For the first time in nearly a year I competed and the nerves killed me. Honestly, after being in 6 tournaments as a white belt the nerves started to fade, and I could work my own game. Unfortunately, as soon as I stepped on the mats all those nerves took every ounce of energy out of my body. It was not a pretty sight, but I did a lot better than I thought I would at the All Americans tournament for 2014.
In the first match, I was planning on pulling guard and working my game, but before I had a chance my opponent pulled guard himself. This makes sense considering he was about 6’4” and had the legs to work the open guard game. He was really strong, and I worked tirelessly to try and break his grip on my hands. The few times he tried to go for a submission or sweep I was able to regain posture. Eventually the time expired and we had to go to sudden death. The tournament runners do not implement judge’s decision, advantage points, or stalling points. The first person to score points in the final is the winner, so I knew I had to go for the takedown.
At first, I tried to go for the under hook, and my opponent ultimately tried to sweep the leg. I stepped back and went for a move that I knew, while not technically sound, was a move I had pulled of successfully in the past. I get and over hook, bring my arm across, and grab the opposite side lapel. From there I drop to my back, put in my butterfly hooks, and flip my opponent over to end up on top. This secured a sweep which garnered me points and the match. I was dead tired but had not went out in the first match.
The second matchup of the tournament was not as fair as some, because the way the bracket fell I was the only one that competed in the first round while my next opponent was fresh since he got a bye to the second round. I had a bit of confidence to try and pull the same takedown in the second match, but before I could even attempt it I was pulled to the mat. I was able to reverse the takedown and end up on top even though I was already down two points. Immediately I tried to pass to mount, but that was unsuccessful and I was rolled over. The rest of the match played out with just being outmuscled to an eventual loss of 20-0, but I had two instances where I could have won from submission.
The first came with a lapel choke from guard where I had my opponent’s face purpling, but I did not have a deep enough grip to finish the move. My best chance of finishing the fight though came from a triangle attempt. I had it locked up, but I was forgetting my basics. I did not pull down the head, when I readjusted I did not rotate my body, and that lead to my opponent escaping. All of these small mistakes left me out of the matchup for gold.
In the end, it was my first tournament in a year, competing at a higher weight class than I am used to, and the nerves shook me before even stepping on the mat. The competition made me hungry for two things though. First, I want to compete more. I was known for going to many competitions, but injuries took that from me. Also, it may be time to switch schools. I love my first gym, but it is a new school and at a two stripe blue belt there is no one really higher than me to train with. I need training partners that are bigger, stronger, and more technically sound to push me to that next level. This next month may be a search for a school to do supplemental training at to elevate my game to the next level so the fight for gold comes all that much easier.