I competed yesterday for the second time at NAGA in both Gi and NoGi in the Featherweight weight class. My first match was in the NoGi Beginner's division where I lost to a very tough opponent on points. I was behind the whole time and I found myself desperate to make something happen late in the match. I was unable to and was eliminated with that first loss. Here's the full match:
I lost all confidence after the match, honestly. I was beaten mentally and physically. It was lucky that I didn't have to compete again in NoGi. I sat with Sandra in the stands and recollected myself. I had a bit less than an hour before Gi started. There was a brief period of time where I wished I hadn't signed up for Gi. Luckily, I was able to turn myself around and by the time Gi started for my division, I was ready to compete, but still not confident.
My first opponent had taken Silver in my NoGi division. That fact made me pessimistic. Before the match started, I asked the ref if I would be eliminated if I lost. He said yes and I figured that's what would happen. Instead however, we had a tough match and I won on points:
I just watched that match for the first time and my entire body tensed up reliving it. I had forgotten about the submission attempt my opponent tried near the end of the match. I was able to pass his guard (get around his legs) and get a dominant position on him. He then got his legs around my head and arm for a Triangle. He also straightened my arm out to attempt an Armbar at the same time. Honestly, it was close, but my position was dominant so he couldn't get enough leverage to finish. I held on and the points I earned from the dominant position were enough to win the match.
My next match was against the guy who ended up taking Silver in the Gi. He was very tough and had me beaten the entire time:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulDAOuxdH7UIt was my first time watching this video, too, and damn that was hard to watch. He had some strong support! The cheering after he sweeps me about 30 seconds in really sucks to listen to.
I almost forgot about a pretty major thing that happened in this match. Check 1:08. My mouthguard had been knocked out of my mouth and I was struggling with it half in/half out of my mouth the entire time my opponent was on my back. It left me unable to breathe, completely distracted, and with a bloody lip. I was trying to get the ref's attention for about 20 seconds, I'd estimate. He tells me to toss my mouthguard and I do, but it gives my opponent an even stronger grip. I can't blame anyone, and it probably didn't significantly change the match, but it sucked and really frustrated me.
I was beaten thoroughly, but I can say I did give my opponent a tough time. I escaped back control, continually recovered guard, and pulled off a sweep at 2:40. He got the Armbar in the end though, and good for him... that bastard.
My final match features my first ever submission in competition by Rear Naked Choke. My favorite thing about the match is that I started out behind. Whenever I go behind, I lost tons of confidence. This match is a great reference experience for me: it's very possible to come from behind and get victory:
Thanks to Richard for the coaching in this match. Also thanks to Sandra for filming and the "Shit yeah" after my RNC.
That victory earned me a place on the podium and a chance to introduce The Shocker to the Austin BJJ community:
Check out this video for more thoughts on the tournament, cutting weight, ego, and motivation: