I Don't Love Jiu Jitsu But I'm Competing Anyway

Lindsay is an MMA enthusiast from Kansas City. She's been training in jiu jitsu for one year at Kansas City Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and American Top Team HD. Lindsay co-runs the KC Women's Fighter Alliance, a group dedicated to connecting women martial artists in the Kansas City and surrounding areas. 

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The women and men who train jiu jitsu are, in my opinion, very special, as picking up any momentum in the sport can be painfully slow. To expect instant gratification after your first or second class is the worst thing you can do, because trust me, it’s going to take you a long time get a grasp on anything.  

Part of the process in learning BJJ is accepting that you won’t always be successful, and committing to coming back week after week for repeated ass kickings. 

It’s by far one of the most humbling experiences of my life, and continues to be.  

My primary reason for learning jiu jitsu is because it is a component of MMA. My martial arts relationships are kind of like this:

Striking is my husband.

Jiu jitsu is my boyfriend.

Wrestling is my side piece.

So, I’m learning to love BJJ, but it’s been a very slow process. 



If I had a nickel for every time one of my teammates was competing in a tournament, I’d have a lot of fucking nickels.

It’s really quite inspiring to see how competitive BJJ people are in the sport, and I am no different. This is one of the reasons why I’ve delayed competing for so long: I wanted to feel as if I had a grasp on the fundamentals and could hang with another person before throwing myself into a competition.

While I recognize that I’m a beginner in the sport by all definitions, I fully believe in being as prepared to perform as possible. And that competitive nature and inherently high expectation of myself, combined with learning a frequently frustrating sport like jiu jitsu, has taken me a long time to mentally, physically and skillfully get to a level I’m confident at.

The Transition From Non-Competitor to Competitor

When I made the decision to compete in BJJ, it was after a very rough patch of training where I was considering walking away from martial arts entirely. From being sick of getting my ass kicked, to tired of being the only female in striking, to feeling like an epic failure after getting squashed by dudes with less skill and experience but more size than me, I had reached a point where I thought maybe I should just say fuck it.

Then it dawned on me as I was mulling over these thoughts of quitting, “why not end 2016 by doing something totally crazy?” Competing was exactly what I needed to not only reinvigorate my game, but to evaluate where I was at with my BJJ progress. 

I messaged my coach and told him I wanted to compete December 17th.

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My Training Schedule & Preparation

Here’s my typical training schedule on a weekly basis:

Strength training
Muay Thai & Sparring

Work with coach
Meal prep

When I work with my coach, we usually split our time between striking and grappling. Wrestling is sprinkled in there, too. Sometimes I’ll also go to an open mat or wrestling practice if I have the energy

Strength training
MMA or Gi

No Gi

Strength training
Muay Thai & sparring

No Gi


Only You Know When You’re Ready

For me, the key to staying with this sport has always been listening to my own intuition. A lot of people will tell you in this sport what’s good for you, what you need to do, when you need to do it, etc. Most of them have good intentions (and some will even be right), but only you will know when and if you’re ready to compete. 

One caveat: remember sometimes it’s good to push yourself outside your comfort zone in order to grow; that was my determining factor in deciding to compete.

so, what do you think?

would you ever compete? is anything holding you back?

or, have you competed? what wisdom would you share from that experience? 

Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!