My First BJJ Test

F`riday: July 15th, 2016

The Struggle Of Making Weight

At the beginning of my BJJ journey, I was around 217 lbs and 20% body fat. Falling in love with training, I aspired to drop down to 180 to 185 lbs by this tournament. That didn’t happen, I hit a weight loss wall around 196 lbs and the stress of moving back into my parents’ home before I moved across the country was taking a toll.

I have experience in cutting weight from high school wrestling, boxing in college, and powerlifting before I fell in love with BJJ. Cutting weight isn’t the most exciting activity to do, but in the end, it shows how passionate you are about what you’re cutting for.

The method I used for cutting water weight was High-Intensity-Interval-Training (HIIT) where I walked for 50 strides and sprinted for 50 strides on a treadmill. Not only did I sprint in intervals, but I wore a sauna suit top for the four hours of HIIT. After every five or so sprints, I ran into the garage to wipe off and weigh myself. I started out at 208 pounds and went to sleep at 203 pounds knowing that I could drink a little bit of water and still lose a pound or so in my sleep.

Saturday: July 16th, 2016

Pre-competition

The cutting hadn’t paid off quite yet because I woke up still at 203 pounds with another 2 pounds to cut to be safely at my no-gi (without the traditional BJJ gi/kimono) weight. Something to understand about competing in BJJ vs wrestling and mma is that the weigh-ins are right before your match. There is no chance to regain all of the water weight that has been cut and chugging water before your fight is not the best idea when you may get a knee on belly.

I ended up doing HIIT for another two hours before I left for the competition and drank minimal amounts of water along with a banana and single pack of Nature Valley granola bar. I already knew I was going to be below my gi weight of 208 but pushing the line with my no-gi weight.

Competing

gi-2
Gi Match 1: My first match was pretty uneventful because it was spent in this position. I pulled guard. My opponent couldn’t break my guard. I attempted to sweep him, but was afraid to get my guard passed and be down by 2 points. In the last 30 seconds, he ended up passing, but not holding position long enough to receive points. He gained an advantage point and won 0 – 0.
gi-1
Gi Match 2: Much like the first match, it was spent in my opponent’s guard. In the last minute, I escaped his guard and brought the match back to a standing game. As we were both desperate to score points for the win, he shot for my legs, I sprawled and got his back. I won the match 4 – 0.
ng-2
No-Gi Match 1: Competing in no-gi is a whole other world that can be uncomfortable. Luckily, it’s a lot like wrestling. Pictured is a kimura lock attempt by my opponent that I had escaped about midway through the fight. From here, he got my back and tried to get a Rear Naked Choke (RNC) on my neck, but ended up more-so cranking my jaw. In that moment I tapped because I realized that a broken jaw, would not be worth the months away from the mats after my first BJJ tournament.
ng-4
No-Gi Match 2: This was a great match to end my first competition with. I’m more of a defensive player by nature and the match started out with him shooting for my legs resulting in a scramble. Pictured above is my opponent attempted to get my back or get to mount.
ng-5
No-Gi Match 2: After some time had passed, I ended up getting my opponent’s back and attempting to sink in an RNC several times. Eventually, I moved onto another position and attempted a rolling armbar from the back.
bjj-1
No-Gi Match 2: I don’t recall the score, but I was victorious by points. This landed me a spot on the podium at 3rd place.

After Competition Thoughts

First of all, I have all the respect in the world for everyone that competes and trains because of all the work, blood, sweat, tears, energy, injuries, and dedication it takes to even come back to your second BJJ class. Not to speak of BJJ as higher than any other sport or martial art out there, it takes not only the previously listed attributes and sacrifices, but the DECISION to do something that is difficult. Be that getting out of bed, going to work, or going to training.

It takes a lot to come back to a second training session, let alone get yourself to compete in front of hundreds of people. Competing in BJJ has brought back the adrenal rush of wrestling, the first snap I played of varsity football, and the silence of all of the senses firing at once.

The moment I stepped onto the mat was when I went deaf, blind, and mute all at once. Once I heard “Combate” (comb-bah-tch), all my senses came back and fired full force. The sound of my coach’s voice, the roaring of the crowd, the silence of the invisible barrier around my opponent and I, and the shear rush of win or lose all hit me like a freight train.

Competing is something that I live for. I’ve noticed that when I’m doing something physically challenging and taxing that I do better when I’m preparing for a competition. Be it that I don’t want to be embarrassed or show up ill-prepared, but it’s that I want to be the best at something. City-wide, state-wide, country, world, universe, whatever it may be, I work and push myself to be the best that I can mentally and physically be.


Photo Credit to Revolution and their photographers.

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