First tournament

[I’m going to try and update this throughout the day. We’ll see what kind of connectivity the highih school has. If nothing else, I’ll update it tonight or tomorrow morning.]

Week Of

This week I’ve been focusing on getting ready for my first tournament. I needed to drop about 4 pounds to make 185. This is the first time in my life that I needed to control my weight. I literally ate a salad every day for lunch. I drank no less than a gallon of waBter every day. When I woke up Friday, I weighed 185 so all I needed to do was not gain weight. When I got home from work, ready to leave for the tournament, I was closer to 183.

In addition to making weight, I had to make sure I want you tired and too beat up to compete. This meant that I didn’t do any sparring this week. I also limited my early morning conditioning to just Monday and Wednesday.  All told, I did 5 hours of gym time, as opposed to my normal 8 or 9. In some ways this was hard, because I really wanted to spar. I enjoy it. To make matters worse the sparring classes seemed to be smaller this week, almost as if they were tempting me.  But it has a good side effect as well. I am really rested, which was the goal. I have no muscle aches. Nothing is tender from a submission in sparring.  And even better, I’m ready to go. It’s like fasting. After you fast, food sounds so good, you’re excited to eat it. Well, instead of fasting from food (although I did that a little too) I fasted from working out, and I’m excited to get back out there.

Drive Out

We left Omaha about 3:30 Friday for our drive to Bettendorf. The main goal of leaving at that time was to get to the hotel in time for the kids to swim a little Friday night. Plus, I hate arriving somewhere late at night only to start out early the next morning. I never feel rested. There was a secondary goal too. Right before we left, I saw that if I could make it to the high school by 8:30, I could do my weigh-ins at night. I wanted to do this so I could sleep in a bit longer on Saturday, and also eat a little more Friday night. In the end, we got to the high school at 8:40. They were still inside setting up the gym, but I couldn’t find an open door or get anyone’s attention, so I was unable to weigh in until Saturday morning (as I’m writing this, we’re heading over in 15 minutes for weigh-ins.)

The drive itself wasn’t too bad. I’ve made it before when we lived in Peoria, IL.  However, it was a little different this time. I’d say about 2-3 times an hour I’d start to get excited/anxious/nervous about the tournament.  But I tried to use these to my advantage. If I started feeling a little edgy, I’d just start visualizing my gameplan. I’d think about my grips, my take down, a sweep, my first submission attack, his escape, my second submission attack, his second escape and my third submission attack which ultimately wins the match.  Then I’d think about the same thing for my no-gi match.  This would usually calm me back down for another 20-30 minutes, and then I’d repeat.

Early Morning

This morning I set an alarm for 7:30, so I could get up and work on this a bit before we headed over to weigh ins. But in reality, I didn’t need an alarm. I woke up at 3:30, 5:30, 6:00 and 6:45. Each time I woke up, I thought “Ok, it’s got to be about 7:30 now.”  At 3:30 I felt like I could get up and be ready. But I also knew that would be pretty foolish, so I’d force myself to go back to sleep, trying to think about my gameplan, and relaxing my breathing.


Hit 181.4 that’s 25 pounds lighter than when I started BJJ. There are at least 6 guys in both of my divisions.


warming up




I got to the gym at 8:30 and my first match was about 12:00.  After weigh in, they made out the brackets had a quick rules meeting, and then did the opening round of the pro tournament.  By the time my division got called I was ready. I was the first match, which I wanted. I didn’t want to sit around and watch the other guys in my bracket. My plan was this: pull guard, sweep to mount and Ezekiel choke. I went out and got my grips pulled him a couple times and jumped guard. I was unable to sweep him and he finished me with a head & arm choke triangle.



It seemed to take an hour to get to my second match, but I think that was just me being impatient. I had the same gameplan. I was able to pull guard again, but he was able to pass and get my back. He locked in a tight rear naked choke, but I was going to try my best to not tap. I tried to buck him off my back because he was high, but I was unsuccessful. In the end, I lost 7-0 on points.


For my no-gi matches, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I wanted to try and jump guard, but was unable to. My opponent got a takedown and then locked on a tight head and arm choke. I tried to move out but was unsuccessful and tapped.

My final no-gi match was against the guy I lost 7-0 in gi. I was able to grab a leg, but couldn’t get the takedown, I tried to push through and get into his guard, but was unable. I got to guard, but it was hard to do anything because my instinct was to get a lapel grip, and there isn’t one. I tried to set up a couple sweeps but was semi-afraid of opening my guard because I didn’t want to get passed. He was able to move to side control and then knee mount. I was trying to escape and I knew time was running out. I needed to either get a submission or lose. As I start taking chances, he got mount and ended up winning 12-0.


Final Thoughts

So clearly not the outcome I wanted. However, I was glad to get out there and compete. I was able to beat my body up for a little bit and see what that’s like. Everyone from Mid-America was super supportive.  Charles pulled me aside before my first match and made sure I had a couple good breaths.  He was very encouraging before the matches started, and I was glad to have him there.

I was able to execute part of my gameplan, and for that I’m grateful. I was worried about getting taken down. I need to spend some more time on my sweeps, once I got to guard I kind of stalled out and that was what let my opponents pass my guard and it quickly went down hill from there.

I am very grateful that my family gives me the opportunity to train, and I’m also glad that Mid-America helps train me. I will be back at the gym on Monday, ready to get better.

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