Ever since I competed in that eight match extravaganza (it was actually seven, but I’ll get into that later), I’ve been wanting to write about it but for some reason, I haven’t had the urge to write it. Wanting to write about it and not being able to find the words, sucks. Since re-purposing this blog into a JiuJitsu only blog, it has turned into one massive project of figuring out why I do jiujitsu in the first place. Let’s try and figure that out together.
“I’ll be fine. It’s just the fear of the unknown that stands in my way.”
I read that quote on a poster in the office at work. It’s a great quote to help someone reframe their in-action to do something hard. And most things in life that we could be afraid of, our worrying about it, is usually worse than the outcome. This is a fact of life that I have to constantly remind myself of.
Perhaps, for me, competing in jiujitsu, or even showing up to my BJJ Academy and training each week, is one giant test. I’m testing myself, but for what? Are aliens going to come down and invade earth but the only way we can stop them is through jiujitsu? Probably not (but one can dream). So why do I need to test myself with jiujitsu?
There were lots of other things I could’ve been doing on a Saturday morning, like sleeping in, reading a book, hanging out with my wife, eating, or really any activity that doesn’t involve me fighting a bunch of 20 something year olds. But for some reason I thought it was a good idea to sign up to a round robin tournament and do four matches in the gi and four matches in no gi.
And you know what, it was a good idea. I ended up winning my very first match in Brazilian jiujitsu by points, 6 to 4. The feeling, of having your hand raised, looking at the score, and having your family and friends share that moment with you, is a wonderful feeling and I hope one day you can experience that. My wife was there with me the whole day, supporting me, and worrying about me, she’s family and she’s a friend. It was great to share it with her.
My wife also made a good observation, my opponents had coaches to tell them what to do. I had no coach and had to figure out what to do on the fly by myself. However my wife was a great manger and yelled encouraging words as I fought. She was a great cheerleader and driver. She is a great person to have in my corner, in bjj and in life. She made another astute observation, I’m more mobile than most 37 year olds. Most 37 years olds aren’t competing and fighting against 20 something year olds in bjj. That’s true. That made me feel good about myself. Sometimes I forget how much I have improved and how much work I do. We need to step back sometimes and be proud of what we’ve done.
So how did the other seven matches go? Arm bar, triangle, refs decision, ankle lock, D’Arce choke, and rear naked choke. Those are the techniques that I submitted to. And I won another match by, what’s called, a walk-over. A walk-over means that the person forfeited for some reason (they didn’t show up on time), however I did fight that guy later in no gi, he got me in a D’Arce choke, which was just as nasty as the others. Side note: my left elbow still hurts from an arm bar, going on over two weeks now.
Would I do this again? Nope. I’m not as spry as I used to be. I would have to dedicate all my free time to training in the fitness gym and bjj gym, which I sort of do now but it’s not a strict schedule. I was out paced, out weighed, and older than my opponents by 10, sometimes 15 more years. Not sure I have it in me to compete at that level. I’ll stick to Mater 1 division (30 year old +) and try to make weight for 155 instead of 170.
I’m what they call a hobbyist, someone who does bjj for a hobby. But I wanted to test myself and see what it was like to do eight matches. Now I know what my skill level is at for competitions, my record is currently is 2-8. 2 wins (one by points, one by walk-over) and 8 losses (by points and subs).
Doing hard things tests you. If you survive (spoiler alert, you will) then you’re almost guaranteed to come out of the struggle a better version of yourself. This eight match extravaganza was one of the hardest things I’ve done phsycially. I’m glad I did it. Now it’s time to continue recovering, keep showing up to practice, and make sure I’m ready for my next competition, whenever that may be.
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