Depending on which Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor you ask, some will say that you do not need strength to win in Jiu Jitsu. On the other hand, other instructors will say it is one of the many aspects needed to becoming the best. I am a blue belt, training for over 3 years and as an avid competitor having heard both sides of this debate, I have decided strength is key to winning. With over 30 competitions under my belt, I have noticed the change in strength & conditioning in jiu jitsu fighters/competitors/practitioners in the last 3 years.
Throughout my first 10 months in jiu jitsu, I competed on a regular basis, in local tournaments as well as IBJJF tournaments. During those 10 months as a white belt, I trained hard every day, 2-3 times a day. I placed at every tournament I competed & felt I had what it took to be at the next level. A week after receiving my blue belt, I competed again and won in my division. At this time, I felt that I could compete against any one at the blue belt level and then went 5 straight tournaments without placing. I would make it to the 3rd or 4th round of the tournaments & then lose. I would come home and think about why & how I had lost each time. I began to watch & talk to the top blue belts to see what they were doing differently. I discovered that strength & conditioning was where they were separating themselves from the rest of the pack. On top of their regular bjj training, they were having strength & conditioning session’s either with their jiu jitsu coach or a personal strength & conditioning coach.
Whether or not your coach believes in strength & conditioning as part of a jiu jitsu regimen, I believe strength & conditioning is necessary to winning at the highest levels of jiu jitsu competition. Technique vs. Strength, technique has the better chances of winning. Strength & technique vs. just technique? Strength & technique will win and probably dominate the entire match. I would argue that in today’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, strength & technique are both needed to become the best. If you look at some of the best jiu jitsu practitioners out there, Xande Riberio, Andre Galvao, and Joao Assis, these top competitors have the strength & conditioning and technique which make them the best in the world. If you, like me, want to become one of the best, you may want to strongly consider adding strength & conditioning to your workout schedule.