Or in my case, lose more. 😦 The tournament this past weekend did not go so well. Let me start by saying this tournament was well organized and run extremely well. It was not the headache the last was.
There were originally four women in my division but one did not show up to the tournament. My first match was with a girl named Kayla Hanak from Alliance Jiu-Jitsu Tallahassee. I was focused on trying to get a takedown so that I could be on top and use that to my advantage. Kayla got a good grip on my collar and though I tried several times to get the takedown it wasn’t going to happen. I ended up losing my balance a bit and on my way down pulled guard last minute. She quickly passed my guard and got mount. From there she went for an armbar while I was working the pillow escape. I really fought it for a while and did not want to tap but I was not able to hold on to my arm or able to get her leg off my head/neck. Eventually, I tapped. 😦
My next match was with Anna Salome. She trains at Roberto Traven’s school in Atlanta. I tried to push my previous loss out of my mind and just roll. Anna quickly pulled guard in the beginning of the match. I thought this was in my best interest since I had been told often before this tournament that my top game has been my strong suit lately. I worked to pass her guard (which by the way was AMAZING!). As I was doing this she started to lock up a triangle. I still had both my arms in at the time and I started to panic. Not sure why…but then I took my left hand right out and started to try defending/escaping the triangle. In the end she grabbed my arm, got the armbar and I tapped. 😦
I was so frustrated and angry with myself following both matches. I put more pressure on myself than I even realized until I started tearing up after the matches. I ended up placing third and got a medal, which I again felt was sort of a joke. I’m still pretty disappointed. It’s just such a letdown! I really thought that I might be able to do something during these matches…maybe get a takedown, sweep, points…anything! But I was not able to do anything.
After the matches I found out that Kayla was a gymnast before. Anna and Kayla competed and Anna won by points. It was an even match and both did well. Kayla told me she’s been training for nine months and got her blue belt about four months ago. Anna said she started training in December 2009. Both were very good and this helped me to feel a little better but I am still pretty bummed. My father-in-law video taped both matches and I will be posting those as soon as he uploads them.
Despite Saturday, I was back in the gym tonight. I read Anna’s blog and thought about her post about why she loves BJJ. I really identify with what she said in that post. I have often thought of BJJ as being similar to chess. There is so much strategy in this sport and it is very much a mental game. I think that I sometimes don’t think very much when I roll, especially in tournaments. I just go, go, go…it was an interesting perspective Anna has in her post. I’m working now to find a balance between being aggressive and offensive but also being more strategic and reacting to my opponent.
I am coming to realize that one of the biggest problems I have is that I panic when rolling in competition. I’m not like this in the gym when rolling with my teammates. I don’t know why I can’t seem to think or keep some level of calm during tournaments. My coach told me he thinks it’s because I haven’t competed enough and that I’m still not comfortable in tournaments. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to compete again any time soon, but we’ll see. So that’s how the tournament went.