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Posted by Chris Stoner on 22nd May 2015
Experience is one thing that you will hear over and over. You can't get the same experience from training at your gym. At your gym everyone knows your moves and adapts to it. At a competition you can expect to learn a lot from what you fear to what you need to work on. Learn from your mistakes as you will make many through your journey.
Training frequently is great but sometimes you plateau. Going to a tournament and seeing that there are a large amount of people so committed to the sport is a huge motivation. If you train in local circuits you will gain "the friendly rival" that you either go back and fourth, or always tap you. You can capitalize on this motivation to push your limits.
The weeks leading to the tournament you also tend to be more motivated to train. You want to push hard and train hard towards the tournament to be successful.
You can always use competitions to gauge where you are in your jiu jtisu career. Are you where you think you should be? Sometimes its difficult as there are people in the competition circuits that should be a different belt AKA sandbaggers. Competition is a great way to gauge where you stand in the sport. Does it seem that everyone is in better shape than you? Maybe you should be more explosive? You can learn a lot from local and large tournaments about where you stand.
In your gym sometimes people will learn after you submit them over and over but your competition has no idea what you do. You can try all your moves on the mats and then you will see if they really work.
You will learn more humility. Not necessarily only if you lose. Even if you win you can see all the upper belts and top black belts compete which is always a humbling experience. You can see where you will be in a couple years.
Rubbing elbows with some of the best in the world or locally is always humbling. Great to meet your idols on the mats. Unlike any other huge sports the greats will usually say hi to you like they know you. Try going to say hi to any major football player and its a hit or miss.
Did you forget to breathe? Breathing and controlling your nerves is one of the most difficult things to conquer. It only becomes easier the more you compete. To know that you can control your nerves at a large platform will make your game advance to the next level. Learning to spaz less and therefore get less tired is an learning experience that is difficult to put a price on.
Take away. You learn a lot from competing. We recommend competing at local tournaments first. Do a google search on your area and sign up! You will not regret it! Go out there, train hard, do your best. Most importantly always keep learning.