Monday, December 26, 2011

Pain, Redemption and Learning

I haven't posted lately because I've been busy competing and then helping my family with Christmas preparations, but I finally have a loaded blog post! In two weekends in December, I competed at Grappler's Quest in New Jersey and the Renzo Open in New York City.

There's no nice way of saying this, but I went unconscious for the first time ever. My first match was nogi at GQ and like an idiot, I went for a single leg with my head on the outside. I've drilled the single leg several times and NEVER put my head on the outside, but I was in such a rush that I had my head on the outside. My opponent took the opportunity to grab a guillotine and it went to the ground. I felt myself fading a little but I thought I could muscle out of it. Next thing I know, I'm waking up to a referee yelling in my face. For the record, this ref. was AWFUL. My teammates were on the side yelling "SHE'S OUT!!", and he only pulled my opponent off of me when I started twitching. He didn't even turn me over and shake my legs to wake me up- he just waited until I regained consciousness.

Needless to say, I was very embarrassed. Being choked out so soon in front of so many people was mortifying. After I saw this girl compete against the other ones, I knew I could have done much better against her. I was angry and upset, which unfortunately carried over into my gi matches. I opted NOT to do the absolute nogi after this. It was interesting to note that there was a range of competitors in the nogi advanced women's division. Nyjah Easton ended up winning the division. Being a brown belt, she was the most advanced competitor; the rest were blue belts like myself.

My first gi match was against a blue belt from 50/50 BJJ. I didn't get submitted, but I was unable to gain control at all during the match. For a great deal of it, we were on the ground and I had the single leg (head on the INSIDE this time), but could not capitalize. I think being angry had drained some of energy. I ended up losing 3-0 (I think I may have had 1 advantage). Fortunately, I had one more match which I won on points. My opponent was someone from Josef "Ze Cobra" Manuel's school in New Jersey. She was aggressive, but I managed to maintain top control. Her coaches were calling me on stalling, but I kept attacking for the baseball choke from side mount as well as other submissions, so I'm pretty sure that's not stalling! This victory gave me third place in gi. I was still quite upset and basically threw the medal in my bag.

I took the train in to NYC the next day and went to open mat at Shaolin's, as I really wanted to drill the things I needed to work on. I drilled the single leg many times, worked on guillotine defense, and then rolled for 35 minutes straight.

On Saturday the 17th, I competed at the Renzo Open at the MMA World Expo in NYC. I was feeling more confident for this tournament. My parents actually came to this one because they want to learn a little more about BJJ, which I appreciated! Lots of people from Shaolin's were there, so I had people coaching and cheering me on. They made it an open weight blue belt division, as not enough girls signed up to have separate divisions. I am terrible at guessing weights, so I'm honestly not sure how much bigger or smaller these girls were weight wise, but they were around the same height. My first match was against a girl who was a little shorter than me. I was able to establish grips early, but could not get the single leg. She ended up pulling guard, and I was able to stack and pass to side control. I was then able to get mount and secure an Americana. My next match was against a girl who I'm pretty sure was around my size and height. This was a much tougher stand up battle. She actually went for a guillotine, but she had her hand under my chin and not my neck. Since we went out of bounds, we had to restart in the ring. We had a brief argument with the ref. because she tried to get the fully locked guillotine, but I protested that she only had the chin. I eventually gave in and defended that guillotine anyway! I was able to pass her guard to side control. I eventually mounted her and went for submissions until the bell rang. My final fight was against a girl who was taller but more lanky than me. I've rolled with her before- she's a more experienced blue belt from Renzo's school in Manhattan and I knew she had a really good spider guard. This was an awesome back and forth battle. I was able to pass her half guard and get side control. I honestly forget many of the details, but she ended up in my guard at one point, so I swept, but she ended up getting the top position. I was up for most of the match by 2 points and one advantage up until then, so she ended up winning by one point. Therefore, the final score was 3 points to 2 points with 1 advantage. I was disappointed I lost, but I am happy I fared well against someone I knew had more experience than me. And a second place medal isn't too bad!

Despite some tough losses in these past 2 tournaments, I definitely learned a lot about what my strengths are and what I need to work on. I have a couple of my matches on tape, and I have been poring over them so I can improve for next time.

Hope you all had a good holiday! The next tournament I plan on competing in is the Good Fight on February 4th, but I'll be taking training a little easy from now until after January 1st.