Casual practitioner vs competitor in Jiu Jitsu

Kroyler’s Pro-Tip on Competitor vs your casual person that competes…

This is tough…

This breakdowns into a few segments:


2.Drive& Mental Fortitude




a.What do you want out of jiu-jitsu? Do you want an escape from your day to day life? Do you want a family? Friends? Do you want to overcome a personal issue, such as anxiety, bullying, assault and such? Do you just want to be good at jiu-jitsu? Do you have a need to push yourself?

If you just want an escape, a family, friends, or overcome a personal issue, odds are you aren’t going to be a “competitor” rather you may just be someone that on occasion will compete for fun. It will be an activity you do with your jiu-jitsu family on occasion. And it’ll never be much more than that for you. Because you are already getting your fulfillment out of jiu-jitsu, so if you ever chose to compete it’ll be a for-fun thing or a one-and-done thing. This is absolutely okay. You should never feel less if you chose to never compete for whatever reason.

Now, if you have that need to push yourself beyond class or you have that adrenaline need or if what you were looking for in jiu-jitsu was a sport to compete in...Then you may be someone that isn’t competing for fun, you're competing for win. That is your fun and that is your goal in jiu-jitsu.

Therefore, the goals that you have going into jiu-jitsu will determine what kind of training and the intensity of your training. Now understand that these aren’t two separate sects, rather it’s a spectrum, and most of us will fall someone on that spectrum. And where we fall on that spectrum may, and probably will, change throughout your jiu-jitsu journey.

2.Drive& Mental Fortitude

a.We all have different levels of drive. We must acknowledge that. If you joined jiu-jitsu with the goal of being a champ (see above point), but you have the drive of a drunken sedated slug, then you obviously aren’t going to be an avid competitor. Again, most of us will land somewhere on the drive spectrum between drunken sedated slug and a junkie looking for their fix. Where we find ourselves in that spectrum will change overtime and will be dictated by where we are in life.

b.Mental Fortitude is also a spectrum, from brittle glass to iron wills.  Unlike Drive, mental fortitude can be built up and not usually lost.  So, you may have the drive to be a champ but not the mental fortitude. Meaning you crack under pressure.

Now this by no means that if you aren’t an avid competitor that you have no drive or no mental fortitude. I just mean you have different goals, see section 1. Now if your goals areto be an avid competitor you must have drive and mental fortitude.


a.This won’t be  what you expect the title may suggest...It is rather your ability to train and the point in your life you find yourself in.

To be an avid competitor you must’ve selfish. Meaning you have to, outside the school, be self-centered. You must sleep early, not party, not eat out, not eat junk food, have to workout outside the school, you have to train all the time, you must compete all the time, you have to have the means to do all these things. We may have goals, the drive, the mental fortitude, and the means and ability to do all these things to be an avid competitor. Most of us don’t have the money or the means to make this happen. Not having the means makes life difficult. Because it puts you at a disadvantage against the competition.  Your life must allow for you to have this ability.

Not having the ability, does not mean you can’t even good at jiu-jitsu or even a great casual competitor, just means that the people trying to make a life out of competing need that edge.


a.You must have time or create time.  This is simple and straight forward.

You could have everything in this list, but if you don’t have time to execute it all, at the highest level this will be a huge disadvantage. Most of us can train 2-3 days a week for a few hours a day. More than that our families suffer, our work performance suffers, life gets in the way. Time is usually what causes most people to just be a casual competitor if they compete at all instead of the avid competitor.

So, let's look back at everything...

To be an avid competitor one needs to have that goal coming into jiujitsu or develop that goal (aka want to compete), the drive and mental fortitude, the ability and time.

Avid competitors, or people aspiring to it, are the people competing all the time, 1-2 times a month (more depending where you live), are the people looking to make a living off the competitions. These people are giving up ordinary life pleasures for competition edge. They sacrifice partying for training. Family time for training. Money for going out, clothes, etc. instead now goes to competition and travel and gear fees. With all these sacrifices and all these attributes that they must have comes a certain level of intensity.

But even avid competitors lose those attributes, remember most of these are spectrums and it changes as their life changes. Look at all the top avid competitors, what happens to all of them eventually? They settle down and focus on their schools. They get married, have kids, injuries, financial status changes, and they start having to focus on other things. So most avid competitors eventually bow out and focus on their schools. Look at the Mendes brothers, Roger Gracie, Marcelo Garcia, etc. etc. None of those guys had schools that were successful before because the focus wasn’t there it was on themselves. Its not a bad thing but its important to understand.

Being an avid competitor does not mean that your jiu-jitsu is better than the casual competitor or the person that trains for fun. That must be understood. Tough doesn’t necessarily mean better.

Does this mean that youcan’tbe a casual competitor and still do well in competitions? No. You can absolutely be a casual competitor and still do great, but you may simply lack a key attribute to be someone that lives off this. And there is nothing wrong with that. You may even have all the attributes but have no desire to compete.

Does one need to compete to be a legitimate black belt? Do they need to win a certain number of matches?  No.

Ability fades, but knowledge cannot be taken away.

My grandfather trained up until the week he died. He was 95. A red belt, the creator of this style. And he at that age could not submitBuchecha, or even just a huge athletic purple belt, does that mean he no longer is a red belt? No. Because he could pick apart their games and make them better. Another example, could Michael Phelps coach outswim Phelps? No. Does that mean that Phelps can’t learn from him? 

Kip Dice