I was very nervous on the day. It's been a year since I competed. I had a tingling nervous feeling for most of the morning. A little like the nervous fear that comes just before an inevitable fight you might have had as a young teen. It was much more subdued but still there. It's the fight or flight mechanism probably. What am I doing here? it says. "Let's go home." All through and before I stepped on the mat I kept telling myself to "Be the Hero" as Joe Rogan likes to talk about in his podcast.
The first match only took around 2 minutes, I tried a collar drag, failed, recovered guard, went to spider guard, swept with a basic spider guard sweep, knee on the belly, mad scramble, I cut the corner to the back, he rotated away but my knee on the belly kept him in place, his arm came up and I armbarred him.
Second match was about 30 minutes later. Successful collar drag, I came up, he recovered open guard, small scramble, X-pass to armbar in around 20 seconds.
I felt like the hero and it was the best result I've ever had. My body was moving before my mind could think. I strongly believe doing lots of drilling and nogi recently has helped me to do techniques without thinking about it and to set a fast pace. Of course, luck also plays a role.
The next day we had a barbecue party. While we were all standing around eating and drinking under a tent in the rain, my instructor started complaining about how long the postal delivery was taking. He was expecting a package. About ten minutes later it arrived and he shouted to everyone to gather for an announcement. James was handed his purple belt then immediately after he called my name to receive my brown belt. It was an incredible moment and being promoted never fails to surprise me. I expected at least another year until being promoted but you never know and the instructor knows best. He actually told me a couple of months prior to the competition that I'd got very strong recently and would do well against my purple belt peers. I didn't really believe it but competing at Handa showed me that he was right.
|James, F-sensei and that handsome chap again with munchkins included|