Monday, 2 July 2018

On the Mat Day 1006: First Black Belt Competition

I have been watching my calories for around 2 months now. Basically, since I got back from the UK. I shaved 500 calories off each day and ended up at 70.6 kg on the morning of the competition. I think I was around 75 kg back in April. Hovering over not being able to get into the Light category. My body feels super light right now.

No matter what people say about the IBJJF, their competitions are run with efficiency. My first match was just before 10AM. My opponent pulled guard and I jumped into half-guard with a cross-face. Then the referee stopped us because the clock was not running. A total reset. This time I pulled guard, tried butterfly sweeps, got passed and gramby rolled back into closed guard. My opponent stood up and because I like to think of BJJ as self-defense I immediately brought my feet to the floor to prevent slams (I know this would not happen in a comp) then my opponent pulled me into closed guard and rode out the time until he won from the pass. 3-0. I tried the Wilson Reis pass but it was a no go. I need to work on opening closed guard more but it's hard for me to do this on the knees with a busted knee.

The 2nd match I started off working to single-X and almost got a sweep. My opponent thwarted this attempt by driving back into me to take side control. I turned away to try a gramby roll again but he took my back. I escaped into his closed guard and there the match ended.

What did I learn from this? Once in closed guard it is hard to get out in a 5 minute match. Either prevent it from happening, combat base, or get good at opening it.

My last match for the absolute division saw me face a more seasoned yet smaller opponent. We actually looked closed to the same size since I was 70 kg. He pulled guard, tried dela Riva spider. I tried to work through it but was swept. I held onto his legs so he could not finish the sweep. He tried a footlock and I had to reply by releasing my hands and he got the sweep. He kept very good pressure with his knee locking my leg onto the mat so I could not shrimp. The match ended.

You know, I actually thought I would get smashed during my first tournament at black belt. Maybe this would be the case with younger guys but black belts my own age, seem well, not as tough as you might think. It was actually an eye-opening experience with regards to how I can withstand or counter stuff thrown at me by black belts my own age.

I just have to get my knee fixed and work back up to competing again and getting my first win at black belt. Stay tuned for that.

Things to do:
 1. Opening closed guard
2. Double or single leg after jumping down from closed guard when opponent stands
3. Improve delaRiva/spider passing.

Photos by Hasegawa-san.

 Photos from JBJJF website.

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