The Gracie competition was held on Sunday and it upheld the usual unorganised hype that comes with a BJJ competition. Most people say BJJ comps are run on ‘Brazilian time’, which means 10 minutes is actually twenty minutes. The competition started at 9am but most people turn up at around ten to nine have a quick swing of their arms and then jump on the mat.
I decided this comp to enter the Purple belt division even though it is only my second competition. The last comp I entered I entered the blue belt division but they then put the blues and purples together and I won the day with 2 close fights. This time I thought I have improved a lot since then and the best way to learn good groundwork positioning is to fight guys that are going to beat you.
The general rule in jiu-jitsu is that a black belt in Judo is a blue belt in BJJ. But in the purple belt division they fight for a little longer and fighters are allowed to straight ankle lock each other. This adds an element to the sport that we don’t do in Judo so it does worry me a little bit.
As for all competitions I am always a little nervous and want to win and don’t want to lose. But at a sport like BJJ I feel like I’m coming in and representing Judo especially being an Olympian and all. I don’t want to lose to someone and then they are bragging that they beat a Judo Olympian and all that. But in the end it doesn’t really matter. I’m there to learn and improve my skills on the ground in a sport that has very different rules to ours so in the end ill just get over it and fight to win.
I always think to myself that the best way to improve yourself as not just a judo player, but as a person is to put yourself out of your comfort zone. This means training at different clubs, travelling overseas and training all the time, competing in other sports like wrestling and BJJ and putting yourself out there to setup to lose and in doing so you will improve tenfold.
This makes me think of something my friend Ivo said. He also entered the purple belt division but has never been graded in BJJ and he said that he would enter the black belt division if they let him. This is because he has gotten over the fact of losing and just wants to fight in order to improve. That what it’s all about, getting over the awkwardness and going for it.
At the competition just as they were starting the Purple belt divisions I get told that I only had 1 opponent in my division and he didn’t turn up. I was so cranky because they had already completed my weight division in the blue belt division so I asked the competition organiser if I could fight in the blue belt -85kg weight division. He said that he thought they were a bit big so he said I had to fight the winner of the Purple belt -73kg fight between my friend Ivo and a Tall Purple belt from roots in Sydney.
We don’t really know the BJJ rules to the full but the aim is to win by points from achieving various positions or applying a submission to which they tap out and submit. Fights in Purple belt are 7minutes long. Many players at purple belt have usually been doing the sport for at least 6 years so they are very experienced and technical and are pretty good players.
Ivo got taken down with an ankle pick that took an hour to complete, then his opponent advanced to a half guard position for a few minutes before getting Ivo’s back and pretty much just being calm, holding position and winning on points. It’s very frustrating to have someone on your back that is not trying to advance position because they are ahead on sports. But that’s there rules so we have to try to go with it.
I then had to fight the guy that beat Ivo. Am trying to upload the video to YouTube so that you can watch it but its gets to around 2 minutes to finishing and it stalls and stuff up. I’ll figure it out.
Due to the fact that we are Judo players we obviously want to start the fight standing and try to throw our opponents really really hard so they freak out because they aren’t used to it. But it’s quite difficult to throw someone when all they want to do is jump up and wrap their legs around your body and pull guard. Which is what my guy did.
Then I got to half guard and just waited for him to make a mistake, but he was very cool, calm and collected and he was waiting for me to make a mistake. He was pretty slick in that regard. He ended up sweeping me then I somehow got guard back and stayed there for ages without him trying to pass at all. Then with 1 minute to go he tried to pick me up off the ground and as he did I unlocked my kegs and threw him twice and held him down to win 6 points to 2.
He wasn’t happy that’s for sure it was a close fought fight I tell you now and he nearly swept me near the end but I just stood up and walked out to escape his sweep.
All in all it was a good day, there was an awesome brown belt fight that was such a great spectacle to watch and was a good testimony to the sport of bjj and if all fights were like that, many people I believe would watch the sport.
After we all packed up we got some photos and our medals and then we had a Judo training session with Ivo and Pat. Ivo just bashed us pretty much but it was good fun and a great way to end a weekend of seminars and a comp full of just one fight. It was awesome to have a good sweat up and come to think of it was my first Judo session since being back.
On the way home Samantha and I went past the Hill song church in Baulkham hills and although we were half an hour late we still manage to get the pastors message but missed the funky music. Then we had maccas on the way home and just chatted the whole way.
All in all it was a great weekend and I had a fantastic time. Thanks so much to Pat from grapplestore.com for paying for our entry to the comp and seminar and letting Ivo and I make some good contacts in BJJ that will definitely further ourselves in the sport of BJJ and Judo.
Thanks also to Pat for sponsoring me 3 awesome Mizuno Judogis and many other training things that will help me train to the best of my ability.
Have an awesome day guys I will try to ask a technical wiz how to whack up that YouTube clip