I am no superserious competitor myself but caught myself thinking today what it would take to do good in say purple/brown belt mundials. Here are some thoughts..
You need an instructor who knows how to build champions
This can be hard to achieve if you live outside the US or Brazil and you don’t have too much BJJ near you home but trying to have a good instructor is vital. Lloyd Irvin commented the issue like this on InsideBJJ:
“The only factor you should consider, if your goal is to become a World Champion, is have they created a World champion before? You also have to look deep because many of these celebrity instructors also attract students that come from other teams and already have a decent skill set. This is common and happens at my school also. All of the time these days! You have to see what students they have taken from white belt and turned them into World Champions and also look at what they have done for the guys that came in already with skill sets. Did they turn them into World Champions? I just want to make sure my point is clear that I’m only talking about guys who truly want to give it their best shot at becoming a World Champion. If they just want to compete for the fun of it, they can join any team that allows their students to compete.”
I would also emphasize the importance of the everyday instructor, as I think he gives 99% of the guidance and the remaining 1% comes from fancy seminars. It doesn’t help if there is a superinstructor teaching 10000 miles away in Japan under the same affiliation who comes by every 5 years.
If we’re thinking about black belt level, there probably are a number of champion makers out there such as Saulo Ribeiro, Fabio Gurgel, Ramon Lemos & Andre Galvao, Fernando Terere, Leo Vieira etc.
You need to have someone better than you as a training partner
This can be difficult to achieve if you’re Roger Gracie or Marcelo Garcia but most of us are in a situation where they can find a class where there’s a handful of people who will beat you most of the time. I guess Roger and the likes of him who don’t have an equal training partner try to go against the training partner’s strengths and not their weaknesses.
The importance of having good training partners can be witnessed with the creation of champion hubs such as Fabio Gurgel’s academy in Sao Paulo and the Atos academy in Rio Claro (or San Diego)
You need to drill and do a serious amount of boring repetitions
This is emphasized by nearly everybody including Andre Galvao in his new book and Lloyd Irvin in the interview above. I’ve also heard that the Alliance pro guys do a good amount of repetitions on their go to techniques every day.
You can’t eat like normal office geeks
My cousin is a pro basketball player and I really feel bad for him. Apparently there are like 4 dishes they’re allowed to eat and most of the time it is prepared by the team chef.
You have to train and compete a lot
Self explanatory. For us hobbyists, this is the most important one