I had a good time at the tournament Saturday down at Bonney Lake High School, although it wasn’t a perfect day. I got choked out by RNC, so… that wasn’t good. I got there at about 9:15, with a few minutes to spare before the 9:30 rules meeting. Then the matches started. I was expecting the blue belts to be finishing up around 11 or so, as they have in the past. Well, Saturday, I was still standing around at 2:30. My bracket, turns out, was one of the last gi brackets to go. So, it was a pretty long day of waiting around.
Jeff is really working to grow the tournaments, and this can be seen by the number of black and brown belts wh0 are competing. In this tournament, we had 6 black belts competing round robin in three different weight classes. My coach squared up against a guy whom I’m not familiar with. My impression is that he’s a Judo black belt who may or may not hold rank in BJJ. Not sure. But it was pretty lopsided. In the first of the two matches, James pulled him into guard, swept him with a butterfly sweep into side control, moved to mount and then caught him with a cross collar choke. In the second match, James took him down with a fireman’s carry that he likes, into side control, moved to mount and then caught him with another lapel choke from mount (or ezekial. I couldn’t really see the choke).
Overall, our guys did really well and I’m really proud of the school. I’m very proud of Elena. It was clear that she was very nervous about the entire thing, but she went out there and did really well. She won her first match, against a girl from our sister school, Combat Sports and Fitness run by Jeff Hougland. Then she lost her second match, but I’m sure that she could have pulled it out. I’m not the only one who thinks she really kicked butt.
Scott did well, as did Trey. Scott is strong as an ox, and his takedowns did it for him on Saturday. Trey is a guy who came to us having trained for about a year on the East Coast. I left before his matches, but I guess he just owned his white belt division, by either tapping his guys quickly or winning on points by margins in the double digits. He’s technical and extremely dynamic and a great addition to the school.
Congrats also to Ethan, who pulled in third and second in his divisions. Were it not for some weird officiating calls and his opponent in nogi getting a double-bye straight into the finals match, I think Ethan’s day would have gone much differently. I’m not sure how Ethan won two matches to get to the finals and ended up fighting a guy who had no matches. But, there ya go.
My match wasn’t all that exciting… at least, not for me. My opponent is a four stripe blue belt from down in Fife who trains at a Marcelo Alonso affiliate. He’s also, I hear, the wrestling coach at Fife High School. So, with that in mind, I pulled guard and was working a closed guard game for a while. My first mistake was when he stood up. I opened my guard (not a mistake) and allowed him to control my legs and pass (big mistake). My second mistake was to roll to turtle, which I don’t do a lot of at class, worrying about giving up points, rather than working from side control to regain half guard, which I do ALL THE TIME at class. So, I avoided giving him points for a pass, but then I was in turtle, where he was working to get his hooks in. I defended for a while, but eventually, he took my back, flattened me out and ultimately got the RNC. Hats off to him. He was certainly better than me on Saturday. But, that said, I didn’t feel like he was a lot stronger than me, nor did I feel completely outclassed. I was also happy that it wasn’t nerves that got me, either. I wasn’t nervous really all day long. I had some butterflies, but nothing major.
A while back, I identified half-guard as an area where I was really weak. While I’m far from invincible in half-guard, I’m a lot more comfortable there than before, after pulling half guard in sparring for a few months. I focused on a few techniques and work them over and over. I’m certainly going to work on expanding my arsenal from half-guard, but I feel like I now have a fundamental competence from which to work.
In language, there’s active and passive vocabulary. Active vocabulary words are those that we use all the time… the words that represent our written or oral voice. Passive vocubulary are words that we know and understand, but don’t use or even think to use in speech. Our passive vocabularies are much, much larger than our active vocabularies. I know, on a cerebral level, a couple of things to do from turtle. These techniques are part of my passive vocabulary. What I need to do now is move them into my active BJJ vocabulary so that they’re there for me when I need them.
With this in mind, my goals now are to really open up my guard game and to work from turtle. Every sparring match, I’m going to start from turtle. My goals will be to either reverse or regain guard, and of course, not get choked out. Once there, to open up my guard and really work on just being more comfortable.