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BJJ competition winning formula – The holy grail

“I’d have won easily if I knew this stuff!” – Comment by TFC student after reading this article

Getting to the end of your first competition and looking back at the glaringly obvious mistakes that resulted in you losing is no fun. But, honestly, it happens to 99% of competitors. This article is a cheat code, if you put into practise everything we mention, you’ll be going into competition day ready to dominate. Yes, you’ll learn a lot from losing, but who really wants to lose? Right, no one.

You need a plan, we’re going to provide you with the BJJ competition winning formula. 

Now let’s get down to business, we are here to win gold.

  • 1 The system

    “..this will ensure you come into competition day with an unfair but completely legal advantage.”


    Look, if you’re really interested in winning rather than just taking part, you need a system to trust in. Why? Because you have a limited amount of time and energy. If you want to get the best out of yourself, you need to allocate your time to each of the following components of the BJJ competition winning formula. This will ensure you come into competition day with an unfair but completely legal advantage on all of the competitors. At TFC we build beasts, beasts win competitions, no scratch that, beasts dominate competitions. You can trust us. Anyway, let’s get into the meat and potatoes.

  • 2 BJJ Specific Training

    “..you and your partner having a bust up is a flash in the pan, you winning gold is something you’ll never forget.”

    Your competition is always doing more than you, even if that isn’t necessarily a fact, that is the mindset you need to have. Why? Because that is what is going to get you into the gym to train when you are feeling a bit demotivated for whatever reason. Following the BJJ competition winning formula is essential. You and your partner having a bust up is a flash in the pan, you winning gold is something you’ll never forget. The days you miss or make to the gym are the ones that will either pave the road to success or failure at competition. If you genuinely want to dominate your competition, you need to be training and training regularly. 

  • 3 Cardio and Strength

    “..if you live on the mats, this can potentially be overlooked. But you don’t, because you have a life.”


    Fundamentally you want to go into competition day with at least +25% more of a gas tank than anyone you compete against. Yes, that does mean you’ll have to work harder than them for the additional +25% during training but it also means you’re coming in at a significant advantage. If you live on the mats, this can potentially be overlooked. But you don’t, because you have a life. So knuckle down and get the extra cardio and strength training in.  There are some greasy slime balls that are really blue belts competing at white belt tournaments, this extra 25% will deal with them as well as the actual white belts. We got you covered.

    Keep it simple. 

    Cardio – Running, Cycling, Swimming.

    Strength training – Compound lifts (Starting Strength program)

  • 4 Break

    “..if you follow just these two, you’re already ahead of the pack.”


    Right, so we’ve covered the first 2 steps in the BJJ competition winning formula. If you follow just these two, you’re already ahead of the pack. But, we don’t want to be just a bit ahead of the pack, we’re looking to dominate. Right? The following three steps will put you head and shoulders ahead, so let’s get into it.

  • 5 Learning and training using the points system

    “..it may seem like a pointless exercise but it is a crucial part in the development of you from a green BJJ competitor to a BJJ dominating beast.”


    If you’re thinking of competing, you better know how the points system works. Study it, memorise it, watch sparring and videos and call out in your head the points being scored. You want this to become second nature. It may seem like a pointless exercise but it is a crucial part in the development of you from a green BJJ competitor to a BJJ dominating beast. The scoring system needs to be imprinted on your mind, no matter what state you’re in, you need to be able to count points flawlessly.

  • 6 Energy management

    “..remember, your goal is to win gold. If you win by 1 point or 20 points, it doesn’t make a difference.”


    No matter whether you trained like a monster during preparation and come in with an extra +25% on top of your competition, if you don’t manage your energy effectively your advantage means nothing. Remember, your goal is to win gold. If you win by 1 point or 20 points, it doesn’t make a difference. Gold is gold. Give yourself the best chance of winning by doing just enough with the least amount of energy possible to finish each round a few points ahead of your opponent. If the submission attempt pops up and it looks on, take it. Otherwise, point these punks out. 

  • 7 Mindfulness

    “..there are no lions, no guns, no lasers shooting from Godzilla’s eyes. Nothing to panic about.”

    People panic way too much. There is nothing for you to panic about in a BJJ competition. ESPECIALLY if you follow the BJJ competition winning formula. Repeat after me, “there is nothing for me to panic about in a BJJ competition”. There are no lions, no guns, no lasers shooting from Godzilla’s eyes. Nothing to panic about. When you panic you get stupid, when you panic you energy will tank faster than a sinking ship at sea.

    If you’ve done all of the above and still find yourself in a sticky situation, you breathe, you stall for a moment to weigh up your options and then you pick one and go with it 100%, no self-doubt, back yourself. 

    Make this your mantra – “There is nothing for me to panic about in a BJJ competition. I am here to pickup what is rightfully mine”.

    Good job champ, now let’s carry on.

  • 8 Diet during preparation

    “..fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish are your go to food categories when you’re trying to fuel your body to reach optimal functioning.


    What you put into your body leading up to a competition is really important. This is basically the fuel you’re providing your body with to complete workouts and repair fast enough for the next time you demand your body to exert itself. In most cases, especially as a beginner competing, hiring a nutritionist is overkill. Fundamentally, what you’re aiming to do is to cut out the processed foods and bring in the whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish are your go-to food categories when you’re trying to fuel your body to reach optimal functioning. Don’t forget to drink water regularly! So obvious, but so often overlooked. This is not optional if you want to implement the BJJ competition winning formula for full effect.

    Needing to cut to make a weight class? We suggest checking out videos by combat nutritionists such as Mike Dolce here. Plenty of tips and techniques on how to do it properly. Don’t just starve yourself! Going into a competition severely depleted is a terrible position to put yourself in, both competitively and in the long run.

  • 9 Diet on the day

    “..just like anything, simple is often the best bet.”

    Due to everybody being different, there isn’t necessarily a MUST consume diet for competition day. However, there are things to be avoided. Don’t eat a big meal before competing, you’ll likely be feeling it before seeing it come back up. Never load up on sugary treats, the crash isn’t worth it. Don’t consume anything spicy or that could potentially upset your stomach, you want all your focus to be on the competition.

    Just like anything, simple is often the best bet. A cup of coffee, banana and a peanut butter sandwich is a solid choice. Always have a bottle of clean drinking water with you, hydration is a must.

  • 10 Rules

    “..rules are to be followed in competition, even if you can get away with it.”

    Under no circumstances are intentional strikes allowed in BJJ. However, there are also some moves that are not allowed either, especially for white belt competitions. Such as; wrist locks and single leg takedowns (with head outside the body). For a more comprehensive list on what is and isn’t allowed at the competition you’re attending, check what ruleset the competition is following and then read up on it to get to grips with the parameters you’ll need to work within. 9 times out of 10 it will be the IBJJF rules, you can find that here. Rules are to be followed in competition, even if you can get away with it. 

  • 11 BONUS

    Here is a little something special for you..

    We’ve put together a special video just for you! It covers the essentials to ensure you go into your next competition confident and ready to battle for gold! Check it out below.

  • 12Conclusion

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    9 times out of 10 the winner is decided outside of competition day, the work you put in and how you choose to allocate your time means everything. Our BJJ competition winning formula lays out for you how to smash any competition you enter. Send us your pictures and stories of winning gold, we’d love to hear from you.

    Come train with us, book a free trial here.

    Living in/around Brisbane? Check out the local competitions here.

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