BJJ British Open 2019: A Win, A Loss and A Note for Self-Improvement

Over a week has gone by since the British Open in Birmingham. Usually, after this time, I am able to think and analyse the positives and the negatives in my performance without being overly emotional and accept the fact that a lot of the time, I make the wrong decisions. That’s the beauty of competitions I suppose, it pushes you to be able to think under pressure. I have noticed a lot, that at my current belt (purple), a single wrong move or decision… can cost you the match.

The competition itself was held at the NEC Birmingham. The same venue as the Body Power Expo. So, a lot was happening during the 3 day period (10-12th May). Different belts and age groups were fighting at different dates. The ladies fought on Saturday, which was fun because it has been a long time since I competed with people from the gym and go as a team together with my Coach present. The venue was huge, with many stands selling different things from T-shirts to teeth whitener. UK Grapple Scene was there also to record the fights which was great, but you do have to be a member and pay a small fee to access the videos. The warm up area was disappointing. It was small, and there was only one. Considering they stated that there were going to be over 1000 fighters present, I was hoping for a bigger warm up area and changing rooms. But, hey… you work with what you have.

The matches for me, were good. I got to work on some guard pull to sweep, a take down and guard passes. Those were the positives. The negative was… lousy armbar attempts, which… in the last 2 minutes of the final, cost me the match. Also, lack of sleep and food has drained my energy to fight. Clawing your way back out from bad positions required energy which I didn’t have. This I’ve noticed is a re-occurring theme in my competition journey… but still have not done a single thing to fix it (go figure). I think my mind is so anxious that I’m always unable to sleep and eat properly. A note for self-improvement. Overall, it was a fun day out with the team. I almost forgot what it’s like to go out with support and people shouting behind you. It was great. A load of learning for the next competition definitely, but this time, a silver medal will do.

Team CFS Ladies
Team CFS Ladies

Las Vegas Pt.4: A Silver Medal & A Seminar With A Multiple World Champion

β€œEvery success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change.”

Richard Branson

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018. It was the day of the IBJJF Las Vegas Open. The first competition on the trip and a 3-hour sleep was all I had. Woop. I’m always a nervous wreck before a competition and often, I don’t eat until it’s done because it would make me feel sick. But the more competitions I go to, the more accepting I am to this condition and I make sure to always eat and drink, whether I want to or not. The body needs it. There is a coffee shop on the ground floor at Westgate serving food and drinks 24/7. I ordered the croissant with egg, bacon and cheese with a bowl of fruit salad and a Cappuccino. I think that all came to just under $20.

CFS BJJ Black Belt Steve Payne came down to coach me that day, as we walked through the hotel, he taught me some breathing techniques to help calm my nerves. When we got to the venue, I quickly got changed, as my division started first thing at 9:30am. My weight was also spot on at 47.5kg with my uniform on. All was going well, now, on to the warm-up area.

I always start with a good stretch. Hips, shoulders, and neck before going on to the actual warm up. Sprawls, bridges, sit-throughs, star jumps, shoots etc. A lot of people were on the mat though, so movement was quite restricted. But, you’ve got to work with what you have… right?

The matches for Adult Purple belt is 7 minutes. My first match went all the way with me winning on points. The girl was tough, she fought very hard and didn’t give up until the end. I had a couple of sub attempts but couldn’t finish them. Like this guillotine attempt below (jeez).

Something to work on for sure. The second match, unfortunately, didn’t go my way. Most of the time I was trying to get out of a close guard and ended up in a triangle with an armbar 😦 I felt good overall though, sure I was fatigued but my performance was ok, and to finish the competition with a Silver Medal is a definite bonus.

After receiving the medal at the podium, I thought it was a good idea to treat myself to something sweet and cold. I’ve been looking at this Acai stand and was impressed by the size and also the price. I choose the Berry Bowl, which was $12 and you get granola, acai, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, goji berries and banana. I have to say, it was pricey but worth it.

As well as the Las Vegas Open, the 2nd day of the World Master was in full swing. Today, the free seminar was with the multiple world champion Romulo Barral. I was really excited about this. We had to line up really early because the line was long and they had limited spaces. It was a bit surreal looking at people you watch on all these social channels in front of you. So many famous BJJ individuals in one place.

The Professor showed us Spider Guard techniques that day, with some drills using double sleeve also collar and sleeve grip to retain guard. He taught how to control the spider guard with possible situations and options from the Spider Guard also a combination with the Lasso Guard. It was a full mat, and it was a great opportunity to be there and learn from one of the best.

Me and Romulo

Las Vegas Journals (Pt 1, Pt2, Pt3, Pt 5, Pt6).