Friday, March 15, 2013

Chicago Open Recap

Last weekend, I competed in the Chicago Open. This was my first tournament at featherweight, and pushed me out of my comfort zones for a few reasons:

- I went without a coach
- This was in a completely new city
- first time competing at featherweight
- I had spent the past week watching my weight, as I had been in Hawaii the week before that
- Saturday was gi and Sunday was nogi, meaning I had to watch my weight for 2 days

Thankfully, one of my old teammates from NJ goes to college in Missouri, so I had the support of him and his teammates. My old teammate, Marcus, drove me to and from the venue that weekend, so I didn't have to worry about renting a car. I'm not even old enough to rent one anyway!

After nearly missing my flight on Friday because of the bad weather, I got to the hotel at around 6pm. I had weighed myself that morning and had been 119.5, but was very wary of taking in too much sodium. I walked a mile and a half each way to get dinner, which was grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. It's pretty miraculous I found it, because the area had mainly fast food. I dodged the now fading black patches of snow and ice, but did get my dinner!

I started at 9am the next day, so Marcus, myself, and one of his teammates left for the venue around 8am. One of his teammates was in my division, but we're both pretty relaxed people and were friendly the entire time. We never had to face each other anyway, but even if we did, there was no tension.

I weighed myself on the test scale and weighed in at a whopping 125.5 pounds with my gi on (the upper limit for female featherweight is 129). I had ample time to warm up, and felt pretty confident. My first and only gi match was against a girl from Brazil-021, a team led by Hanette Staack and her husband, Andre Negao. The girl pulled guard, and I spent most of the time trying to pass and break her spider guard lasso and grips. She eventually swept me, and I was unable to get any half guard sweeps, although I was able to creep out just before the buzzer sounded. The final score was 2 points for her and 1 advantage for me. I was pretty bummed about losing my first match. I ended up "winning" a bronze medal because I first had a bye, and went on to compete in the absolute. Once again, my opponent pulled guard, and I spent what must have been about 3 minutes of a 6 minute match stuck in a triangle. She won on advantages I believe and was only one weight class above me. I was very upset after this match, because I had really wanted to redeem myself in the absolute.

The next day was nogi. I won my first match via rear naked choke about 2-3 minutes in to the match. I lost my finals match on points. She pulled guard, I somehow ended up with her in my guard, but was unable to get a submission or sweep. She ended up passing and winning on points. This won me second place, but I decided not to do the absolute, as I feel injuries are more likely in nogi than they are in gi.

On a somewhat related note, Hanette Staack came up to me and shook my hand a little while after I competed against her student. She was really friendly! I'm a huge fan of hers so it was really cool to meet her and even more awesome to see that she was willing to chat with me for a little. I also got to see Comprido and Carlson Gracie Jr. Comprido annihilated the masters black belt division by the way.

Despite the fact that I only won one match, I feel much more confident about competing than I did last year for the following reasons:

- I lost every match in every tournament I competed in in 2012. One win isn't what I'm gunning for, but it's a step in the right direction
- I didn't obsessively check the athlete list like I have in the past. I checked it occasionally just to make sure that a decent amount of girls that signed up, but I wasn't intimidated by any of the names or teams on the list.
- I realized that I need to work on imposing my game more and being less afraid of taking risks. I feel like I could have been more aggressive with implementing my passing game
- I definitely avoided some weaknesses that have stopped me from competing well in the past

I'm happy I spent the money and went to Chicago to compete. I have to give a huge thanks to Jesse from Killer Bee Gi for sponsoring me and for providing me with the best gis! In all seriousness, I really only reach for my Killer Bee gis now for training unless they're all in the wash. I'll post a review soon.

I'm now preparing for the New York Open, I can't wait to compete again!

No comments:

Post a Comment