While I think it is safe to say that most Brazilian jiu-jitsu academies encourage students to compete in tournaments, I do not think many academies actually force anyone to compete, or make it a real requirement for belt promotions. So in the end the decision to compete is left up to the individual student.
Competition certainly helps one improve in jiu-jitsu, but it also requires more time and dedication to training if you want to do it right. There is also probably a higher risk of injury when you compete, and the performance anxiety is just too much for some people too.
In any case, some folks love competing in BJJ and/or submission grappling tourneys. Some participate once in a while, and others just don’t care at all for the competitions.
What about you? Do you make a habit of competing? Or do you leave that to the other folks at the academy? Leave comments below!