A humid Sunday afternoon in which I faced a bigger opponent (Day 15)

I competed in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament yesterday. I fought in the under 70kg division and in the open weight division, both for adult blue belts.

I had been practicing hard for this tournament, and given that I’m somewhat an overdue blue belt (I started BJJ in 2002; I got my blue belt in 2007) and I can do well against people in a higher rank, I’d been fairly confident that I’d win my division. My expectation was proven to be wrong, unfortunately.

When I think about the kind of grappler I’d hate to fight against, what comes to my mind is myself. While I love the way I fight, if I had to fight against someone who fights like me, I’d completely get annoyed.

So, the guy whom I lost to in my division happened to fight like me. He even finished me with my favorite of all techniques: triangle choke. I’d say the major reason why I lost was because I was trying to do something different from what I’d usually do. So, I didn’t even show up as who I am in this case.

The loss was somewhat shocking. Perhaps it’s because he choked me to the point I nearly fainted after the match, though it was actuall an armlock from the triangle choke position that made me tap. Thankfully, I didn’t get my elbow broken, but it still hurts a bit.

In any case, I’m glad I managed to switch my mind for the open weight division quickly enough. While my body needed to have some rest, my mind was ready.

In the first match of the open weight division (since I was seeded, it was actually the second stage of the tournament) , I faced an opponent around my size. This time, I did what I’d usually do. I was committed to show up as who I am. So, I pulled my opponent into my guard, went for triangle choke, somewhat missed it, and switched to armbar. This armbar was a bit rough, but I managed to get him with it. It’s great to know that I can do well when I show up as myself.

In the second match, my opponent was bigger than me. But that didn’t worry me much. Again, I did what I’m good at. This time, I got him with triangle choke from the mount position. It was a quick win too.

I wonder what people think when they are competing. I must be having a blank mind or something. But then, like Rickson Gracie says, if you’re thinking while fighting, you’re too late in executing whatever you have to do. Training is what you do so you don’t have to think about what you do when you do it. That sounds right to me.

I had to wait for the third match to start, because my opponent had been fighting in other matches. Perhaps more than 30 minutes. I wasn’t nervous or anything, but I started getting sleepy. My focus was getting off a little bit.

In the third match, I fought against this guy who had won almost every blue belt open weight division of the recent major BJJ tournaments in Japan. He’d beaten a guy who came to the 2nd in a world cup, in one of those tournaments. I didn’t know about his status, but I doubt if it had any significance on me. I knew he was a big guy and I’d do my best. And so I did my best.

Probably it’s because he was buggered by the time this match started, but I didn’t feel that I was outpowered by this 80kg guy. I weight about 64kg. I could do my moves, almost got him with triangle choke, and kept attacking until the match finished. He did pass my guard and take the mount position, but I didn’t let him finish me. Eventually, I lost by points, but I was happy with what I did. At the same time, I was disappointed that I could totally get him with that triangle choke. That means I have to sharpen my skills further, though. I don’t care if I win or lose by points. What really matters is whether there was a submission involved.

I got a bronze medal, and that does make me happy. But, I’m more proud of myself for showing up as who I am in these 3 matches, because that’s how I want to measure my success. The external outcomes, such as losing to this guy and getting a bronze medal, didn’t matter too much.

And… OK, that’s all for now. I’m off to training!