Saturday, June 18, 2011

First Blue Belt Tournament

Today I had my first blue belt tournament. This was by far the most difficult tournament I've competed in. As I've previously stated, there is a bigger range of blue belts in terms of experience compared to white belts, which makes it that much more challenging.

I barely squeaked out a win in my first gi match. She was in my guard most of the time, and I won on advantages through submission attempts. My legs were DEAD after that match. I had to sit down, drink some water and recover. I've never felt that tired after a match before, and I think it definitely played into the my next match, but I don't think it was the reason I lost. My second match I lost via Americana and lost my third place match on points. When nogi came around, I won my first match in a very back and forth exchange. After 6 minutes, the score was 10-10 with one advantage for each of us. They added 3 minutes on the clock and we went again. The girl who I was going against had a very obnoxious coach, who at one point told my opponent "don't worry, you can let her take your back!" Well, I did exactly that and won by rear naked choke! My next and final nogi match was against the same girl who beat me by Americana in gi. This time she won on points. So that means I didn't place in gi but won 2nd in nogi. I found out that the girl who got the Americana on me and won first in nogi trains at Lloyd Irvin's main school in Camp Springs and is only 15! Perhaps another one of Lloyd's prodigies? (not because she beat me, but because she is 15 and going against blue belts who I am almost certain outweighed her!)

One thing that surprised me was that I was not nearly as upset as I was when I lost at Pan Ams. I don't know if it's maturity in competition or just understanding that there are more experienced blue belts than me (I've only been a blue belt for a month), but it was nice to not get too worked up and sad over a loss. Additionally, my coach pointed out (and I recognized) some aspects of my game I need to work on. I feel as though I don't really have a gameplan when I compete, and I think that's important to figure out. My coach has asked me what I like to play, and quite honestly I often work with what happens. I think it's important to be aggressive and set the tone for the match so they are at your mercy and you can execute your strengths.

Overall, I think this was a very important learning experience for me. I'm excited to work on the weaker aspects of my game and figure out a gameplan. But my elbow is in pain from that Americana (which is strange because I am very flexible) and I rolled over my big toe! So I think a few days off are in order.

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