So I've done a couple of little tournaments in the last month or so, and learned a lot. The thing about local tournaments is you never know who's going to show up. The first one was US Grappling's Diamond State Games, and there were some pretty tough guys, one of whom I saw previously at the IBJJF's NY Open. The second was the Rupture tournament outside of Philadelphia. My division only had four guys, and I had two fights. For once I was at the top of my weight class, and I think the two bluebelts I fought hadn't been training that long. One I know had only been training for a year and a half. Both were scrappy though.
Even though I won both matches at Rupture I feel that I fought very sloppily and made a number of mistakes that a more seasoned opponent would have capitalized on. The good thing is that I was very relaxed when I fought, compared to earlier experiences. I didn't blow my grips in the first match, and I kept my head fairly well and listened to my coach the whole time. I used to be a nervous competitor so this shows that you apparently can learn to control your emotions, which in my opinion is what BJJ is really about.
I went to both with my roommate, who is also a blue belt. Unlike me, he is a monster and cleaned up both his weight class and the absolute division. He doesn't have a blog because he is too busy chasing down animals and eating them raw. We coach each other during our matches and I feel that I've learned as much from that as actually fighting. I'm also greatful to Lex for taping one of my matches and putting it on youtube so I can watch it over and over and nitpick every mistake I made.
I was happy to run into some old friends from Maxercise, and I'm glad there's no hard feelings there for the most part.
I noticed that not many people use the standing method of opening the guard as it is taught at our school. I guess this is a good thing? I feel that it's the most powerful way to open the guard, but I see a lot of people insisting on opening from the knees or using the terrible method of standing and trying to force a choke to get the guy to open. At the DE tournament I saw a lot of de la Riva guard, but not a lot of x-guard. Every tournament where I have gotten to a solid x-guard I have gotten the sweep so I'm going to continue to develop that position as my go to guard. I'm also going to keep working on my standup game and the next local tournament I do I'm going to at least attempt a takedown or throw.
After hearing an interview with Loyd Irvin, I've decided to follow his model and use local tournaments to test out different stuff I'm working on and bring my A-game to larger tournaments. Now if only I had an A-game I'd be in good shape.
Got my brown belt ! (back in March, 2015)
1 month ago