My first tournament, experiences and lessons learned

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by Voyevoda, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. Voyevoda

    Voyevoda White Belt

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    This is kind of long and was written yesterday before I had a chance to rest, sorry.



    I went to my first grappling tournament today. It was one of the best experience of my life. I learned so much about myself, about teamwork, and overall it was such a positive experience...

    Making weight and staying healthy isn't so bad but sometimes life can make it hard to do both. In the 48 hours leading up to and the end of the tournament I had one protein bar, about three servings of yogurt, one Powerade, vitamins, and whatever water I could find. I was just a few pounds over my limit and didn't want to cut out food like that and really wanted to stay hydrated... but life happens. This morning I was only able to get home around 2:00 AM and went to bed from 2:30 until 6:50 when someone called to ask what time we're meeting up.

    I didn't want to drop weight but a teammate fights in that division. Dropping two pounds in a day or two isn't a big deal so why not. Weight classes were changed at the event according to the amount of people who showed up so I ended up going from the very top of my weight class to the very bottom with a few people weighing about 15 more than me but the staff were nice enough to keep team members apart whenever possible. Fighting guys in the middle of the weight class above me isn't a big deal but the day might have gone different if I didn't cut weight.

    We watched and cheered on as the competitors fought (everyone was yelling so loud we caught the attention of the karate groups too), saw lots of new styles of rolling, and you know... just had a fun time.

    Without Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I wouldn't have been able to meet all those people and gotten a chance to interact with and learn from them. Training is one of the few things I enjoy. Without it and the people I train with I'd be in a very different place right now.

    As for my fight though, I don't remember all the details of my fight but I'll write down what I can. Lengths of time are very hazy and might be extremely inaccurate. At this point I was so tired, hungry, and dehydrated that I had trouble concentrating on most things and it was like being in a dream just watching the world go by.

    Somebody told me to get up, that they were calling me to start. I didn't hear my name called to get but was already warmed up from walking in between matches so didn't ask for a minute to start (They were great about making sure everyone was ready, happy, and had what they needed). We started, shook hands, and we started. One of us got grips but only he was really working for a dominant position in the clinch.

    For some period of time we were standing up not doing anything and got told to work. My teammates were telling me to go for the takedown and I usually go for throws. The guy who weighed only five pounds more than me felt like a boulder. I could not move him. It looked like he was literally just standing there not moving but I was pulling for my life. He stopped going for a takedown and I was burning up all my energy just trying to move him so somebody said pull guard and I sat down in front of him then tried to pull him in. Not sure how we ended up in guard but I'm sure he had to have put himself in.

    Almost my entire game is based on being on bottom. I train with people smaller and weaker than me and with people much bigger and stronger than me. During serious rolling I've only had my guard passed by three people (instructors, and they sometimes have trouble with it) and had no problem either stopping them from mounting me or putting them back in guard within a second or two. When in mount I often let people sweep me so I can get back on bottom. Moving and attacking in guard is as natural as breathing for me and I treat most of the advanced students like toys in there.

    All I attacked with was one collar choke I couldn't do right and a few sweep attempts that just opened me up and had no connection to anything my opponent was doing. He stood up and got around no problem, but the only reason I know that is because I saw him do it. At this point (probably a minute or two in?) I noticed a couple of things were going on. My body would no longer respond and I just went numb physically and mentally. Teammates were screaming instructions and my body was still moving around a bit but I didn't really care or know about what was going on anymore.

    I don't remember much of what happened once he passed guard into side control. I remember I almost entirely stopped defending against anything and he easily moved to mount. Other than people counting down three seconds for the points I don't remember anything except lifting one hand up wanting to tap out so I could just go lie down somewhere else. Pretty sure my hand was up for about 30 seconds to full minute and all I could think was "Don't tap. Keep fighting." I don't think he attacked once he got mount and I had my hand up high so that I could tap out but he was holding position. After a while the ref came and called time. Not sure how many points he won by but I had 0.

    I don't remember most of what happened really. He was pretty calm but every time we had a break to go back to center or restarted I told my teammates to tell me to relax because of how quickly I was burning through energy. They probably were and the thought kept coming up but it was just like watching a movie at that point, everything was on auto-pilot and all I could do was watch. People told me I was shaking my head and looked angry every time something happened but otherwise wouldn't respond.

    Anther new experience, apparently most people get cramps after the first time they compete. I've never gotten cramps and for the first time ever in my life I was so tense it hurt. Everything was tense and painful. After relaxing for a few minutes I was able to walk around but started shaking as the excitement wore off and the adrenaline died down a bit.

    The other guy did well and we spoke afterwards and I thanked him for the roll and am pretty sure someone said it's his first tournament so tried to keep excuses from minimal to none when we talked about the session because... fuck, he did everything right and won. A job well done.

    That was how my first tournament was. Everyone else on my team scored in the top 2 in every category they were in and we brought trophies in all the divisions except mine. Talked to the other team's instructor and they all seem great, we're close enough together were we can consider cross-training.

    So... back to practice on Monday. :)
     
  2. Balto

    Balto Silver Belt

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    Thanks for the account. Your first competition is always your hardest, and it sounds like you learned a lot. It takes a lot of guts to get out there, so you should be commended for that.

    The part I quoted confused me though. It seems incongruent with your results. If only your instructors can pass your guard in serious training, albeit with trouble, yet you just got blown out in a tournament by a white belt who faced it for the first time, that doesn't really add up.
     
  3. wiseguy$$

    wiseguy$$ Blue Belt

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    My last comp , I feel I grew as a grappler. My composure and poise? For the lack of a beter term .maybe you call it maturity I don't know. I feel like my BJJ balls have grown and I'm confident in my grappling . Where before there was a big ? Like a what if fear or somthing ... Sorry for ranting
     
  4. Voyevoda

    Voyevoda White Belt

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    I can't really say, there are so many factors. Some people are just naturally good at things, he may have found a weakness others haven't or I may have just not been capable of holding him because of how much energy I burned out, or any other number of things.

    That was the beautiful thing about seeing other people roll yesterday. Every school focuses on different things. I saw some amazing back control methods and passes I've never even heard of before. There's still so much to learn.

    There's definitely a new found respect for fighters though, that is tough. MMA is probably that much tougher though
     

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