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Team Link Northampton prepares for battle: Competition training camp begins

Here there be burpees.

Team Link Northampton kicks off competition season today with its first Sunday training camp session of the year, preparing for the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Boston Spring Open. Northampton competition training is open to any Team Link member from any location who is preparing for the Boston Open.

What is competition training camp?

If our Academy is preparing for a major competition, we'll hold special competitor-only training sessions. These camps help competitors safely learn to build the intensity of their rolls, refine their competition strategy and get experience with goal-oriented positional drilling.

During the weeks leading up to competition, our regular adult Brazilian jiu jitsu classes also increase in intensity to make sure our competitors build up the technique, physical stamina and cardio endurance to stay strong through the final rounds. We usually have extra drills, reps and burpees for competitors that our optional for others in the class -- though many of our non-competitor members decide to challenge themselves and participate in the extra competition work outs, too.

Our competition training sessions are on Sundays, at varying times. If you're a Team Link member who will be in Western Mass. on a Sunday leading up to the Boston Open, message Coach Gary or the Team Link Northampton page on Facebook for times.

What's the "competition team" and how to I join?

At Team Link Noho, anyone who wants to train for a tournament is a part of our competition team. On the mats we have men and women of all ages, weight classes, experience levels and belt levels, including first-time competitors, former competitive wrestlers, and past IBJJF gold medalists, World Champions and Pan American Champions.

We encourage everyone at our Academy to try testing themselves at least once in some competition, large or small. You can learn more about jiu jitsu from a five-minute competition match than you can from weeks of classes, and there's nothing quite like the experience of preparing for competition, having a set goal to sharpen and refine your skills, and then stepping onto the mat with an entire team at your back cheering you on. Many of our team's top competitors joined the academy with absolutely no intention of ever fighting in a tournament -- then discovered a love for competing after their first match. Other Team Link members tried competing once or twice and were glad for the experience, but had no desire to try it again.

All that said, competition isn't for everyone. We're all on our own jiu jitsu journey, and we all have a lot we can learn from each other. Our non-competitors are a vital part of the Academy, and we all train together and help each other sharpen our tools and techniques.

Am I too old/inexperienced/big/small to compete?


Almost all competitions have divisions based on gender, age and weight class. No one -- the referees, the organizers, your opponent, your coach -- no one wants to set up unfair fights, so competitions make every effort possible to create fair brackets.

How do I know if I'm good enough to compete?

If you train regularly, you are good enough to compete.

What are the Team Link Noho rules for competition training?

1. Take care of yourself. Challenge yourself and take risks, but remember that you have to come back and go hard tomorrow. Tap early, tap often, and take care of your vehicle on and off the mats.

2. Take care of your training partner. You can't train if you don't have anyone to train with. If you're partner doesn't realize that they are in a precarious or dangerous position, pull back and reset instead of finishing your sweep or submission.

3. No one competes alone. When a Team Link Noho member competes in Massachusetts or Connecticut, they always have a cheering section. Win or lose, we cheer on and support all of our team mates just for putting themselves out there.

4. Together We Are Stronger.

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