I am so average.

Photo and video at the bottom of this post.

Tuesday was the Copa South Japan BJJ Cup. I entered both my category and the absolute, and lost by submission in both of them.

Shit!

I have no excuse other than I just wasn’t good enough. I did quite a lot of training for this, in the dojo and out, and felt ready, but my skill and my conditioning just wasn’t up to par. I was tapping people of all belts out left right and centre in the dojo but on the competition mat it wasn’t nearly so easy.

My coach always tells me about when he was starting out. I think he said he didn’t lose a fight at all at blue belt. There’s someone unique. Me, I’ve lost all four of my fights so far… I think I’m resigning myself that blue belt is going to be a long hard slog of painful averageness. It’s just going to be a question of putting the time in before I get better.

My pace, my pace, as they say in Japan.

In the first fight, I thought I had him in the first minute. I sunk in a pretty deep triangle almost immediately and squeezed for all I was worth. But he was slippery, and managed to escape in the end. On video the fight looks quite close but he scored a lot of points on me after that. Then choked the shit out of me. That was really annoying. It was frustrating to be so close with the triangle and unable to finish. I need to work on my finishing.

In the second fight I was a little scared. I was up against a 90-kilo monster in the absolute. (I’m about 67.) I just watched him wrench an 86-kilo guy’s leg till something went pop. It was the first time I became quite worried about being injured.

I went for it though and when I got my hands on him he didn’t seem to have the godlike strength I imagined him to. I was able to work from guard for a bit, threaten with a couple of sweeps, but then he started to pass before going for a leglock. That was pretty surprising, it’s the first time anyone has ever gone for my leg in a comp. I was able to defend but he was so big I couldn’t take his back. He switched to the guard and triangled me. I held off for a gentlemenly few seconds and when I started to feel blackness closing in, I tapped. And tapped. And tapped some more. But the fucker didn’t let go.

He only held on for a few extra seconds but with somebody that big squeezing your head a few seconds is enough. I felt like I was going to sleep but managed to muster up the energy to slap him on the back a few times so that it was very obvious I was tapping.

He had held it because the ref hadn’t seen that I tapped. He held it until someone saw it.

I think that was unnecessary. Even if nobody saw it I would have acknowledged that I tapped and he would have won. Still, I guess the guy wasn’t taking anything for granted and if it meant nap-time for me then so be it.

Lessons learned:

1) LEARN HOW TO FINISH THE FUCKING TRIANGLE and all its variations

2) I need to be physically stronger.

3) Train, train, train.

I really don’t have the slightest bit of an imposing presence on the mat, whereas most of the other guys there look tough and mean. I don’t have that going for me, so I need to make sure my strength and skills are up to par to be able to compete. Still, even at this local competition, and only at blue belt level, the winners are serious motherfuckers. Everybody who won on the day was ripped when they took their shirts off. No hobbyists here. These guys are in the gym lifting when they aren’t on the mat training.

There is another competition in June so I’ll treat this one as a tune up and do my best in the next one.

Oh, and I had the pleasure of meeting Patrick (and his girlfriend), author of Murasaki BJJ, a fellow jiu jitsu blogger. He is a blue belt himself but currently too far away from a dojo to train regularly. It was great to meet him and I hope to see him at future competitions. I forgot to ask… what weight are you dude? I don’t want to fight you, I have a losing record against Hawaiians!

On to the video.

I was feeling so good in training that I started making a video. I was enjoying this epic song I found (Last Man Standing by Hybrid) and so started making something epic. Then I turned out performing pretty crappily, so the video is kind of aborted… still, enjoy!

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A good blog…

Murasaki BJJ keeps an interesting training diary… the guy is basically training himself not too far from me in Japanland… and has some very good insights.

I particularly liked this post.

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