8 ways to Manage your Competition Team

How do you treat the competition team?

The subject that we are going to talk about is often the dream of many Jiu Jitsu teachers: the competition team. I have a competition team that I love, and that I really take care of. However, it can often be harmful to your business. So, we’re going to take a look at how to make the competition team something that doesn’t conflict with your business, because this is what we’ve been defending here the whole time: Jiu Jitsu for everyone.

1. Competition is not for everyone.

There are few people today who can fit into this competing profile of Jiu Jitsu, because it’s a huge commitment with strenuous training for many hours and demands a lot of travel. In this way, a person who has a regular job, for example, is already discarded. Traveling to compete in the Europeans, Pan-American, world championship and others that happen worldwide today is simply not feasible. The competition team is increasingly focused on professional athletes, so we have to treat these Jiu Jitsu professionals in a different way to our regular students.

2. Separate the training times

The first thing to do is to separate the training times of the competitor – they can’t be mixed with any other profile, even advanced students. The competition athlete, for the most part, often doubles the workout – he trains twice a day. In the second practice, however, which is often at night, he can train at the pace of the advanced students. The training is more technical, he trains to improve his technique, and it isn’t performance-oriented like the morning competition training. The hours of the morning are not commercial – it’s a time when the academies usually have a window. So, 10 am is the time of the competition class in my gym because no other class would fit except the one that is totally focused on Jiu Jitsu. We then defined this time as competition training and it works very well. For many years my competition team trained at noon. I understood that this time was quite crowded for the regular students who came at lunchtime, but that was impractical when there was the competition team occupying that space. Changing the time helped everything: the competitive athletes who train earlier have more rest before a second workout, and the gym is busier because I have a new class time which has more than 50 students. Therefore, the division of times is essential to do a good job for the competition team if that’s what you want. That’s the way to proceed.

3. Athlete Scholarships

One of the things that happens a lot with the competition athlete is that he is part of a profile that doesn’t work and is totally geared towards Jiu Jitsu. If he doesn’t work, he often doesn’t have the money to pay for the gym, and a relationship that I consider to be very harmful occurs. The student who doesn’t pay is a burden to the academy. It may be a booster for the competition team, but if that number of students starts to grow and receives a lot of attention, it’s difficult to create that balance. This student will want to also train at night time with those that pay, also filling out the tatami.  The ideal is not to work with a free-exchange system, but to try other ways to finance them so that these students can train in my gym. This can be done with the products, dedicating a part of the proceeds to the competition team because the team undoubtedly helps with marketing, and how your school is shown to the Jiu Jitsu community.

I am aware that Alliance has grown a lot by the results it has had, so it is an important part of marketing to direct a certain amount of money to take care of some of these athletes. This is fair, as opposed to simply giving away a scholarship to attract a student, as this will create a problem ahead – that student may leave the gym for some reason and there will remain a feeling that he owes you something or least some gratitude because he was helped at some moment. This can often create a lot of problems within the team, and the competition team already has too many problems to deal with.

4. Administering the ego

One of the most serious problems of the competition with all these talents and champions is how to manage these egos together on the mat. That’s a science, but in a nutshell…how should that be done? Never stroke the ego of a champion, and never put him on a pedestal before others. You should never differentiate an athlete just because he wins – he’s not better than an athlete who tries just as hard but doesn’t have the same result. Clearly, you want all the students to be champions but if you start to concentrate on that student, he can turn into a rotten apple. He feels more important than the others and then conflict happens with a speed that’s imperceptible, getting very difficult to control. Not feeding the athlete’s ego is critical if a team is to be built. Making them all understand they depend on each other for evolution is critical – for the team to grow cohesively, with an identity and with everyone being a part of it. This union is what will give strength in the end. No team goes to a championship where everyone wins at once, it does not exist. However, whoever is in that group, within that champion energy has a lot of chance to succeed; if not at that time, in the near future. So, when people are treated the same way, and everyone receives the same encouragement and attention, the chance to produce champions is much greater than turning the energy back to one. To do so is to put him as the solitary star of the gym and this model doesn’t work. It makes it very difficult to give the gym and the competition team longevity. Right from the beginning, everyone must be treated equally.

5. Commitment

Another important issue is commitment. What is the commitment required of the student to be part of the competition team? Being part of this team is a level above the advanced student – it isn’t just anyone who can. Therefore, it’s necessary to define under what rules the student will be allowed to come to that team, what is the operation of the team and what type of commitment is required. Can this student train twice a week or does he have to train every day if he really wants to be a part? Of course, there are students who train long enough and are advanced. They like to train hard but are not professional competitors – that said, they can improve the quality of training, so it’s beneficial he comes to this training. For the student who really wants to be a Jiu Jitsu professional and to really be part of the competition team. What should his commitment be? These rules have to be applicable for everyone or for nobody at all. Around 2009, when our team really started to grow, there were already a lot of top people training here. Sometimes Sergio Moraes was banned because he was late, and no one could be late for class – all the students were on time. If they did not come, they knew they were going to sit on the bench. Sergio came from Cohab on the other side of the city and I knew he was getting traffic and that he was delayed, but the rule was for everyone. If he, or Michael Langhi, or anyone else were late, they were not allowed to train because the rule was for everyone. Obviously, the students often arrived and were very annoyed at not being able to train, but deep down they understood that this dynamic is what made the team strong. This was just a piece of that dynamic, but it was what required them to be committed to everyone. This will cause you to keep order regardless of how many stars you have on the mat. There were times when the team had more than twenty black belts training, several of them world champions, and all followed the same rule as a purple belt. There was no feeding of the athlete’s ego. There was an encouragement, of course, but for everyone. I understand that this level of equality was one of the great factors that led us to build what we have today.

6. Class structure

The structure of the competition class obviously differs from a normal group class because it isn’t technical – it prepares athletes for situations they will meet in the competition and makes them train them often. Of course, you have the technical part and you will be taught new technique, but it is not the main focus of the lesson. The main focus is to make students develop strong positions that they can use in competitions. That said, the dilemma arises because what is strong for one person is not strong for the other. That’s exactly it, there is a student who is good at guard, a student who plays on the top, a student who is good at take downs etc. You have to create a structure that meets all these strengths of the students because that is what the competitor should work on: what is best and what he will use at the time of the competition. What he needs to know from the technical side to evolve the other side of him that is not yet developed needs to be learned elsewhere in another class. For this reason, the competitive student does more than one training per day.

The focus of the lesson is much more on training than on technical detail. People sometimes get lost in this because they want to make the competition class extremely technical and lose the temperature of what the student will find in the competition. Obviously, this is very costly for the athlete who can’t perform well even though he is as technical as he is.

When setting up a competition class, one must try to create the scenarios that will take place in the championship and train these points as efficiently as possible. That is when the instruction will come with your technical knowledge and your experience of what the student should do in a certain situation that is being worked on.

The focus is on strategy. For this reason, there is no need to cover all the Jiu Jitsu scenarios and to teach technique in detail because he will learn in other classes and also, obviously, in the individual development of each athlete. The competition class has to be geared to prepare the student for the reality of the championship.

7. Championships

Today we have a long calendar of championships. I like to make my students compete as much as possible because the rhythm of competition is fundamental – they come to important championships not feeling the weight of them. They’ll feel that the important championship is just one more where the student will fight with the same people he has already fought with. This takes some of the weight off and helps him fight better. When it is possible to dissociate the emotional side, the performance is always better and the more one competes, the more emotional control is acquired – then the result comes.

There is the calendar, the main championships and you will put the student to compete as much as possible. In the main championships, you will organize the camps, where your entire team will be focused but training for that championship should not last long: eight weeks, ten at the most, which is where you can reach the physical peak. To bring the team together even more, with the ten-day camp, it’s possible to bring in more people from outside if the team has the size so that they join in the energy and understand that they are competing for something greater than just them. This gives a lot of strength to the competitor as well. There is, therefore, a much greater purpose than simply wanting to be champion. The team serves to propel this student, but this will only happen if this structure is led in the way we approach here.

8. Individual strategy

One very important thing about working on a competitor is the individual strategy. Each one has a different game, some like to do half guard, to play on top, to do take-downs etc. The coach’s eye is on how to identify that in the student and how to help them have the best strategy for the technical ability he has. This look is what makes the student evolve and gives him confidence that his game is enough to be champion. I remember a question from our super championship Bernando Faria – he asked if it was possible to be world champion doing only half guard. Everyone knows Bernando’s half-guard and knows how efficient it is. He was not only a champion,  he was a five-time world champion doing the same game that everyone knew, and nobody could defend. In this sense, encouraging what the student does well so he can perform. I made sure that Bernardo continued to develop in other areas so that he had a complete Jiu Jitsu and could today be the excellent teacher that he is, but this was done while enhancing his strong points. Encouraging someone to do what they do best is what makes a champion – it’s much more important than trying to bring up the weakness; doing this, he just becomes average in everything, and middle has never been champion.


This is how I always treated my athletes and I wanted to share it here with you here. If that’s your dream and your desire, this is the way to have a very successful competition team!

See you soon!








7 motivos que fazem você não ganhar dinheiro com Jiu Jitsu.

7 motivos que fazem você não ganhar dinheiro com Jiu Jitsu.

Vou te dar algumas razões por que a maioria das pessoas não ganharam, não ganham e não ganharão dinheiro com Jiu Jitsu.

Talvez se você se indentificar com algumas delas você possa quem sabe mudar o rumo que esta seguindo.

O Jiu Jitsu é apaixonante e as pessoas se envolvem, em um determinado momento elas decidem que querem ter aquele “life style”.

No entanto não pensam no tamanho do mercado ou como farão diferente do que se apresenta hoje, não estudam a história para saber o que deu certo e o que não funcionou.

O mercado do jiu jitsu é pequeno e talvez não existam muitas fontes de informação o que dificulta um pouco mas está longe de ser a razão principal pela qual as pessoas não conseguem chegar lá. Deveria inclusive ser olhado como uma oportunidade.

Quantas pessoas que ganham dinheiro com o Jiu jitsu você conhece? Como elas fazem? Elas conseguirão continuar fazendo isso por quanto tempo?

Pense em um professor de sucesso com mais de 60 anos. Encontrou algum?

São raríssimos. Por que isso acontece? O Jiu Jitsu está ai há quase um século existem vários mestres que ainda colocam o kimono mas não existe quase nenhum que seja um “case” de sucesso financeiro. Onde eles erraram?

Abaixo alguns motivos que fazem você não ganhar dinheiro com o Jiu jitsu:

1 – Você não é o Buchecha.

Partindo do princípio que você não é o recordista de títulos mundiais e lutar por dinheiro ainda é uma realidade para muito poucos, patrocínios, seminários e prêmio de lutas não farão você ganhar dinheiro suficiente para ter um futuro através do Jiu jitsu.

2 – Você tem uma academia e foca na competição

Um erro bem comum, muitos professores acham que o sucesso da academia esta relacionado as conquistas de seus alunos em campeonatos, isso não poderia estar mais distante da realidade, na verdade esses atletas geralmente são 10% do retorno financeiro de sua academia e responsáveis por 90% dos problemas.

3 – Você é professor e acha que ajudar as pessoas significa não cobrar mensalidade.

Outro erro muito comum e que mata seu negócio antes de ele começar, ensinar ao seu aluno que ele não deve pagar seja pelo motivo que for, isso faz com que você diferencie seus alunos em dois grupos, por que João tem que pagar se Antônio não paga?

4 – Você repete o que você aprendeu.

Você foi criado como competidor e suas aulas são o resultado de suas experiências como aluno, ou seja, você tende a repetir o que aprendeu e isso te leva a dar uma aula ruim para a maioria dos alunos que não querem competir.

5 – Você tem raiva de quem faz dinheiro por sua incompetência de faze-lo.

Você defende o discurso de que não faz jiu jitsu por dinheiro e quem o faz é mercenário, que tudo bem compartilhar seu conhecimento de graça, no entanto você exige lealdade de seu aluno mas não cria nenhuma oportunidade para que ele siga um caminho melhor, resultado ele te larga e você fica revoltado mas no fundo você é um mal exemplo para quem quer fazer do jiu jitsu um modo de vida.

6 – Você não entende nada de gestão de academia.

Professores de hoje foram os atletas de ontem e muitas vezes se dedicaram tanto a isso que acharam que não precisariam estudar, que só a técnica de jiu jitsu seria suficiente, no entanto a técnica que eles sabem ficou ultrapassada e ele já não atrai mais tantos alunos, não sabe como administrar sua academia e consequentemente não ganha dinheiro.

7 – Você sempre tem uma desculpa.

Não adianta esbravejar e colocar a culpa nos outros, no jiu jitsu, na cidade que você mora, nos seus alunos, no país, na economia etc… você precisa agir, pensar diferente, entender os objetivos do seu cliente e trabalhar com procedimento e gestão, do contrário não tenho medo de afirmar que você não vai ganhar dinheiro com Jiu Jitsu.


um abraço e até a próxima


Fabio Gurgel

4 reasons why the philosophy of martial art should be in every business leader

Leadership on and off the Mat

About 15 years ago I was invited by Globo Network to hold a business seminar for its affiliates all over Brazil. The event would be part of an annual action plan for the company and aimed to integrate engineering, marketing, and journalism. The event happened in Foz do Iguaçu and was called “Perception and Leadership”. When I got the call, they gave me a briefing about the idea and set up a meeting with the director who had come up with it. Although I had said on the phone that it was of course possible, I really had no idea how to do that seminar/lecture. I’m accustomed to teaching technical Jiu Jitsu seminars which I do, and still do all over the world from Finland to Indonesia, from Japan to Ecuador but talking to the business world was a whole new challenge!

After that meeting which was very pleasant by the way, I was excited to try and correlate both the things that we live during training and the emotional struggle of being a businessman. Still, I had no idea how to do it. I was hired and had 30 days to prepare. The literature on this subject is almost nonexistent, so my greatest source of research was my students and their experiences. People from different areas told me their ways of dealing with problems, not only at work but in their personal lives. I began to see in all of them a certain pattern of behavior and the more advanced and experienced they were, the more similar their reactions were.  It wasn’t a coincidence, but these students were (and still are) leaders in their fields of activity ranging from the financial market to the advertising industry, to traders, lawyers, and professionals. Jiu Jitsu gave them a pattern and that was the answer!

But what would these correlations be? What is the difference between a jiu-jitsu practitioner and another competent professional who does not practice?

1- Never rely on instinct, always the technique

In Jiu Jitsu, in that first lesson, I teach my students basically two things: the first is the principle of leverage that allows a much weaker and lighter person to beat a stronger and heavier opponent, and the second is never to act by instinct. I explain why. Jiu Jitsu was created precisely by watching animals fight with their instincts; movements were predictable and when we know what is going to happen, it’s easy to counteract. The same reactions always happen. Jiu Jitsu teaches you to always think faster and more accurately – this is technique.

2 – Thinking under pressure

Learning how to use technique under pressure is crucial for a leader who needs to make decisions. Jiu Jitsu will teach you this too, in the most natural way and in a fun way. Imagine a situation where you are in the middle of a workout and suffering; you’re tired, you have little air to breathe and the strangulation begins to take effect i.e the oxygenation of the brain makes it more difficult to reason. An unprepared person would probably give up in the scenario described above, however, what would happen if I told you a single movement can save you? and what if you believe that there is always a technical way out before you accept defeat? Can anything happen before the end? This is for everything !!!!

3 – The pursuit of excellence

Understand the importance of training, to pursue excellence and learn every day, regardless of how good you are; all these things are inherent in the practice of martial arts, and that creates a discipline in life that extends through your work and into anything else you intend to do.

4 – Make the dispute a healthy practice

Working in a group is something that every martial artist learns from an early age. Without your colleague next to you, you won’t go anywhere. Helping your partner to be better will also help you win, yes we dispute with our friends, and we learn to win and lose them too. I could also enumerate a series of other benefits that will make you a better leader, a better companion, and a better human being after all this is the true pursuit, but I will let you discover the rest alone!

See you on the mat! Fabio Gurgel



Live off Jiu Jitsu

Hi everyone, how is everything going?

Today we are going to talk about living off Jiu Jitsu, and how it’s possible depending on the stage of life you’re in.

I believe that everyone who comes to Jiu Jitsu, at some point falls in love with our art and our sport, and there is nothing better than to be able to live from what you love. This is not always possible today, and if we could choose, we would obviously choose to do something we enjoy working with, not just to practice it during leisure time.

Working with something we love and knowing that this work is useful, I believe is something important. But working with the focus of serving others is one of the best scenarios in the world. This is my case, I have been doing Jiu Jitsu since I was 13 years old and I feel totally alive with the art of Jiu Jitsu. It’s my professional activity and my leisure, I really love what I do.

It is on this topic that I want to chat with you. I see many people today wanting to live off Jiu Jitsu but not knowing how to prepare for it, not really understanding which path to follow. For example, if you are an athlete living from competitions, training and battling to be the best, what is your expectation? When do you think you will be a world champion?

Many times we think that living off Jiu Jitsu is just winning world competitions and that will guarantee the future, that living from sport is just being a champion and ready. This plan is fine if you only want to be an athlete, but do you think you’ll be able to live off Jiu Jitsu by just winning championships?

And when that is over, what will be your path and your career?

Most people desire to open a gym after having the career as an athlete, but to set up a successful academy you need more preparation. First, you need to be an excellent teacher, which is totally different from being an excellent athlete. You need to understand your abilities – often there are people who have the ability to transfer knowledge, but others that have control, dominance, and ease of executing a technique. The guy who has technical ability is often the champion, but if he doesn’t have the methodology to teach other students he won’t become a good teacher. If he doesn’t prepare to be a good teacher during the time he’s an athlete, it’s going to be difficult for him to succeed in the academy that he opens, so he will not be able to support himself, even if he was the greatest of champions.

When we think about these issues, we need to look at the sport and ask ourselves: will my time as an athlete be able to pay for me to live off Jiu Jitsu?

We can’t compare Jiu Jitsu with other sports, for example basketball, if you play in the NBA 5 or 6 seasons in a strong team, you’ve made your living, and no longer need to be involved with the NBA world if you don’t want to. Jiu Jitsu doesn’t have, and will not have that option. If you do not know how to create a second path within Jiu Jitsu by becoming not just a top athlete, but learning other skills to open up new horizons within the Jiu Jitsu market, you probably won’t be able to live off Jiu Jitsu.

There are other options in the Jiu Jitsu world that will increase as the sport grows as a business, other needs will have to be fulfilled. A clear example of those new needs emerging in the market is the number of brands producing Kimonos. We have people living from this essential Jiu Jitsu tool and we are increasingly in need of better, more technical Kimonos, that meet the needs of athletes. The expansion of Kimono brands means people can support themselves in ways where they are not just being a teacher. Jiu Jitsu is also lacking in specialized media – a void that needs to be filled with new people coming from the market with ideas that can make this a successful domain within our sport.  It isn’t an easy path, but it is a path that can create opportunities by helping the athlete turn into an entrepreneur and opening the range of opportunities that Jiu Jitsu can give to those who want to live off the sport.

The athlete who wants to have a successful academy needs to understand how a gym operates, how Jiu Jitsu is taught and what the best teaching method is to apply to students. The entrepreneur needs to be informed about the market that he wants to act in, and to constantly study. It needs to be part of his life, he needs to be aware of the world of Jiu Jitsu in order to discuss and discover new possibilities for the growth of this market. Understand where there is a hole in the Jiu Jitsu market, where you can create a new product or even improve a product that already exists to meet the new members of Jiu Jitsu. We must have this entrepreneurial outlook if we really want to live off Jiu Jitsu; there are several possibilities for growth and improvement of this universe making it expansive, we shouldn’t only think in the short term, wanting to become only the best fighter in the academy. This is no doubt important and very cool for competitions, but we must also think about having a plan, discipline, persistence, perseverance, and resilience for your business to be a success case in which you can live off of it for the rest of your life.

A valuable tip is not to narrow your vision, try to broaden it whenever possible by preparing to the fullest.

Good Training!




How to build a winning time table


After understanding that you need to really separate the levels of your classes, and design a well-defined program of classes for each level of your gym, it will already start to look different, but here comes the following problem: there are not enough times available to offer so many different classes. I also had this problem and I confess that it took me a while to solve it but once I understood it, I realized the solution was easy.


Jiu Jitsu academies generally define the best time between 19 and 20h for the advanced class Monday through to Friday. But we have several mistakes in the situation described above and I will explain to you why. Imagine a tatami of 100m2which comfortably accommodates 20 students (calculate 5m2per student). Imagine that students come every day, the most you could have at that time would be 20 students, but we all know that only a minority trains every day (this number does not reach 10% in a non-professional group), which means that the number of potential students can increase to 1.5 of the class capacity, or let’s say a 30 student base in our example.


But if we know that the student doesn’t go every day, why should we make this time available from Monday to Friday? If we reduce it to 3 times a week, it’s  possible that students still do not come every day but you can still keep the student base number close to 30 students, and now a window has been opened to put a beginner’s class in the prime time of the academy which will quickly bring you another 20 students practically doubling the initial number within the same time.

Even those graduate students who do not train every day will complain that they don’t now have daily training, so we can put another class before the beginners class for the advanced, for example at 18:30 twice a week, the other 3 days: 1 beginner class and two intermediate. What will happen is that in just 2 hours across the week you get to have 3 levels of class with students with different objectives which takes the capacity of attendance of your gym to another level. The idea is to stagger the classes and to not offer the same level at the same time of the week.

The only possibility of having a fixed timetable Monday to Friday for the same class is if you have two classrooms, and qualified teachers to give simultaneous classes, but if you have only one mat, alternating the days and times will make your number of students multiply.

In my gym, I have two different tatamis which allow me to offer 64 classes per week on several different levels. Take a look at my gym timetable

here:  https://fabiogurgel.com.br/aulas-horarios-jiu-jitsu

Even if this is not your reality, this is undoubtedly the way to grow your school. I usually say that the student adapts to what the school offers and not the other way, then define the best time your academy can accommodate the most people with the most varied goals, this is the way to success!

Good training!