This past weekend I took part in Gracie Humaita’s Annual competition for the first time. I was excited when I signed up for this thing but two or three weeks out I just wasn’t into it anymore. I had a bunch of things come up at work and in my personal life that were taking my focus away. I also just felt tired and run down from a few nagging injuries that I picked up the last month or so. My hamstring has been tight and sore for some time. My elbow was sore and I was also dealing with some kind of a strain in my upper back and neck. All minor but bugged me nonetheless. Whenever Regis would ask if I was ready and I’d smile and tell him I was, but in all reality I had no idea.
My mind was so far removed from competing that I rarely felt nervous. I just didn’t care. The plus side was that I was just too run down to worry about the outcome or how I would perform. We got to Pala Casino’s sports complex about an hour and a half before the adults were scheduled to take the mats. I snacked, drank, and watched the kids do their thing. As always I was impressed and extremely proud of the way they fought.
The environment felt different than most competitions for me. While we were all fighting for our schools it was still really friendly. In some ways it felt like a giant open mat. The nerves weren’t there much, I felt relaxed until my division yet eager to work. There was only one guy in my division so we would end up doing a best of three. He felt solid but never really threatened me in either of the two matches we ended up having. I felt like I was in control of the majority of the bouts but I wasn’t able to do my favorite moves. I never got off the scissor sweep and never got to north south like I wanted.
I did hit the X-Guard sweep a few times, took the back, and mounted him. He was game at all times, never gave up, and was always working for something. In the first match he made a mistake and gave me too much room for his arm when I was in mount which led to the arm lock. Not my specialty but it has become something I’ve been looking for since Jenna Bishop came on board. She’s been teaching us arm bars from both mount and the guard in her NoGi classes. I finished my second match with the Kimura from the bottom of half guard. Overall it was a good representation of my game.
After finishing with gold Regis tells me to sign up for the Absolute division which is something that I’ve never done. I’ve always worried about the size differences but I went with it anyway and who do I get paired up with in the first round?
Frank and his brother Tony kick my ass on a regular basis. 17 and 16 years old respectively, they have been training Jiu-Jitsu for 10 years. Their technique is crisp, efficient, and technical. I envy them, wish I had started at their age. Earlier in the day these two were in the same division and ended up closing out with Tony taking gold. Tony was NOT happy.
So it’s Frank and I in opening round of the Absolute which would be the second time I’ve faced a teammate in competition. Going in I wasn’t nervous, even knowing that he always gets the better of me. I decided to have fun with it. I told myself that he’s never fought me in competition and that this was going to be different. In some regards it was.
After we shook hands I said something to the effect of, you sure you don’t want to forfeit? The three of us, including Tyler the referee laughed. It was a very technical bout, some back and forth with him ultimately working in a tight choke for the win. The only thing I regret in this bout was that early on I didn’t get a hold of his right sleeve as I pushed for the knee cutter pass. I’m not saying that I would have won but I would have forced him into a much more defensive stance starting out.
First Fight, Master’s Blue
Second Fight, Master’s Blue