By William F. Murphy, Ph.D., 3rd Degree Black Belt in BJJ
Do you know why competition is great?
Competition is what we call an external assessment.
Your “opponent” in competition is not your training “partner”.
Your competition opponent is not going to be nice to you.
Your competition opponent is there to prove that you are wrong.
Your competition opponent is going to disregard your personal rules.
Your competition opponent is there to show you that you don’t really know what you think that you do.
Your competition opponent only progresses to the next round if they *beat* you.
Your own instructors may be biased because they have a relationship with (teacher-student, business, friendship, etc) with you.
Even worse, if you are an instructor, you probably have a whole room full of people that you have convinced that you are better than them on mats.
Your own students almost always have too much love, respect, and fear of you to even try to really beat you.
In the practice room, you never really know if your training partners are trying to develop a particular game while rolling with you or holding back for other reasons.
If you want a real test of your skills, it usually cannot be in your own room, and certainly not with your own students if you are an instructor.
You don’t have to compete in grappling events or do MMA to practice Jiu-Jitsu.
But, external assessments are generally the most honest ones.
To truly test your Jiu-Jitsu skills for sport or self-defense, you must compete against equally well trained people who really want to defeat you.