This grip fighting in the gi thing is finally starting to make sense. I'm also amazed and astounded that I made it all the way through an entire IBJJF tournament without getting DQ'd. Seriously, that's a first for me. First time competing at blue belt- I won two gold medals- in my weight class and the open weight division.
I'm especially proud of Marcelo Chung. This was his first tournament ever, and he was hitting armbars right and left like he was Ronda Rousey or something. He didn't win his division, but it was an extremely impressive showing for his first time on the mat.
Win or lose, I'm super proud of all my students who made it to the tournament and were willing to step on the mat. We don't specialize in sport BJJ at our gym. We only train in the gi for a month or two before BJJ tournaments, and spend the rest of our time training for unified rules MMA matches. So tournaments like this force us to think outside of the box and develop skill sets that might have been previously ignored. In the past we have also competed in tournaments for other combat sports as well: No-gi BJJ, Muay Thai, boxing, kickboxing, sanda, K-1, catch-wrestling, kyokushin karate, taekwondo, judo, and even sumo at one point. Each combat sports serves to refine a specific skill set that can help make an MMA competitor a more complete fighter.
Honestly, I'm not a naturally talented grappler. Every good thing I do on the mat is the result of hundreds of hours of training, gross repetition, some very smart coaches, and the help of every one I have ever trained with. Sometimes victory is not a matter of who is the most naturally talented, or best suited for the job. Sometimes victory is a matter of who shows up and does the work.
I won my first match with a combination triangle choke/kimura submission. Marc Brewer (my first jiu-jitsu coach) showed me that set up a long time ago. I find that I have a lot more success in grappling when I ask myself "What would Marc Brewer do?", but sadly I didn't hit any awesome doubles today. Next time. Next time.
More pictures to come.
Now, time to take off the pajamas and get back to MMA training.