This started as a blog about training together as a family, in part to inspire other women & families to get involved. As female participation in jiu jitsu has increased, as we have grown as athletes and as we learned that families training together aren’t such an anomaly, the blog has evolved. Jen gets personal with posts on ambition, challenges & achievements in BJJ, CrossFit & with nutrition, while Tom's posts are more educational, informative and analytical in regards to training. On occasion you may hear from the kids.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

So your kid is fighting in their first BJJ tournament - What to expect - Part 1

by Jen

Tournaments can cause a lot of anxiety for children (and parents) or can be a fun and rewarding experience. It is all in how you approach them. Knowing what to expect can help to reduce the anxiety so here is the beginning of a four part series with tips that we have learned throughout the years. Use this as a guide, but pay attention to the rules and the specific tournament information to plan accordingly.

The series will cover
1. Preparation
2. You arrived- now what?
3. Fight time
4. Coaches

1. Read the details in the brochure or on the tournament’s web page. Read through the rules, the schedules, the divisions, etc. All tournaments are different so read the specific tournament information to help you in your planning.

2. Verify the spelling of your team name and make sure you register correctly.

3. Pay attention to the Pre-registration date. Online registration typically ends Friday one week out from the event. If you do not make pre-registration you usually have to pay a slightly increased rate in cash at the door. Spectator tickets are usually sold at a discounted rate during the pre-registration period. NAGA charges $10 in advance or $15, in cash, at the door.

4. Consult with your coach on which division to register your child - novice, beginner, intermediate or advanced.

5. Plan your snacks and meals for the day. Some venues allow coolers and others do not. Tournaments have concession stands but sometimes they can be pricey or will not have something that fits within my eating plan. We bring peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, water, juices, snack foods like Cheezits, almonds, etc. and fruit. We bring enough to share with the team. If I have time and I am feeling up to it, I will bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies to share.

6. Bring something to keep you occupied. Do the same for younger siblings. Tournament days can be very long and boring for children. When Hunter was a spectator we brought his Nintendo DS, books and toys. He has also developed a group of “tournament friends” – other siblings of competitors that help him pass the time.

7. Make sure you bring the correct gi, belt, mouthguard and any other required gear. Also, bring something to keep the competitor busy during downtimes - an Ipod, light read or handheld game system.

8. Bring a sweater – sometimes the gym can be cool so it is best to be prepared.

9. Bring cash – some tournaments charge a cash only parking fee. Concession stands are usually cash only. Not all locations have ATM’s.

10. Of course, bring a camera and video camera.

11. Bring your cell phone loaded with the numbers of the other parents and your coach. Texting is a good way to notify the others when one of your fellow students is starting his or her match.

12. Arrive early so you have time to get organized and you are not feeling rushed.

Tomorrow - Part 2 - You arrived - now what?


  1. Neat! I'm curious to see if/how you will broach the topic of crying. Though I have never been around a kids tournament, I have heard of that happening a fair bit.

  2. Thanks Ashley, yes, I'll cover the crying in the next couple of day. It always breaks my heart to see the little ones get so upset.