10 Things You Should Know Before Competing at Your 1st IBJJF Tournament 2

So you’ve been doing local tournaments and you think you got it figured out? Guess again! Doing a small local tournament isn’t the same as when you step up and compete at your first IBJJF tournament.  Let’s face it, there is not bigger tournament circuit out there! Forget everything you’ve learned and be prepared to open your mind to a whole new tournament experience.

And for our extremely brave that have never competed before, but decided to jump into your first IBJJF tournament, this is a must read for you!

Here are some helpful tips for your 1st IBJJF Tournament.

  1. Register for your current weight and age. You can always change it later. If you do need to make a change you can do so up until the Athlete Correction Deadline. This is the last day you have to change your registration information. After making the request always go back and make sure any changes you requested have been made correctly. The last day you have to check to make sure your requested change was made is the Registration Check Day.  Each tournament has different dates so check the IBJJF tournament website for deadline dates.
  2. DON’T TRUST THE PRESCHEDULE! The preschedule is not guaranteed. Book a flexible flight or plan on staying the whole tournament. The final schedule won’t come out until a few days before the tournament. Each tournament has a different Schedule Release Date which is indicated on the web page for that tournament. Know that date and be sure to check it.
  3. No refunds for you! Chances are you will not get your money back if you can’t go. There are rarely exceptions to their no refund policy. For instance if you don’t have anyone in your division they might refund you. But no guarantee. So don’t count on it.
  4. Read the rules and understand the points system. There is no rules meeting for this tournament so it is up to you to learn the rules. Study them before hand. You can even take rules classes to further understand them. http://ibjjf.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/RulesIBJJF_v4_en-US.pdf
  5. What you wear matters. There are restrictions on your gi size, color and patch placement. If your belt is worn out you better buy a competition belt because they won’t let you compete in it. Once again visit the rules book for information so you don’t get caught off guard and have to run around to buy a new gi from a vendor at the tournament. http://ibjjf.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/RulesIBJJF_v4_en-US.pdf
  6. Get there early. IBJJF may run late on occasion and sometimes they run early. Most of the time they are running on schedule. Best to get there earlier than your scheduled time. If anything you will have more time to warm up before your matches.
  7. Be prepared to weigh in right before your match. There is no way to cheat the scales because you are gonna weigh in right before you match with your gi on. If your weight is close there are scales where you can check your weight before, but there is no guarantee they are calibrated to the same weight as the official scales. In the end the official scales are what matters.
  8. Get in the Bull Pin. You might be asking what is the bull pin? That is the cage where all competitors go to anxiously wait before their matches. Depending on the set up, there is usually one or maybe two on the edge of the rings. If there is more than one it is important to be in the right one. You can either check the monitors or ask staff.
  9. Pay attention to the monitors.The monitors will tell you what number match you are in and on what mat. This is important information. But if you forget fear not your ring coordinator will help you. And the monitors in the bull pin are usually working too. As long as you are in bull pin before you matches and you will be ok.
  10. Your ring coordinator is your best friend. A ring coordinator is the person that helps keep things moving along and making sure the competitors are where they need to be. They will walk you through the process from start to finish. The most important thing for you to do is be in the bull pen before your division. This is how it will work. The ring coordinator will call your name when it is time to check you in and when it is time for your match. They will bring you over to your mat and you will usually wait “on deck” one match before it is your turn to go. They will answer any questions you have and don’t be afraid to ask.
  11. Don’t get caught escaping Acai Jail. One of the best parts of the Pans or Worlds is not just the epic matches but being able to watch them as you enjoy some yummy Samabazon Acai…that is from a distance! You can try, but good luck getting out of the Acai jail at the Pyramid! Even though at Long Beach pyramid there is a restricted area for you to get your Acai fix, it is well worth it. There is also other concessions available, but they are pricey and not exactly ideal weight cutting food. You may want to also sneak in your own food and water. But if you get caught don’t tell them we suggested it.
  12. BONUS: Just a few Do’s and Don’ts: Don’t throw up in the mats. You will get automatically disqualified. They don’t like it if you take off your uniform before you are outside the barricades. Don’t argue with the refs decision. Be nice to the staff. They are working 12-15 hour days. Most importantly and above all HAVE FUN! Win or lose you stepped out of your comfort zone and tried something new. Give your self a HIGH FIVE!

Ok, so we can’t count. It’s actually 12 things you should know. But this is just the beginning…after all we didn’t want your head to explode! There are more things you will learn along the the way. For now, the rest is up to you. Go out there and wreck it! Good luck!



 Shama Ko

Girls in Gis staff writer

Shama Ko is a brown belt with Gracie Humaita out of Austin, TX.  She has been a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner since November of 2003.  She is a photographer, writer, community organizer and activist. She heads the Girls in Gis organization or as she calls it the “movement”. She describes herself as both a lover and a fighter. She loves to laugh and not take life too seriously.

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