Euros No-gi 2018

One win, one loss; bronze. Then lost one in the absolute to take a default silver.

Pleased with the first match. I pulled guard and managed to sweep reasonably early, which put me two points up. He stood up explosively and I pulled guard again. He had good heavy passing and managed to put me to turtle several times, but I always managed to re-guard. To be honest, I think it was an example of competition experience telling. This was my 25th and, at this stage, I’ve got a fairly good grip on how the points system works. So, having swept, I knew I was two points up and, provided I could avoid a standing battle, I was confident my guard could keep me ahead. It would have been nice to get another sweep and I need to work on controlling people from the top where they’re playing a more explosive, wrestling type game rather than a more classic BJJ guard. But I’m still happy with the win.

Second I lost by single advantage. I pulled and he managed to drive forward into a decent head and arm choke immediately. But, thanks to some excellent darce players back in the gym, I’ve got fairly good at defending these. Managed to work my way out and went into my half guard game as he tried to pressure pass. Basically we stalled out from there. I was trying my usual chain of underhook sweeps, kimuras and trying to come under the outside leg, but had excellent posture, so I just couldn’t get any of it started. At the same time, my half guard coped well with his passing. A couple of times he started to get me flattened out, but I was able to insert a butterfly hook and get back to a secure position. In the end he won off the advantage from the initial choke attempt. Which, much as I’d like to quibble, was absolutely fair. It was the closest either of us had got to a successful move.

This lead on to the other important lesson. In gi, I make a lot of use of collar chokes from half guard as a means of generating movement, particularly against heavy passing. Even though it’s not a terribly high percentage submission, it forces people to posture in order to deal with the attack. No gi I don’t have that option and need to find an equivalent tool (probably head snaps and guillotines).

I was very much in two minds about entering the absolute. In the end decided it was just nerves and I’d regret not doing it (which was absolutely right). There were only three of us in it at the end and I lost to an ultra-heavy.

A few things learnt there. I mucked up the reset because I thought I should have butterfly hooks in after we’d gone out of bounds. But the ref restarted us as I started to raise that. I’m not confident of my recollection, but I think the issue was that my opponent didn’t hear the first halt. Since I’d stopped he’d been able to clear my hooks. And then, understandably, expected to restart from that position. I wanted my hooks back in and started to scoot inwards him, at which point the ref cried ‘Combatch!’ So he caught me too close, moving towards him and without a guard. He got passed, started to apply cross-face and I tapped to the pressure.

Looking back at the tape, I think it’s clear that I was nervous. In particular I think I tapped from a combination of genuinely feeling mild damage to my neck muscles (fair enough) together with panic and annoyance over the restart (not great). It’s only my second absolute and my first competitive match against someone substantially bigger. It’s definitely a different vibe. So I’m glad to have got the experience under my belt. Next time I hope I’ll be a bit more relaxed.