This time around I didn't get out a competition what I normally do. Normally, I see where the big holes in my game are, and what areas I need to focus on.
However, this time, I learned the value of what it is to be a good sport and good competitor. I saw very clearly the opposite sides of the spectrum.
This may end up being a very long post, but it is what it is. I'll just explain what happened.
My first fight started out well for me, I swept the girl three times, but was never able to establish a top position so I didn't receive any points. At one point I had a gi choke sunk in, but she was defending, I didn't want to just crush her face, and I saw an opening for a sweep, so I took it instead. Then she ended up back in my guard, and to prevent me from sweeping her again, she went for a can opener type guard pass... holding my arms down by my biceps. I tried to go for an armbar, but hesitated since I wasn't sure if I could secure her arm with mine trapped down. I didn't get the armbar, and we ended up in a scramble. She tried to take my back. I don't mean this in a cocky way, but at that point I didn't feel extremely threatened and was mostly just focusing on not letting her in hooks in. I turned my head to see where her legs were, and I left my self open for a choke and she took it. I don't mean to take away from her choke at all... she saw it, went for it and got it. Good for her.
We ended up exchanging numbers. She seems like a really nice lady, I like her a lot, and was happy to meet her.
Fast forward eight.... Yes, eight emotional hours, to absolute. I was on the fence about doing it all day.. and the further it got pushed back, and the more tired I got the less and less I wanted to do it. I mentally defeated myself in spite all of the encouragement I had, I finally decided I wasn't going to do it. Not two seconds after I finally said, I wasn't doing it, one of the girls ran up and said, "Your up!" ... I got instantly pumped, handed my phone to Allie and ran to ring one.
The girl jumped guard and ended up wrapping my head up with my gi and grinding her forearm into my nose. It hurt like a mother... and then I heard a crack. It scared me (and hurt) so bad I almost tapped. But my fear turned to insta rage, and I didn't. To escape the face crush, I had to break her grip which tightened the grip on my face temporarily... but like I said, I had the insta rage, so I stuck it out.... then there was a second crack... and then a third.... I'm pretty sure I cursed under my breath, and I finally got my nose out of the way... only to leave her crushing my eye socket. Though once I got my nose out of the way the rest was a little easier.
Once I got my face out, I was able to get her guard broken, leg pined and was 90% of the way out.... just in short of time being called. If I had another 10 seconds I could have passed and secured side control for points, but alas... no points were scored and she won because I had to work out of the 'choke' she had.
The thing that bothers me about it is that never once was she even remotely close to choking me. It was just forearm to face the entire time. I wouldn't begrudge her if she had the choke, and was trying to finish it, or didn't realize she had my face... but she knew it was my face, and she never had the choke or anything close to my neck. To me, that is not Jiu-jitsu... Your opinion my differ, and that is fine.... I'm just stating mine. I feel like when people have to rely on things like that, it means they don't have technique. Or maybe, they would rather do that because it is easier route to victory.
I could have done something similar in my division, but I didn't. I would rather lose a match then win by something underhanded or questionable. More than gold, I want Fabio to be proud of me. I want to have a good time, I want my competitors to have a good time. Yes, I want to win, but I want to be able to look my competitors in the eye when I am done and be proud of myself. If I break a nose for no good reason... that is nothing I would be proud of. I think it is different if you have a submission locked in and someone is refusing to tap... and I am sure some people might think that is what happened to me... I should have tapped to the forearm in my face... but again, this is just my opinion, and even clear headed right now I feel like I made the right choice. I didn't want to reward her for what I feel was poor grappling etiquette and bad technique... Am I in pain? Yes. Do I think she will remember? Maybe not. But if people continue to refuse to let her win that way, maybe she will stop doing it, and rely more on her actual Jiu-jitsu...which she did have; she wasn't without skill.
However, I realize the driving force behind competition is winning, and a lot of people are more than happy to do whatever it takes to get that done... and that is okay. I just don't think its something to be proud of or something I personally am willing to do. (I want to live in a world where we slide down rainbows and eat fluffy clouds and sunshine for breakfast too...) Or maybe I am just not cut out for the competition circuit. It is what it is... however, I will continue to compete.. and maybe one day my Jiu-jitsu will be good enough to over come the brute force some people bring to the table.
Another match I saw a person grind their knee into the neck of the person they were grappling. It was basically knee on belly, but replace the belly with neck. While the fight was going on, the person who had the knee in their neck... their coach was trying to keep them calm and walk them through the match. He was saying things like, "They are getting tired.. You've got this!" or "It is just brute force! Use your technique!" He was clearly just trying to encourage his student, trying to keep them focused and get them through the match. At one point they had to move back to center, and when they got up, the person who was grinding their knee into the other persons neck, got up and started talking trash to the other persons coach. Finally when everything was said and done, the knee grinder won. No points were scored, but they were awarded the win for their aggression. When they had their hand raised, they cursed at the other coach, ripped off their gi top and jumped up and down around the ring, beating their chest and screaming obscenities. Honestly, it was the most poor display of sportsmanship that I have ever seen at a competition.
Meanwhile the other matches for blue belt absolute were going on, and I was talking to a lot of the other girls fighting... I met a girl from Sweden. She came alone, and made a vacation out of it. She was a really awesome lady, and I really enjoyed talking to her. We also exchanged information.
Turns out the girl from Sweden was in the finals with the face crusher, and another dirty grappler. So I warned her of the other girls tactics. She thanked me, and ended up facing off against face crusher for gold, and won. I pleased me to no end, a nice girl with good technique won the day.
So, in the end I came home with a bronze medal a broken nose, two new friends.... and a clear picture of how I want to compete, and what I want to be known for. (You know if I am ever known for anything... lol) And truly, a sense of who I want to be and how I want to repesent when I compete.
This competitions also had a lot of firsts for me.
My first competition as a blue belt.
My first IBJJF competition.
My first competition I went into without an existing injury.
The first time I got injured in a competition.
The first time I cried at a competition. (Twice no less. What a baby! lol)
The first time I did absolute.
The first time I lost all of my matches.... however, no points were scored on me. ... I mean aside from that one submission. =)