One thing I like about BJJ Competitions is that every tournament has its own set of circumstances that make it a unique experience. I have started making a blog entry after each tournament so I can document each experience and have a personal record of each event.
This tournament definitely had its own unique circumstances. First off, I didn’t have any other competitors in a my division which was Senior 4/ Medium Heavy Purple. I had posted the following status on Facebook:
“Here is a question for my fellow BJJ competitors and coaches. I signed up to compete in the LA Open. I have no other competitor in my division which is Master 5, Med Heavy, Purple. I am have three options and I am looking for your opinion.
#1. Take the unchallenged Gold and compete in the Open Class.
#2. Move up to Ultra Heavy and go against a guy that is 6’4″ 255 lbs.
#3. Move down in age 10 years and compete against the kids.”
The general consensus was to go down in age to Senior 2 where I could find two competitors, so I moved down.
The next thing that happened was that I injured my neck 5 days before the competition day. After 4 trips to the Chiropractor I decided to go ahead and compete. The neck held up fine during my matches. The only negative might have been that I was unable to train all week. My BJJ felt fine however it might have messed with my head a little. I had never gone a whole week before a tournament without training.
My weight was up and down 1 pound over and under the cut off which is 194.5 with the Gi on.
I really like it when there are three guys in the bracket because the first competitor to win two matches takes the Gold. You can lose the first match and then win the next two and you take Gold.
My first match
My first match was against Glenn Yoshimura of Kings MMA/Werdum Combat Team. The match was 0-0. In the NABJJF they have sudden death overtime. Whoever scores the first point wins. The match went an additional 5:45 before Glenn was able to complete a takedown. This means that my first match was 10:45! Both of us were pretty tired after that one.
My Second Match
My second match was against Ricardo Hernandez of Gracie Barra Burbank. I can remember looking at Ricardo and thinking about how tired I was. It seemed like I only had 10 minutes to rest. As we were walking to the mat I remember saying to myself, “you can still win Gold”. I spoke to Alex Brandao briefly right before I stepped on the mat and he said “you need to smash the next guy”. I was thinking, my forearms are burnt and this guy is fresh. Oh man, he is going to kill me! But once again I was wrong.
My professor has told me that my jiu jitsu gets better when I am tired. I ended up winning the match 10-0.
My Third Match
Now I would have to go against Glenn, the same guy I fought in my first match. It’s funny how different you feel after a win. I had to have been way more tired but I wasn’t feeling it this time. I was thinking “I can still win Gold”. Once again after 5 minutes the score was 0-0. We went into sudden death overtime and Glenn was able to pass my guard for the 3-0 win.
Overall it was a great experience. I remember going back to the hotel room and not being able to sleep because I was going through every thing “I could have done differently”. With the help of Tom Cronin we will make some adjustments and be ready for the American Nationals on July 10th and 11th.