When I first started training I was reading a blog, rather an anti blog (unable to find the post, sorry) about how too many people post online about their training and how rather than bragging about their guards/techniques they should be putting in more time. I thought I would be far from this risk of talking way too much. And this recent competition indicated that I was this very same example. Going into the tournament I was sure I had a much larger stable of techniques than my previous tournament 5 months ago. I focused on how my body felt in terms of nerves and endurance.
But before I could go on what I did wrong, the results:
I lost my first match. I fought the standup game quite well that in the scramble I was able to dominate at the top. I passed the guard and was able to get side mount. Fighting for control at the time I decided to get fancy and go for a lapel choke. I was confident with this variation because I had just learned it that week and lapel chokes have been high percentage for me. But my knee on belly was shaky and I got swept into guard. I thought I could finish it from there but the angle of my grip was off so I had to let go. Another scramble and my back was taken. Rather than fighting the hooks off I became complacent and let my opponent sink in a body triangle, from there I gave up after a neck crank was applied. I was up on points this whole time.
2nd match, consolation rounds. My oponent pulled guard on me and passed his guard again with a knee cut pass and led into mount. Keeping calm on mount I was fishing for an armbar but didn’t have the confidence to snatch it up despite him pushing me off. But I managed to move into a tighter/higher mount and sunk in a collar choke. Rather than stay frosty on mount I got swept onto my guard. Right before I could give up I heard my corner yell “PULL YOUR ELBOWS INTO YOU!” which is a fundamental step. I did and soon my oponent tapped out. I was burned at this point.
3rd match. I fought a large opponent with long arms. His strong arm kept me at bay and I wanted to come closer for a throw. Frustrated I tried to pull guard and tried for an armbar. My guard gets passed and as I turn for a turtle my back gets taken. Same demise, a body triangle and a neck crank. At this point I was beyond exhausted and not sure what else happened because my teammates told me I was again up on points.
I know I should be doing my best to be positive about the tournament but I’m quite disappointed but feel I only have myself to blame. I had a week where I was unable to train due to my grandmother’s passing but had another week where I regained some ground. As a four stripe white belt moving into the blue, I really wanted to win and underestimated the skill-level. I really am not a confident person to begin with and often feel awkward with compliments so I think my lack of preparation spawned not from being too confident, rather with a lack of it. Good confidence breeds accountability and awareness to the self, which I didn’t have enough off. I needed to be accountable for all my training and diet and I needed to be aware of what I was really up against. I lost my first match because I forgot the most fundamental lesson- control. I went for the fancy finish because I wanted to reserve my energy rather than bank on points. I lost my second match because I forgot that it was a game, the competition mindset got to me and things went blank. Funny but the way I play my guard represents the fun I have doing BJJ, that the freedom from outcome dependent things like winning makes me get creative from the bottom. Lastly, one thing that really irks me, is that I was 1.5 pounds over the weight division so I fought some big boys.
A few days ago, a friend had criticized me from being flaky. I asked around and more people seemed to agree but had different opinions on why I came through as flaky. Funny, the results of this tournament seemed to reflect that because of the lack of accountability and awareness to myself, I became flaky to myself.
Still I’m glad I did the tournament. In looking at the positives I feel I was more gutsier in going for techniques rather than waiting for a long time. I was also able to keep the nerves at bay. I also had some bad-ass guard passing! And a week going into the tournament I had a really good training and diet system. I should without a doubt be able to compete in the lower division (or even the one below it) in a few months.