So I had my first grappling tournament ever Saturday! I was pumped up for it for a long time, and I would like to say I trained my ass off for it. I certainly did train my ass off, but I train just as hard every day whether I have a competition coming up or not.
We went up there on Friday and stayed in a hotel for the night. The next day, we got to the tournament at...I guess it was 11? Something like that. I made weight without much of a problem; I got on the sale at 159.5 with no shoes, but fully clothed with empty pockets. I proceeded to drink a lot of water and Gatorade, and I ate a bunch of food that Carol had brought with us from the (really nice) continental breakfast at the hotel. Originally, my group was scheduled as the last to go, so I got comfortable. As it turned out, I wasn't the last to go, but I still wasn't going for quite a while. I wasn't upset by that though, I got to watch everyone else on the team work.
The kids went first, and HVJJ cleaned house. Both John John and Little Derrick beat everyone they went against, and shared first place instead of competing against each other for first.
Unfortunately, the rest of the team didn't do quite as well as the youngest of our crew did. We didn't do so hot in the team division, but there really aren't many complaints. Karl kicked a bunch of ass, and everyone else had some pretty talented people. Last year, our team only lost first place by 1 point, but this year, teams came STACKED.
Anyway, I'll post a link to the results once they've updated the website. Now, on to how I did.
I was in a division that consisted of 16 guys, all at 160 pounds. It was the biggest division of the tournament! I'm not sure if I was actually nervous, but I was certainly pumped. I remember trying to calm myself down as I watched the first couple matches before I was to go on myself. My first impression was that everyone was very athletic, and apparently very good. I guess I was at least a little intimidated, but it didn't effect my mindset. 90% of the people I train with are also teachers to me, so I get my ass kicked regularly; I'm not going to let that effect the way I roll.
So the third match is about to get going, and that's my first one. The kid I'm rolling is taller than me and I felt as though he was bigger than me too, but we both had to make the same weight so I wasn't worried. It was definitely a battle. He seemed to be pretty athletic. He didn't have much wrestling so I got the takedown pretty easily. The match seemed to go on forever, but I maintained top control for all of what I remember. I took the mount a bunch of times, and eventually he showed me his back. I sunk the hooks in, and went for the choke, but it felt like he ducked his chin. I was really high up on him and I felt like he could have rolled me eventually if he wanted to, so I grabbed my hand and squeezed the life out of his head. The Severn (sp?) worked, and I got the tap.
The next guy, I really don't have any memory of...maybe if someone tells me a little bit about it, then it'll come back to me but the other 3 matches I had stuck out significantly to me. This one must not have been as interesting as the others. This one, my second, I won on points. I know I could have finished the two that I won on points if I had enough time, but I'll take the win in any case.
With the second kid I rolled, we put on a gymnastics exhibition (or so it felt like for me)! I scored a bunch of takedowns in that one, but we went back in forth on positions on the ground. I was getting tired at this point. As it turns out, my cardio isn't what I thought it was. Anyway, he swept me a bunch of times, I swept him and reversed him a bunch of times. One takedown I got on him was pretty impressive to the spectators; I got a lot of compliments on it! We were doing some handfighting and it wasn't going very far. I managed to get double underhooks and wasted no time: I launched the kid. I picked him as high up off the mat as I could and drove my entire body into him. My feet left the ground before he landed, and when he did, the force of my entire weight drove into his chest. I'm not sure when in the match that happened, as we did have an overtime. We were tied on points at the end of regulation, so we had a 2 minute overtime in which I racked up enough points to put him away. My next match would be for first place.
Final Match: By now I feel pretty whipped. I did have some energy left, but I felt as though I had lost all explosiveness. The kid is a wrestler, and when you're working against wrestlers, you're working against explosiveness. Anyway, we hand fought for quite a while, and I believe he got the takedown on me. He was very heavy on me, and my several attempts to sweep him were all unsuccessful. I am not as confident in my guard as I am my top game (although Mike completely disagrees with me), but Brian did a great job coaching me, and was a mere few feet away when I went for a gogoplata. I was VERY close to finishing the match at that point...in fact, Dave told me that I will probably hear him on the video Jaimie was making for me saying "If he finishes with a gogoplata, he'll be my hero." I was kicking and pulling as hard as I could, but the guy toughed it out. I think he had his chin in and knew he wasn't in danger so regardless of the discomfort I may have put him through, he remained calm. I am often able to tough things out that aren't perfect (10 fingers, triangles, etc.). Anyway, he made his way out of that, and controlled me for the rest of the match. I think he passed my guard toward the end of the match too, which would have made the score 4-0. I'm not sure exactly what the score was, but everyone was telling me that it was a close match. Hopefully, the results will be up on the NE Grappling Website soon.
So, I came in 2nd place in my division of 16 guys. I had a great time, and that's all that I was really up there to do. I love the sport, and I hope to compete again soon. Brian has me thinking about an upcoming pseudo MMA fight in October. More details on that to come soon, but I'd like to go again in straight grappling before the year is up. Anyway, I'm happy with the way I did, I'd do it again in a heartbeat, and I hope everyone else up there had at least as much fun as I did. Salut!
P.S. The videos will be up as soon as I get my hands on them!