Tuesday, 5 May 2015

On the Mat Day 619: Competitions and Promotions (video included)

I took about a week and a half off full out training involving sparring before the Dumau International 2015 competition in Handa to let my neck to recover. It was the best thing I ever did. Not only did it make my body become pain-free (think finger pain and any other kind of tweak you get from BJJ) but it also made me hungry to get back on the mat. I was chewing at the bit by the time the competition arrived. That's not to say that I sat on the couch for an entire week. I picked out a couple of P90X3 routines that were mostly cardio and did those along with a little bit of kettlebell training. Physically and psychologically it's very easy to feel lazy and out of shape after only a week if you are off the mat so doing a couple of 30 minute work outs gave me a boost and made sure I didn't doubt my stamina and made me walk into the competition knowing that I could count on my body to keep up with a fast paced match.

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

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