Dragon's Tale

Just another female BJJ enthusiast

Archive for the tag “tournament”

Just another day

Today was just another day of training. Started my day off with conditioning at the gym with my coach then BJJ and some kickboxing. Saturdays are typically more laid back and relaxed type training. I rolled with two bigger guys in our gym. Sparring in kickboxing was not fun. I never really enjoy sparring but it’s good to do. Anywho…here are the videos from my matches last weekend at the tournament.

Please feel free to leave any comments or observations.


Back to training

Thanks, Aparna, for the kind words. I really appreciate them and congrats again on your new job!

As much as I didn’t want to…I trained tonight. My husband taught class and we drilled De la Riva sweeps. A friend of ours who is a brown belt also came and trained. He gave me some good pointers but I noticed that I was very self-conscious rolling with him watching. It was a good night of training and I’m glad I went (as I usually am).

I thought for the fun of it I would post videos from my first ever BJJ tournament. This was back in May 2011 right after I started this blog. The video is a little painful to watch. For the better part of the match, I am just lying there. I have two videos from two different perspectives. You’ll know which one was my husband’s because several times he’s recording the ground rather than the actual match. πŸ˜‰ *haha* I still haven’t had a chance to see the videos from my matches this past weekend and I’m looking forward to seeing them (even if they’re bad). I hope that at least I’ll be able to see some differences from my first match.

You win some, you lose some…

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. Β 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.

Just about that time!

This week has flown by! I can’t believe the tournament is tomorrow! Eek!

I trained Tuesday night and last night as well. Tuesday was a relatively average night of training. My girlfriend wasn’t able to stay for class so it was just me and all the guys (what’s new! :)). Rolling that night wasn’t quite as disheartening as Monday night. I felt a little better about it. After class I talked with my coach about the competition and how I am doing. He simply told me I’m doing well and that I’m thinking way too much about it. So the rest of this week I’ve really tried my best not to think too much about it and try to relax a bit. It has helped some, but I can’t deny that when thoughts of competing creep into the corners of my mind I don’t get nervous!

Last night was a good night of training. My girlfriend stayed for BJJ class and I had the opportunity to roll with her twice. Neither were in any way stellar rolls but I felt better about them. I worked hard on moving my hips and trying to regain guard when she had me in side control or mount. I didn’t tap and I did manage to get on top a few times. I can only hope that I can keep my head straight and remember all I need to tomorrow.

My husband told me last night that, right now, my top game is where it’s at. He said I have good pressure and once I have someone in side control or mount it’s difficult to do anything. I am trying to keep this in mind and use this to my advantage in my matches. I’m realizing that needing to get a take down is a reality but I don’t want to over pressure myself. If I don’t get it then I will just try to pullΒ  guard and go for a sweep. All I can do is my best.

My division starts at 10:30am and so it will be over and done with early. I appreciate that. At least I don’t have to wait around all day with this anxiety and nervousness.

Also, a major shout out to all my family, friends, husband, coach, and fellow Pinnacle-MMA/Team KAOS team members…I really appreciate all of your kind words of encouragement. Thank you for all of your support and coming to the gym and training with me. I appreciate each and every one of you for pushing me, and sometimes squishing me ;), as necessary. Thank you also to those who read my blog and have left me encouraging words and tips on my blog and facebook page. It means a lot to me. πŸ™‚

Oh the pressure…

Went to BJJ and Kickboxing class last night. My frustration level has not subsided much. 😦 I realize the amount of pressure I’m putting on myself right now is not entirely realistic. I’m not sure exactly why I’m doing it. My mother reminded me today that there is no need for me to be perfect at the tournament this weekend and to simply do my best. She’s right, I know (don’t tell her I said that! :)). I just have this feeling like so much is riding on this…and I’m not even sure what this “so much” is.

I rolled with my friend, and the only other female who trains BJJ in our gym, last night twice. I told her before rolling to “put it on me” so that I can feel what a match might be like. She is definitely within the weight class for the tournament but is still smaller than the cut off so the girls I will compete against very well may still be bigger. I wanted her to give itΒ  her all because it would help me to get a better feel for my game in an actual tournament setting. I even assured her it was OK forΒ  her to muscle through me because that may also happen on Saturday. Let me just say…rolling with her last night SUCKED! 😦 I felt like I could not do ANYTHING. It was so utterly frustrating.

The experience has made me a bit more nervous…if my tournament matches look anything like my rolling looked last night, I will be so embarrassed! She and I talked about our two rolls after class ended and she made the point that when I started out on top I definitely had the advantage. I noticed this as well and so I’m definitely keeping this in mind. This does, however, mean that I will probably need to get the take down and we all know how well I do with that! I’m just trying my best not to get in my own way and psych myself out. I’m trying to be realistic about my strengths but also my weakness and areas that need more work.

Rolling with the guys last night was not quite as trying but I also asked them to “put it on me” as well. It was different than usual but I felt a little more confident. I’m sure this has to do with the fact that I train more with men. I tend to feel more comfortable and confident when rolling with the guys at the gym. This is why I have asked my female friend to please come to another BJJ class this week so that she can mop the floor with me again. πŸ™‚ Only 4 more days and all this anxiety and stress will be behind me one way or another.

Here we go!

It has been a while since I have posted anything BJJ related in some time. My lack of activity and blog posting has been largely due to the fact that I had been debating whether or not to compete this upcoming weekend. I think the decision was made to participate in this weekend’s tournament long before my conscious mind would cooperate and realize it. It was in an attempt to not psych myself out that I didn’t post about it on here. In the past when I’ve competed I have loudly stated it on here and I feel like this might set me in the wrong mindset so I decided to try something a little different. πŸ™‚

The past month has been rather busy. I’ve been trying hard to stay on target with my eating habits, training schedule, conditioning, and lifting. My training has been going relatively well, but it has not been without plenty of frustration. I’ve been having a lot of issues with my knees lately. They have been bruising at the drop of the hat but also are extremely sore from time to time. So sore, in fact, it can make rolling and drilling difficult. One day a couple of weeks ago I became upset and frustrated with myself because of this fact and ended up tearful on the car ride home. I am not sure exactly what I think I can do to keep my body from doing what it will. Problem is that I become more frustrated that I’m crying that it makes me cry more. 😦

A couple of weeks ago, I solicited some advice from my coach about my game and how to best approach the upcoming tournament. He encouraged me to strive more to work my top-game. He let me know that I instinctively work my guard and have a tendency to stay there rather than working sweeps. I took his advice to heart and have been very cognizant of not doing this when rolling in class. This has definitely made a difference. However, the other day I was rolling with my husband and he was purposefully stalling and laying on me in an attempt to remind me to keep moving and mimic what a possible match might be like for me. I became very frustrated and ended up tearful again after our roll. Now, this in no way was my husband trying to be mean but rather a way to help me work my game.

I realize that I am pretty hard on myself but I only want to continue to improve. I am working on not getting in my own way (much easier said than done). I’m very nervous for this weekend. The event is pre-registration only so my bracket is already up. The weight classes for this event are better than ones I’ve seen in the past and my weight division is 129.9 and under. This will be my first competition as a blue belt. I can’t image what I’m fearful of if I were to lose but there is something there for sure. I know it won’t be the end of the world but I am so incredibly nervous. There are four women in my division so I am guaranteed two matches. I get butterflies in my stomach now just thinking about it. I have hopefully done all I can to prepare and will just think about going out there and doing my best. We shall see…only 5 days left!

What a weekend…

So my husband, coach and another friend decided to compete at a tournament in Charlotte, NC this past weekend. Rumor had it that it was a pretty large event and another friend had said it was a good competition when he went several years back. I hate to say that we were sorely and miserably disappointed. 😦

As mentioned before, I have been struggling with competing and so I chose not to participate at this event…that and the women’s weight classes were 139 and below and 140 and above. πŸ™‚ My husband has been training consistently for several months now and worked hard on getting his weight where he needed it. Unfortunately, I was not able to get off work in time to make weigh-ins on Friday evening. He ended up having to cut the last couple of pounds Friday night and weighing-in early Saturday morning before the tournament.

Now, I will say, I was rather proud of my hubby and myself for our level of planning for this trip and competition. We even packed extra food and things to have on hand while we were at the tournament in case it lasted a little longer than we expected. On their website they presented the schedule for the event. Based on this, we thought my coach would start competing pretty early in the day…around 11 or 12 at the latest. So much for that! I’m really not sure what the glitches were but the children’s divisions were on first and lasted the better part of the whole day. My coach competed in the Masters n0-gi division. That division didn’t start until almost a quarter to three. This event was scheduled to start at 10:00am “sharp.”

My husband had planned on competing in no-gi and gi. He ended up only doing no-gi. We didn’t end up leaving the tournament until almost 6 pm. He was much too tired and frustrated to feel up to competing any more. It was a really terrible experience and I don’t think we will be going back. On the upside, my coach placed first in his division and did great! πŸ™‚ My husband won his first match but lost his second. And none of us are exactly sure how it happened…but he didn’t end up placing in his division. We really have no idea how his division was bracketed…there really was no rhyme or reason for it all. We all thought he should have had one last match for third place. Oh, well. Regardless, I was very proud of him! And our friend placed third in his no-gi division. All three of them did great and I am proud of my team…as usual! πŸ™‚

So during the day we had plenty of time to kill. I decided to watch the women’s division while we waited. I didn’t get to see much of the no-gi but did get to see some of the gi. There were only four girls who competed in the blue belt division and about six or eight in the white belt. It is such a different experience watching these matches when I am not competing. I was not quite as intimidated this time…not to say that I wasn’t at all, just less intimidated. πŸ™‚

At least that experience is behind us…and we have learned from it! The next tournament some teammates and my husband are wanting to compete in is the Lutador in Marietta, GA. I am considering competing at this event. The women’s weight class isn’t great, but is probably the best I will see at 129.9 and under. Still plenty of time for me to make a decision. I am so apprehensive because now I will be competing as a blue belt…and this tournament only has a blue belt and above division. Eek!

Be aggressive! Be, be aggressive!

So it was back to the gym last Tuesday night for BJJ class. We started class working on some take downs…my least favorite!! 😦 I just cannot seem to get past my anxiety about take downs and I don’t know why. I think a part of me is afraid of getting hurt myself and another part of me is afraid I might hurt the other person. I am very tentative when working on take downs and I know I might improve if I just gave myself over to it but it’s just so difficult. We then worked on mount escape. Working on these foundational techniques have helped to remind me to move my hips more. Then I rolled with my husband and a couple of other guys from the gym.

I was back in BJJ class on Thursday night. My coach started teaching a new technique this night. We started class working on take downs again. I was still very nervous but did a little better. Then we worked on a couple of different chokes. I admit, I am a little choke biased. I am not sure exactly why that is but I definitely like submitting by choke. I was rolling with one of the guys and he had me in side control and I was attempting to escape. My coach stopped us and told me that while what I was working on was decent he thought another move might be better. So he showed me how to get my butterfly hooks in from where we were. I haven’t really worked much with the butterfly guard so this was brand new. I definitely plan on working on this more. πŸ™‚

Last night was yet another night in the gym. We started class by working take downs again…my favorite! πŸ™‚ After drilling it some we did some live take downs with the guys in class. I was very nervous and thought for sure I was going to get smashed…I didn’t. It really wasn’t too bad and I did my best to fight hard against getting taken down but, of course, I did. Doing this will probably really help me work on take downs and take down defense and help with the upcoming tournament but I really do hate admitting that. I rolled with my husband, another white belt and a purple belt…and got schooled, as usual! πŸ™‚

I definitely feel like my confidence has decreased recently and I think it’s noticeable. I’m not sure why other than losing my first tournament and that no-gi match but those have been a while. I’m not sure why it’s just now affecting my game. My husband told me he noticed that maybe I’m not as aggressive as I was when I was preparing for my other two matches. I have to agree. I just don’t know how to get it back. The other thing he and I noticed is that I am having trouble reacting to things. I think I get tunnel vision and only see what it is I am trying to do and don’t see what my opponent is doing…not good. Not sure why I am doing this but it has to stop! Anyway…it’s back to the gym again tomorrow night.

I am so incredibly nervous for the NAGA tournament. I can’t seem to get a handle on my nerves right now. I am so scared of doing horribly or just losing AGAIN! I know that losing only helps improve your game but I just really want to be able to show something for all this work and sweat. Maybe I’m asking for too much and just need to do work. I’m just so intimidated by what I saw when I was at NAGA Atlanta. Those girls do not look like girls I want to mess with… 😦 Only about 2 months left…better get on it! I just have to keep reminding myself…Be aggressive! Be, be aggressive! πŸ˜‰

I hate you, ribs…

Let me start by saying I am having a genuine “hate” relationship with my ribs, or the muscle surrounding my ribs. 😦 It is still a bit sore and achy and I find this to be a bit more than an annoyance at this point. I thought by now it would certainly be better, especially since I have not really trained in over 2 weeks…but it is what it is…

This past weekend, my husband and I drove down to Atlanta, GA for the NAGA competition. Several of our team members were competing so he and I wanted to be there to support them. We arrived a bit early so I took the opportunity to watch the women’s divisions in preparation for my next tournament and I must say, they were rather intimidating. I don’t believe a single female adult was my size. While watching, I felt the “itch”…the itch to want to be down there competing but at the same time, with my most recent loss, competing was the last thing I wanted. I was feeling torn between not wanting to be disappointed yet again by a loss but also vying for another opportunity for a possible win.

We had 5 guys competing. Our coach, Josh Cate, competed in two no-gi divisions and dominated. He won first place in both divisions and really showcased his BJJ skills. Another guy from our gym went down for his first BJJ competition and won first place in his division. I need to throw in here that in his first match, his Judo takedowns were awesome! πŸ™‚ Three other guys competed and all did a great job!! I was (and still am) so proud of our team.

When my husband and I got home, we started talking about competitions and my “record,” so to speak. I was feeling rather jaded about competing again at this point. In my head I understand that part of competing is losing and learning from a loss but I am so disappointed by losing that it’s difficult for me to fathom experiencing it again. I not only struggle with losing for myself but also for my coach. This is not to be arrogant or anything in terms of feeling like I am so important to my coach but it’s that I hate training and getting pumped for a tournament and letting him down after he spends his time and energy helping me. I explained this to my husband and he was wonderfully understanding about my feelings and concerns (I must say that I am lucky to have married such an amazing man).

I realized during our conversation that I was far too timid in my first tournament and was really uncertain what to expect. I went in very doubtful of my skills and abilities and allowed this doubt to cloud my performance. As far as my most recent match, I think I may have walked into that perhaps a little too confident. The general opinion of others were that I was going to dominate and that this particular teams ground game was not top-notch. I think I let this too much into my psyche and thought I had it in the bag. I was still nervous but I recall being positive and confident going into the match that day. After having made this connection I decided that I wanted to compete again and do so in the right mindset. I can no longer continue to make excuses for my past performances but rather can only get back in the gym and train for the next tournament in the hopes that this will be my opportunity for a win. πŸ™‚

So I decided to try getting back in the gym last night after much rest to see if I was able to start training again. It was not nearly as bad as it was following my match but it is still very sore and achy. I rolled a couple of times with my husband only and even then it was definitely hindering my abilities. My hope is that, after resting it a little more this weekend, I will be back in the gym Monday night for no-gi and kickboxing. P.S. I hate you, ribs…

Feeling quite sickly… :(

I have spent most of today lying in bed and trying to sleep off this sickly crud but, thus far, it has worked very little in my favor. Hoping I feel better by tomorrow. It doesn’t help that I am also sore all over from the tournament…I didn’t even know I used these muscles! So I guess an update on the tournament on Saturday is in order…well, first, I did not win… 😦 I was pretty disappointed.

There was only one other girl in my weight class and only 6 total in the women’s division. The girl I went with easily had 20 to 25 lbs on my 100 (well, my weigh-in the previous night said 104) lbs. While preparing for the tournament, one of the things that terrified me was possible take-downs. They are not my strong suit and so my coach and I discussed just pulling guard, so that’s what I did. In my head, I was thinking of how things should progress: pull guard, sweep, take mount, and submit. So naturally, I tried to sweep, until I heard my coach telling me to close my guard again…too late! She was already working to pass my guard and so I scrambled to get my guard back. She started working to pass my guard again and I had a triangle so I went for it. We somehow ended up with her on top of her head and I could hear my coach telling me to get on top but I could not seem to push her all the way over and lost the triangle. The rest of the match consisted of her in dominant positions, like side control and mount, and me struggling to get my guard back. It seemed she was trying to choke me out with my right arm over my neck for the better part of the time and even tried a kimura but neither seemed to hurt and so I didn’t tap. It lasted the full 5 minutes and she won by points. And because there were only two of us, I went home with a silver medal…kind of feels like a joke to me but I guess I’ll take it. I am at least proud of myself for fighting the full 5 minutes and not giving up or tapping at my first tournament but I do wish I could have done better, but now I know the things I need to work on when I get back in the gym…which will hopefully be tomorrow! πŸ™‚

I had high expectations for this tournament, which in truth was probably not fair to myself because this was my first tournament and I am still learning so much. I was incredibly embarrassed that the first thing I did when I stepped off that mat was start tearing up…what was that about?!?! I have read these other incredible women blog about frustration coming out in tears and it has been one thing that I have dreaded and feared and sure enough, it has happened to me. 😦 Saturday had a couple of firsts for my coach, first woman to compete and first children to compete…I was hoping to make it really memorable. I was so nervous before the tournament that I could barely hold conversations with people. At least now my first is out of the way and next time, hopefully, I will feel more confident and be even better prepared.

Speaking of next time…I received a text from my coach Saturday night while I was resting, since that is when I really started feeling all of this crud coming on, saying he has me lined up to do a no-gi match with a girl who is 105 lbs in June during the prelims for a MMA fight event. I am not sure that I am prepared for something like this. The idea of going against someone my own size is unbelievably tempting; however, I rarely, and by rarely I do mean almost never, train no-gi…gi is my passion…I am not sure what to do without a gi! Still mulling it over and going to talk to my coach more about it…we shall see….

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