5 Tips to Relieve Anxiety Before BJJ Class or Tournament

Feeling nervous before the Brazilian jiu-jitsu class is completely normal. Especially before tournaments and competitions, feeling anxious and nervous is nothing unusual.

With these things, you can at least try to relieve the stress before attending to a BJJ class or competition. Especially stress before competition is so common, it can be really difficult to completely remove at one shot.

The best way to feel less stressed before competitions are to attend competitions a lot. After you have been to tens of competitions and tournaments, they start to feel more common and you will feel less stressed most likely.

At the end of the day, everybody is different. Some people have almost no stress even before their first competition, while others might still feel pretty stressed after ten competitions.

Let’s get started with different ways to relieve the anxiety before class or competition.

1. Arrive early

Arriving early is one of the simplest things to relieve stress before competitions or just regular BJJ classes.

The trick behind this is you get to “familiarize” yourself with the surroundings and see other people arrive, making you feel more comfortable with the environment.

Especially if you are the last to arrive, you might feel extra nervous because everyone can see you arrive.

If you are the first one to arrive, whether it’s just a regular class or a competition, that gives you more time to get to know your surroundings.

Even if you had been there before for years, still it works to see the space with fewer people at first and see them arriving after you to feel less nervous.

2. Walk or cycle to the gym

Walking or cycling to the gym instead of using a car is a great way to get warmed up a little bit.

This can further make you more comfortable. Especially when you start the warmup, you are already a bit ahead, possibly making the warmup easier and more smooth.

As you get your blood flowing already by walking or cycling to the gym, it can help you to get to the mood of exercising easier, rather than with just the regular warmup.

That can really help you to be more comfortable with attending the class or competition.

Keep in mind that it takes more time to reach the gym by walking or by bike, therefore, reserve enough time to do that, especially if you want to arrive earlier as mentioned in the first tip.

3. Listen to music

Listening to your favorite music as you walk, cycle, or drive to the gym can get you in the mood of practicing as well.

Some hardcore workout music beforehand can make wonders to your mood and make you more comfortable, making it less stressful overall.

This worked for me, especially in my early days. I would walk or cycle while listening to some of my favorite workout music, arriving early made it feel much less stressful when I went to the gym.

4. Realize everybody else is there to train as well

At first, it might feel like everybody is staring at you and you are doing something wrong.

I can tell you, this is not the case. News flash: the world does not spin around you. Even if it feels like that when you first start that everybody is just focused on what you are doing and whether you are doing it right, that’s not the case.

I know I am guilty of doing this. With some social anxiety, it was sometimes really stressful to just arrive at the gym.

No matter how much I told myself that everybody else is there just to practice as well, it felt super stressful.

5. Remember it’s a safe environment

There is no better place to learn and to make mistakes than the BJJ gym.

It is meant for learning and practicing. Nobody is perfect, if they were, they would not come to the class to learn. They would go straight to world championship tournaments and win those.

When you first start, nobody expects you to know anything. As long as you do your best, that is all that matters.

The class is where you make mistakes, you ask and you learn. There is nothing shameful if you don’t get some new fancy technique correct on the first try.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is definitely not easy, as it takes on average 10 years to reach the black belt. How could anybody expect you to learn everything in a few months? They don’t.

More tips for new BJJ practitioners in this beginner guide.


Why do I feel nervous before BJJ class or tournament?

The feelings of anxiety, nervousness, and stress come from not knowing what is coming and not knowing all the people you will be practicing or competing with. You are in an unfamiliar environment and you are not sure what is coming next.

If you were completely familiar with the environment and the people, you wouldn’t feel so stressed about it.

When it comes to going to BJJ class, eventually those feelings will fade as you get better and get to know the people better in your gym.

If there are some people at the gym that you don’t know, roll with them. “Face your fears” works wonderfully. Most likely you will notice, that they are just people as well who are there to practice.

On the competitions, on the other hand, they will get easier as you compete. Some people will be fine after a few competitions, while others might still feel pretty stressed after tens of competitions.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, arriving early by bike or walking to the gym while listening to some nice workout music can really make it feel less stressful.

The anxiety and stress will eventually go away as you progress.

When you start to feel like you actually know some BJJ and are comfortable with your skills, it will get much easier to attend the class.

That might take some months or even years of practice.

However, do you think brown or black belts feel nervous before attending the class? I think at least not as much as white or blue belts. I can not tell, since I am not a black belt yet.

Hopefully these tricks can help you relieve some pre-BJJ-class stress and make your practicing more comfortable.

If you are just starting BJJ out, here are some things you might expect from your first class, and how to prepare.

Have a wonderful day!

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