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Next Level Guy

Oct 28, 2021

Today’s guest is Rob Biernacki. 

Rob is Head instructor of Island Top Team, creator of Submission Formula, BJJ Formula, Modern Leg Lock Formula, purveyor of the Rob Biernacki Online Academy, a master of conceptual jiu-jitsu and occasional masters competitor.

This is round two with Rob. (Please see episode #117 for part one). We join this one in pre-interview chat, and we kept chatting about great stuff, so we hit record and went into it. That's why there is no formal intros at the start. This one is more a chat than a normal interview, and Rob is fantastic throughout! 

In this interview, we discuss:  

  • Key insights to BJJ competing
  •  How to prepare physically and technically for competing. 
  • Why you don't need more cardio to be a better competitor in most situations. 
  • How you can strengthen your mindset for competitions.
  • A key rubric to focus on in your BJJ development.
  • And so much more! 

Here are some key points that I would advise you to concentrate on

  • Competing as BJJ hobbyist vs being a BJJ athlete. 
  • Why in-house competitions are maybe the best approach to learning about competing and overcoming the nerves. It lets you compete for the first time eliminating the normal nerves associated with training.
  • The different kinds of competitions that you can compete in as part of BJJ. 
  • There are a wide range of competitions, with different goals, pressures, rule sets etc, allowing a lot of variety for each practitioner to compete in a competition that is suitable for them. 
  • People can lose confidence in their ability on the mats by competing in the wrong style of competition and coming up against professional athletes. 
  • Why it is silly to compare others' successes against your own, as different competitions attract a different number of competitors. 
  • Competing is a separate skill to learn in BJJ, like all other aspects of BJJ, competing is its own sub-set of BJJ. 
  • Your skills in the gym are not an indicator of how your skills will be available to you when you compete, as the nerves and adrenaline is flowing. You need to learn to be skillful at competing. 
  • You need to know your true skill level and competition experience to pick your most suitable competition options. 
  • Using competitions to judge your current progress in your BJJ skills is not a good idea.
  • You should always prep for your competition. Think of competing like a soldier getting ready for battle, you wouldn't just walk into a war zone, why would you expect a BJJ competition to be any different. 
  • Working under pressure can hinder your BJJ performance if it is not something you are used to. 
  • Are Shark Tanks and simulating competition matches a good indicator for prepping for competition. 
  • Mental strength and resilience training can be a great boost as part of your competition prep. 
  • Using your first few competitions as an experiment, as you learn the skill of competing, and learning how to amend your approach for the next one, is a good approach to go, to remove the weight of expectation and ego from your shoulders. 
  • How can you change a negative mindset to competing and lack of belief in your own abilities. Why you need to find a purpose outside of the winning and the losing side of things. 
  • What helped Rob take the pressure off himself when he competed? The pressure doesn't go, you need to find a way to use the pressure as a positive. You will feel the fear anyway, use it as a way to get excited to compete. 
  • How to setup your physical prep for your first competitions? Prep for your competition by doing BJJ. Don't expect to do weights, extra cardio etc in addition to normal training, as a BJJ hobbyist. 
  • Competing in BJJ is extremely tiring but needing more cardio is rarely true - you just need to compete more. 
  • How you can use conceptual BJJ to increase your chance of success in competitions and how conceptual BJJ can assist coach calls to their students during rolls?
  • Are there common faults that Rob sees with how new competitors approach their tactical game for competitions? 
  • Why you need guard retention to compete! 
  • How should you use YouTube and BJJ instructional programs in your competition prep? 
  • Your instructor should influence you,your teammates too. You should not be a carbon copy of another BJJ competitor. 
  • Don't be a technique collector at white-belt and when and why you should look outside your coach and school, to better your game with various additional sources of information. 
  • How can you monitor your progression in your competition ability and prep? Rob identifies a key rubric that you should focus on when training and prepping for competitions and beyond. 
  • What should your goals be for your first few competitions?