Best One To Date

Today was our in-house tournament at Mid-America.  It is the 3rd in-house tournament I’ve been to. My record is something like 0-7 at in houses so far.  There were something like 16-20 white belts, so we ended up doing brackets of 4-5 guys each, round robin, with the winner of each bracket competing.  We were grouped closely in size, probably with in about 25 pounds of each other.

I wanted to be aggressive at this tournament, and the first match was just that. I went out grabbed ahold of his lapel and we started moving trying to take each other down. I’ve been thinking about my game, and I want to be like the Oregon Ducks of BJJ, a lot of attacking, controlling the pace of the game. That’s something I’ve been horrible at, I’ve been much more reactionary.  Anyway, I saw my chance for a single leg, so I drop to a knee to grab it and I get it, but I drop my head. In my mind I’m thinking “I finally got a single leg!” That thought was quickly erased by “He’s got you in a guillotine.”  He took me down and blocked my hips from escaping. As I grab his arm to try and pull my head out, someone thought I tapped so they stopped the match. The referee asked me if I did and I said “No, I was reaching for his arm.”  But I wasn’t going to fight the decision, he told us to get back into the position and start from there. I did, and when you start in a guillotine it’s hard to escape, so I ended up tapping.

I was disappointed with myself for losing, but more so for how quickly I lost. One thing I struggle with is aggression & control. Like throwing a baseball, do you want me to throw it hard or do you want me to throw it to you? I’m likely not going to do both.  And to some degree that’s what happened here, I was aggressive, but dropped my head and lost control.  My opponent did a great job of capitalizing on that and got the win. He ended up winning the bracket and taking 2nd overall, so not too shabby.

My next match was about 10-15 minutes later which was enough time for me to rest. I tried to snap my opponent down, that didn’t work, but I wound up in full guard. I tried for an omaplata, but he as able to escape and I wound up turtled. He didn’t get his hooks in, so I was able to buck him off and wound up in side control, and then mount. I was able to spin around and win by armbar. I was pretty glad, because I’ve been working armbars for a few months now, it was nice to be able to hit one in competition.

My next match seemed like we were standing up forever. I’d try to make him step, he’d try to arm drag me. I’m not sure if we were good at countering each other or sloppy in our attacks, but it took a while before I wound up in half-guard bottom. I was able to get a sweep from there, and  a minute later pass his half-guard. I was trying for a kimura and then a straight arm bar from cross-side, but was unable to finish it, and won on points.

The last match of the day for me was probably the hardest. It’s been over an hour and I feel like I’m still breathing heavy from it.  Again there was a fair amount of dancing for a minute or two before he pulled guard.  I came down with a knee up and tried to pass but was unsuccessful. At one point he swept me to mount, but I was able to reverse it. (The way scoring worked that mount didn’t count.)  We spent the next 2.5 minutes of our match in his guard, me trying to pass, him trying to sweep. I even tried the Lucas Lepri pass I’ve been watching, but just couldn’t quite pull it off.  With about 30 seconds left the ref tells us “It’s 0-0, I’ll have to make a decision.” That was bad news for me. I had been in this guy’s guard the entire time, and even though he didn’t get mount points, he had mount so I knew I’d lose a decision. I reached my right arm back on to his knee to start breaking his guard open, he attacked my left arm for an arm bar, I pulled it out, and was able to smash his legs down and pass. I seriously camped out there for a couple seconds because I was breathing hard — real hard. I then start moving towards his head and wound up mounting him and tried to attack an arm as time expired. I won that one, rolled off of him flat on my back for a few seconds.

I don’t remember consciously thinking about Robert Drysdale in that match, but his principle was there. He told us at a seminar that if you’re losing a match, you need to work so hard that the guy that beats you has nothing left to compete. There is NO point in saving energy, you take it to him and you take it too him hard.  That’s exactly what I was trying to do. I was losing that match, and I needed a guard pass to win. It was my only choice.

So I finished the day 3-1, it’s actually my first win at an in-house tournament. It’s my first winning record at a tournament, and it’s the first time I’ve won 3 matches in a row.  In addition to the wins, I’m happy with how I did. I felt like I was much more aggressive that I normally am. I applied some techniques that I’ve been learning this past couple weeks (including a half-guard sweep.)

It was a hard tournament, but it was a good tournament. There were some really good matches, and I didn’t get to see too many because I was focused on my mat. But the finals matches for the white and the blue/purple division were great.