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How To Manage Fear In BJJ Tournament

How To Manage Fear In BJJ Tournament

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
(John F. Kennedy)

The majority of the population grows up with the fear of something in their lives. Some have a fear of high places, some feel anxiety to see deep water and darkness. In addition, nervousness before BJJ tournaments is not rare. Every student or athlete faces stress before going to the competition. Although to some extent, this fear seems rational, the goal is to overcome the fear. In this article, we will discuss the signs of fear before BJJ competitions and tips to overcome such a stressful condition.

1. What is the Fear of Failure?

What is the Fear of Failure?

Fear of Failure is referred to as “Atychiphobia” which means “Unfortunate” in Greek. It may drive you to postpone or avoid any task or event with the potential of failure. A person with Atychiphobia is afraid to attempt new things and take risks due to his fear.

2. Reasons Behind Fear of Failure in BJJ Competitions

The causes of fear can be related to several factors. But regardless of how they begin, they can always have a deleterious effect on one's mental well-being, beliefs, emotions, behavior, and actions.

If Atychiphobia is not addressed properly, it can lead to physical and mental illnesses. It's difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of your fear of failure before BJJ tournaments. However, The following factors indicate the possibility of Atychiphobia.

  • Atychiphobia is associated with traumatic or bad experiences. If someone has faced a bad reaction in case of failure. He/she may fear experiencing the same consequences again in case of failure. 
  • Fear of disapproval by coaches.
  • Fear of disappointment after failure.
  • Worry about costing your team.
  • It also links with your family history, if anyone in the family has a phobia (fear of failing) then there are more chances for you to experience Atychiphobia.
  • One of the major causes of Actinophobia is associated with the environment in which you spend your childhood. For example, if you are grown up in an environment where failure is not acceptable then you may develop an acute fear of failure.

3. Signs that Express Your Fear Before BJJ Competitions

Procrastination, anxiety, hopelessness, and even physiological symptoms like tiredness or headaches are signs of Atychiphobia. It's completely legitimate to be a little concerned with how something will turn out or what other people will think, but it becomes an issue when it stops you from moving forward. The common symptoms that BJJ practitioners can experience before going to the mat are

  • Fatigue, dizziness, joint and muscle pain, and headaches
  • Digestive problem
  • Shortness in breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Having concerns about the remarks of other people if you fail an exam or tournament
  • Face unnecessary distractions during work
  • Feeling hopelessness about your future goals
  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Pessimistic views
  • Unable to bear constructive criticism
  • Afraid of accepting challenges
  • Depression
  • Stress that causes chest pain
  • Irritability
  • Trembling
  • Indigestion
  • Hyperhidrosis ( Excessive sweating)

BJJ practitioners may experience one or more of the above-mentioned signs that show their nervousness before the competition. However, these tips can help BJJ practitioners to overcome pre-competition nervousness and fear. 

4. Tips to Overcome Fear Before Going to a BJJ Tournament

BJJ practitioners may face an excessive amount of fear before their competition. It is described as a fear of a particular thing, event, or outcome. Do you believe some grapplers are afraid of failure in BJJ competitions? Take the example of Gilbert Burns.

"It's getting worse, you know. I have a psychologist that I talk to. I did very well, especially in the grappling scenario. I got a couple of submissions in, and that kind of boosted my confidence so much that it passed the level where it was over. I was overconfident."
(Gilbert Burns)

Atychiphobia is a real thing. But never allow it to stop you from becoming the best possible version of Jiu-Jitsu.

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.”
(Henry Ford)

Loud music, bright lights, and screaming cheerleaders can sometimes cause stress before the BJJ tournaments. However, knowing how to be calm and collected in this type of situation can push the fighting confidence of grapplers up across the board.

Here are some tips to assist BJJ enthusiasts that can overcome their fear of participating and winning the BJJ championship.

4.1. Redefined your Success

Every player should know that real success is in learning from your mistakes. The journey toward success starts with the day when you stop avoiding and start accepting and learning from your mistakes. 

4.2. Know What is Actual Failure

The most important practice grapplers have to do to overcome fears is to build a new relationship with failure. Fear of failure only generates when one takes failure as a life-destroying disaster.

As a BJJ lover, you should retrain your mind on the point that failure is a chance to learn and the first step towards your entire success. It's a doable challenge that allows progress rather than a roadblock in your career. Such a mindset can never lower your confidence on the mat in Jiu-Jitsu.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that count”
(Winston Churchill)

4.3. Boost your Self Esteem

The key part to overcoming failure is believing in yourself on priority. You have to keep believing in your abilities to cope with the fear of failure. The best possible way to boost your self-esteem is to focus on your talent and strengths. So, start working to build full confidence in your abilities and talent. This practice will surely reduce your pre-competition anxiety.

4.4. Permitting Yourself to Fail

Avoiding failure can never help BJJ practitioners to grow and succeed in their professional lives. If you face failure on the ground, take failure as a learning opportunity. This habit will lead you to your full potential.

4.5. Stay Away from Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts are considered a big hurdle in the path to your success. However, you should stay away from the pessimist and refresh your mind before your BJJ competition.

4.6. Establish a Calm Mind and Body

Anxiety disorders, fears, tension, stress, and panic attacks are common not only in BJJ but also in all martial arts. Mentally and physically engaging activities and responsibilities potentially help us cope with these situations. To address this, do not sway the issue, address it, find the root cause by engaging in relaxation techniques and focus on the silver linings.

Meditation, guided visualization, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation are all excellent stress-reduction techniques. At the same time, prioritize your food, sleep, and workout to keep yourself stress-free.

4.7. Focus On your Goals

Goal-setting is an excellent way to overcome the fear of failing. Like all other skills, goal setting demands regular daily focus and refinement. Try to evaluate your progress on the mat after setting a realistic goal. You will see positive results if you commit to both physical and mental training.

4.8. Develop a Strategy

A good strategy is a roadmap to success. This will not only make the grapplers perform well on the mat but also increase their chances of winning. So, grapplers should consider developing an excellent strategy to control their opponents on the mat. This practice will also help them to control their pre-competition nerves and give them confidence.

5. How Does Self-Motivation Help BJJ Practitioners?

“To be a champion, compete; to be a great champion, compete with the best; but to be the greatest champion, compete with yourself.”
(Matshona Dhliwayo)

Self-motivation can urge BJJ lovers to eliminate the fear of failing in tournaments. Some self-motivating practices can help BJJ practitioners to overcome the fear of competition.

  • You are unique in your abilities and performance.
  • You may also go through the phrase “Be your competition”. So, try to focus on your abilities.

6. Prevention and Treatment of Atychiphobia

Fears and phobias are generally not preventable but you can manage and cope with them by adopting the right approaches.


In addition, several therapy treatments can help grapplers to reduce their fear of BJJ competitions.

7. FAQs

7.1. Why Do Some People Fear Competition?

People often face the fear of failure before going to competitions. They thought that the result of the competition would denote them. That’s why they hesitate or feel fear of failure before going to the competitions.

7.2. How Do Athletes Control Anxiety?

Athletes can control their anxiety levels by focusing on their performance on the ground. When they focus on execution rather than the result of the match, they could get a better result.

7.3. Do Professional Fighters Feel Scared Before a Fight?

Yes, professional fighters can also face pre-fight anxiety. Although there is no rule set that everyone feels the same, most of the players face pre-competition nerves before their competition. 

8. Conclusion

Fear and getting nervous before a BJJ competition are always there. However, it is necessary to overcome the fear of failure if you want to achieve your dreams and reach your maximum potential. The above-discussed tips will surely help the grapplers to manage their fear before going on the mat.

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