After four years and an extremely belated start, this month saw me participate in my second-ever BJJ tournament, Grapplers Inc. on February 4, 2012. This time I’ve been eating pretty well for a few months, and so with no need to drop any weight I was comfortably in the middleweight division, instead of the inappropriate medium heavyweight division I was in last time. I knew I had improved since the last competition; I was fitter, stronger, more technical, and more active on the mats. The result?
My analysis is pretty much what I wrote in the YouTube description:
Unfortunately, I ended up inside a strong guard that I just wasn't able to break. I think, and in fact I thought even during the match, that I should have stood up to break the guard, since he was clearly breaking my posture whenever I tried to get leverage to open the guard kneeling; however I don't work enough standing guard passes and decided I was too likely to get swept, and should therefore stay down and play more conservatively.
Right or wrong, that's where I lost the match. I briefly thought I was going to pass to half guard, but he nearly caught me with a sweep in the transition, and as I scrambled to regain posture he caught my arm.
The next few months will be on the theme of standing guard passes.
What I didn’t say in that description is that unlike the other tournament, this time I’m slightly unhappy with the result. Not that I care so terribly much that I lost—after all there are always better guys out there, and I’m not a natural athlete so I think just getting to the point where I can make myself compete in such a physical event is pretty significant. Still, I wish it hadn’t gone like that. I’ve made tremendous gains since the early autumn, thanks to registering for that first tournament; and I’ve continued to improve since then. I know that I’m better than I was in November—in better physical condition, faster, stronger, and with a much more active and cohesive game. I have better jiu-jitsu! But you can’t really tell from that video, where I got stuck doing largely nothing. That is irritating. It’s irritating. I’m irritated, and a bit frustrated.
It may be, though, that this frustration itself is mostly a good thing. I feel this way because I know that I’ve improved, and because I have gained some confidence in my game. In November I had no idea what would happen: I just wanted to get my first tournament out of the way. This time I knew that the odds were perhaps against me (because, having waited so long, I have very little competition experience for a blue belt), but I also knew that I had a game and things I wanted to do.
Then, too, I left the tournament with a feeling of
I do not want this to happen again! I want to compete again, and win or lose I do not want to spend another match just stuck in the guard like that. I want to spend the next few months working my standing guard passes so that if I end up in the same place, I will smash that guard; and if I lose, it will at least be different. The last tournament just got me introduced to the idea of competing; this one exposed a big hole in my game, pointed, and laughed at it like Nelson Muntz.
My only fear is that I may get promoted too soon. Be it via franchise rules because I’ve been toiling along for 4½ years, or the same principle as a ‘sympathy D’, I fear the possibility of receving a belt I don’t deserve at the big several-multiple-world-champions seminar next month, preventing me from competing at blue belt again. Ah well, hopefully such nightmares won’t come to pass. There should be another big tournament locally in May or so, and I want to be there.
Hopefully, too, I’ll find a chance to compete in judo at some point this year. At least here it’s not too late; a mere orange belt, I’m very much a nobody and should be able to get my first-tournament jitters over with in this sport at a fairly early stage!