For anyone who has competed in more than one tournament format, we have to understand and learn how to deal with different rule sets. Some tournament formats are more liberal in their rule sets, allowing a variety of approaches to reach victory, whilst others are more restrictive. From the perspective of a competitor, it is crucial that one learns how to deal with restrictive rule sets. This article will provide you with some advice and tips for dealing with a restrictive rule set.
Within competitive Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, there are a variety of tournaments that present competitors with a variety of rule sets & requirements for participation in competition. Some rule sets, such as Submission Only offer a lot more freedom than an IBJJF tournament which has points, shorter time limits, restrictions on specific techniques etc.
The reality is that some tournaments present a more restricted rule format than others. We, as the competitors can choose to enter whatever tournament we want, and if we choose to enter a tournament with a restricted rule set we must know how to deal with it. Here are some tips for dealing with a restrictive rule set.
Understand the ins and outs of the rules that you will be competing under.
Too many times I have seen competitors disqualified or lose because they simply didn’t understand the rules. Know what is legal and what is illegal. You’ve potentially spent a lot of time and money preparing for this competition, the last thing you want is to lose on a technicality.
Prepare for the rule set during your training.
Whilst preparing for your upcoming competition, it is important that you train & develop a strategy with the particular rule set you’re competing under in mind. If the rule set doesn’t allow for the use of certain techniques, there isn’t much point in practicing those techniques leading up to the tournament. Develop strategies that will translate well to the rule set you are competing under; going into any competition with a strategy relieves some of the already considerable amount of pressure you will be under.
Learn to use the rules to your advantage.
Restrictive rules are not always a bad thing; once we understand how the rules can be used to our advantage we can begin to devise strategies that maximize our performance within their parameters. When certain techniques are considered illegal, we can put ourselves into positions that, in other circumstances where those techniques were considered legal, would be unfavorable to employ and use those to gain the upper hand without as much risk.
Every rule set has its own pros and cons, with many preferring a certain format to another. At the bottom of the issue lies two things:
1. Competing regularly can help you to improve.
2. Being open to every opportunity to compete increases the number of learning opportunities available to you.
So, if you can learn to compete under any rule set and learn to deal with restriction or liberty in a format, you will maximize the amount of opportunities you have to learn.
It’s okay to prefer one rule set to another, but try to be open-minded and test your skills in every format. Remember this: It’s all a learning opportunity. The worst thing that could happen is that you lose and have some very clear feedback on what you need to learn. The best thing that could happen is that you discover that, regardless of the rules, you are a proficient martial artist and your skills are not limited by rules, opponents, format or pressure.
Thanks for reading.