head even before the day itself. However, trust us when we say it will be a whole different experience. A great and thrilling experience. 

Here is what you can expect during your first competition: 

  • You will get nervous or anxious. This is totally normal. These butterflies in your stomach are actually adrenaline running through your veins. Enjoy it! Allow this feeling to make you perform your best on the mats. 
  • The opponent in front of you worked hard like you. They have been training as well and prepared for this match! So give it your best shot. 
  • You will get tired. But this is why you trained hard and prepared your mind and body. This is because you will be giving your 100% during your match, and the same goes for your opponent. Therefore, stay hydrated and snack if you have to replenish your energy. 
  • Prepare for a take down. Not everyone pulls guard at the start of the competition. Hence, if your opponent takes you down, you must know how to land properly to avoid any injury. 
  • Well, you are a winner! You are a winner because win or lose, you gained experience and knowledge. 

How to Deal with Competition Nerves?

Do not worry, feeling nervous and that mild anxiety is normal before a competition. We all know that there are different things you are looking forward to or at least thinking about. 

What we want to tell you is, there are different ways to calm your nerves during this exciting event! Here is the brief overview of the things that you can do not to feel that anxious or nervous: 

  • Positive Visualization – You can create the event or the match in your head and visualize yourself calm and confident in the setting. Moreover, you can also try to picture the different techniques and submissions that you want to use during the match. 
  • Mediation – Another thing that goes a long way, on and off the mats is meditation. One of the meditative sense is called mindfulness. This means, allowing yourself to completely focus on your breath to help clear your mind. 

We actually have a full article about how to deal with competition nerves. Click here to access it. 

How to Prepare for your First Competition

Each and everyone is different when it comes to preference. However, there are some things that we highly recommend doing in preparation for your first BJJ competition. 

  • Check your weight and monitor it. Make sure that you are able to stay within the weight class that you signed up for. 
  • Train consistently. The more you train, the more you learn and the more mat exposure you have. Thus, allowing you to practice your skills and techniques. 
  • Lifestyle change is needed. This is not something that you can do overnight, but you can start with being consistent with your diet and your sleep schedule. This allows your body to be replenished. 
  • Get advise from your coach or professor about their competition tips and what things you can improve on in your next training session. Hence, you can apply these on competition day. 

What Takedowns are Best for your First Competition?

Like I previously mentioned, be prepared for a take down. But also be ready to take down your opponent. Here are some of the takedowns that you can utilize in your first competition. Or atleast start learning already: 

  • Single Leg 
  • Double Leg 
  • Foot Sweep 
  • Arm Drag
  • Uchi Mata 
  • Ankle Pick 

If you are unable to learn all, at least learn 2 or 3 of them and master it. Try to use it as much as possible during your training sessions. Moreover, try to apply it during live sparring and find opportunities to improve your skills.

We actually have a full post on the best takedowns for a beginner. Just click here.

What Submissions Are Best for Beginners?

Arm in Guillotine Choke

As a white belt, know that there are submissions that are being taught already. Here are the most common with high success rate: 

These submissions mentioned above actually have a lot of different variations. If you are unable to learn everything, at least master one submission, and familiarize yourself with the others. 

The reason behind this is that we want you to be able to develop identifying different openings. Meaning, if your submission does not work, you can transition to another variation or a different one. 

Click on the submission from the list above to get the full guide on each.

What Are Some of the Best Competitions For Beginners

There are different competitions to choose from that you can join as a beginner. Although we recommend that you start with organizations that thold smaller local tournaments, namely: 

  • Naga
  • Grappling X 
  • Jiu Jitsu World League 

The reason behind this is that, since it is your first competition, you want to be able to gauge your skills and knowledge first. 

In addition to that, if possible, we recommend that you avoid large tournaments such as IBJJF World, ADCC Trials, etc. because some of the competitors joining here are highly experienced already and have most likely been exposed to local competitions already. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there white belt tournaments?

Yes, there are tournaments made for white belts only. This will depend on the competition host. 

Moreover, white belts are also allowed to join big events made by different competition hosts like: 

  • IBJJF 
  • Grappling X 
  • ADCC 
  • Others 

If you’re a white belt should you do a bjj competition

Definitely join a competition even if you are a white belt. We actually highly encourage you to sign up for one, as long as you are prepared. The reason behind this is that joining a competition allows you to test your skills and gauge your knowledge of the sport. Moreover, it will be a fun and thrilling experience for you! 

How long does it take to get a white belt?

Just like any martial art, there is a rank system in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Now, the question is, how long does it take to get a white belt? Well, the moment you step on the mats, you are considered a white belt already. 

What you should prepare for and train for is to earn your first stripe in BJJ a white belt. This will be your first milestone as a BJJ practitioner.

Here is our full guide on what BJJ stripes mean.

Why do bjj white belts quit?

If you have been training BJJ for quite some time, know that some white belts actually quit after several weeks or months of training. We have to understand that each and everyone has their own reason. However, here are the most common ones: 

Hope this has been a great read for you!

Stay tuned for our next posts! But for now, click on another read!

Catch ya next time! 

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