I woke up to crappy weather. It was pouring down outside so my wife gave me a lift to the pickup point where F-sensei would give me a lift with the other guys to Handa. I felt like I wanted to be in bed rather than out in the rain. One thing however, I did notice, was that despite not sleeping well, I was holding up much better than in the past and concluded that the 6 am Tapout workouts really toughened me up. There have been times Ive worked out in the morning after not getting enough sleep.
We got to Handa city on time and the first thing I noticed was an extra name on the card in my bracket. I had in my mind that I would turn up, have a single match then just chill but this changed things. I weighed in at 74 kg but wasnt bothered at all about my weight thanks to Tapout. Then I saw my match was slated for the first match of the day. I had mixed feelings about that, I was anxious and also happy at the same time. Usually my matches are 3 or 4 pm in the afternoon and I feel drained waiting all that time. This would mean that I could get the competition out of the way instead of dragging my nerves on and on, but I'd have to go first. As it turns out I went 2nd in the line up.
Still feeling anxious, I began to warm up and listen to Daylight by Coldplay on my ipod, a song that seems to put me into the right gear. After 10 mins and a light sweat I felt much better. It had totally cleared up any concerns. I felt determined to win. After a little waiting I was called to my area and just sat down and began to breath deeply through my diaphragm (something I have been working on lately). I just tried to shut out everything, the crowd, the noise, any negative thoughts. If anyone had been sitting next to me they would probably have thought I was crazy because I began to tell myself how strong I was, how much endurance I had, I began to think about the last 2 months, getting up at 6 am to train on my cardio, and how frequently I had trained this year. I was entering a zone I guess.
My first match was at 10 pm against a Brazilian guy, I used a tripod sweep to take him down, he had long legs which were very difficult to navigate past as I was in his open guard after the sweep. I saw an opportunity and dropped to an over under pass which worked effortlessly then got the crossface. He turned away because I went for knee on belly and I pulled him into rear mount and finished with a rear naked choke in about 2 minutes of the match. I made a big mistake during this match which was to cross my feet. He did try to get an ankle lock on me but I had the choke too deep.
About 30 minutes later I watched him lose to the guy who I would meet in the final. I noticed that my next opponent moved a lot, almost like he was dancing crazy all over the place but he kept his right leg forward. Something I could use to shoot a single leg. Around 11 pm I stepped on the mat to meet this guy and tried to shoot a double leg but failed. I was either too slow or he was good at blocking with his hands. I intead pulled him with a foot on the hip and ended in my half-guard. I used Z-half guard from this point but he was going crazy to pass. I faked a choke and put him into full guard. Tried a flower sweep then a hip bump sweep which failed. He moved to half-guard again and I swept him with a Golden Gate sweep. I tried to pass by underhook and my head on the opposite site but he was defending well. I then switched to place my backside on the floor, head on his chest and top arm on his collar, and pulled my leg out of half-guard to complete the pass. Switched to side control and then knee on belly. I think he got me back into half-guard at this point then I went to kimura his arm. We scrambled a bit at this point and he tried to go for a footlock. I defended and moved to almost take rear mount when the time ran out. I won 7-0 from a sweep, pass and sweep.
|Onigiri (rice balls) and egg (note the heart shape!)|
It felt great to finish and win my category all before lunch time. I sat down and ate the lunch my wife had prepared and just relaxed while watching the remaining matches of the day.
So, what did I learn? What helped me to win?
1. Build up your stamina through extra workouts.
2. Believe in your technique, knowing that you can win.
3. Concentrate on yourself and forget everything around you before and during the match.
4. Drill your favourite techniques.
5. Don't eat crap (i.e. sugar) before a match.
6. Enjoy the experience.
I have a picture in my training room that best explains my sentiment right now. It reads "The more we sweat in times of peace, the less we bleed in war."
Now, for a much deserved massage.....