One aspect of competition that that is of big importance for anyone involved in competitive grappling, or MMA for that matter, is that of competition etiquette. What is okay, and not okay, to do at competition?
One thing that can happen during a competition is that a competitor sustains an injury. This can be something minor, or it can be major. At every competition that had to competitors sitting down, focused on taping up a joint (or two) to protect it from further injury. This begs the question if attacking an injured body part is in poor taste or if it is simply tactically sound.
This brings to mind an incident from a couple of years ago in which a blind competitor faced a sighted competitor and, allegedly, the competitor with full use of his sense of sight avoided contact with the blind competitor so he could, literally, blindside him with a takedown to win the match on points. He won the match, but did he dishonor himself? Did he break an unwritten rule of etiquette?
Logically, taking into account that BJJ is a combat sport based around submitting your opponent, there are a few things that you should avoid: do not poke your opponents in the eyes and to not grab their fingers. Attacking a joint that that you know to be injured shouldn’t be a no-go, given the competitive structure of the sport, but a higher degree of sensitivity should be applied to the submission; after all, this is just Jiu Jitsu and we are all part of the same small community. Going for a disability is a tactic on it’s own, but would you change your complete tactical approach just because of the opponent’s newly acquired weakness? Competitions aren’t cheap and we are there to try to win. With the rise of professional Jiu Jitsu and money on the line this subject goes into a whole new dimension.
What about submission speed and viciousness? Again this is something that has been explored before. Some people feel that you should give your opponent time to tap, and not actually try to break joints that you have locked. This isn’t the tactic of many. In competition you need intent behind your submissions in order to get the tap. If one is stubborn to tap, and the person applying the submission hesitates that could wind up costing the match. Remember the 2004 Worlds epic battle between Jacare and Roger Gracie? We all know that even despite an injury due to a submission, your opponent can still beat you via points. It’s always advisable to do your best to tap early in competition when you get caught because you should always assume that the opponent is trying to cripple you.
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