February has been long and fairly exciting for me. I managed to get in three competitions and still got a good amount of training in, while still studying for my midterms. Decent.
This tourney had attendance in my category that was a little under average. For most regional tourneys, blue belt lightweights have around 14 people. Actually, it seems that every tournament has 14 in this division. This one only had 11. I didn't hear a heck of a lot of hype for this one, so I guess it's no big surprise.
As always, The Ascension Open was very well run and quite a bit of fun. These organizers do their best to have a good atmosphere, and it always shows. I was also uber stoked to see my girlfriend compete. More on this later.
First match came around, I fought a guy who was very strong. I'm reasonably strong myself, so it was a bit of a surprise to come across a fellow competitor of similar strength. He may actually have been stronger in fact. Very hard to say. I caught him with an inverted arm bar (aptly called “The dickmove” by my friends at Ronin.)
I've always been a fan of this move, but it's not that good strategically. Quite often people don't realize the danger their limbs are in with inverted armbars. This is because the span of movement between no pain and a broken arm is just a few inches. Often they will go all haywire trying to escape and end up breaking their own arms. Sometimes, because of the fact that the danger isn't immediately apparently, they'll go all haywire and get out...I'm not sure which of these scenarios I prefer. I've learned, through my use of this move that it's a solid attack and will either result in a tap, or result in the opponent moving away from it. This attack from guard is easily followed by any sort of omoplata-type attack should it fail. So it remains valid. It still happens that people go haywire and end up getting out though. Can't win them all.
Second match I fought a fella named Neville. Cool guy, very nice. I see him around frequently. Got him by points.
Then I fought Max again. I rather enjoy doing battle with max. It's always a good fight because we're both experienced guys. Our matches are more like the game of chess people are always talking about. Strategy vs Strategy. Another thing that i find interesting with Max is that I feel our games and our strengths are similar. We're both open guard specialists (admittedly though, our methods of open guard are different.) This is problematic yet amusing. At least once during our match, each of us had a moment where we were in the others open guard, and kind of having a moment of very deep thought and worry.
Max beat me, again. By points, again.
Fortunately, this match was the finals, so I didn't go home empty handed. Silver is pretty good. This was my 18th tournament, and the first time I had placed second. Feels quite good, It's an improvement over third. Even if the outcome of the final isn't the best it could be, it's still cool to be the last of two in the division.
I once again had problems with my forearms. I have excellent grip strength, but I seem to abuse the privilege at tournaments and end up burning my forearms out. It was of annoyance this time especially as I distinctly remember it costing me a sweep. I've since started taking a recovery supplement with BCAAs to help prevent muscular breakdown.
Another lesson I learned is that I can't pass De La Riva well. Or, I should say, I can't pass a well practised DLR very well. This was part of my issue with Max, and it's something I noted once in the past. It's become pertinent now! There are things you can learn at tourneys and elsewhere and all too often forget.
It would be awesome to have people at my home club who play this particular style. I rather lack this at home base. There's not a ton of DLR happening. Likewise, Max and I both expressed the fact that we wish we had training partners with each others games. We bump heads at tourneys often. I'm really looking forward to the evolution of how we fight each other.
It's very cool how every club has some variation of BJJ that they use. Everyone's games are slightly different. This is part of my joy for BJJ. Different games for different people. All to the same end, to choke a friend.
This part of the day was pretty good. I was happy to have competed and done well, and fought a guy that I stood to learn a lot from. However, the big highlight for me was watching Ash fight in her first tourney. She didn't have a lot of competition, but she did amazing none-the-less. She won both her weight division, in a best 2/3 VS another girl, and then took home the absolute.
If you ask Ash, she will tell you that she's not happy with how she fought. She thinks her technique was not as good as it could have been. This is just an extension of her need to do things perfectly. It's fairly ridiculous that she should say these things given the circumstances. She went in there calm, fought well with a remarkably well executed game. There is literally nothing else that a person could ask for from their first tournament experience. Both myself, her coach and her teammates were very impressed with her. Needless to say, I was also tremendously proud.
- DLR passing requires improvement,
- Forearms are burning out (now trying out a solution,)
- Ash is an Animal! Rawr!