Surrey Open

Last one of the year. Would have been nice to go out on a high, but I took a default bronze after losing my first match. Essentially got run over by a more assertive, aggressive opponent who put me on the defensive from the start. I had some opportunities to make a comeback in the second half, but didn’t capitalise on them — primarily because he’d put me on tilt. So, definitely still working on getting that initial start right.

Apparently I’m now a nationally ranked athlete….


Which is highly amusing.

Also, just in case someone is actually reading this, hilariously wrong. For a start, I’m pretty sure it only picks up members of UKBJJA — which is probably around 25%-50% of competitors at most (and probably lower at white belt). Plus the whole idea of being ‘a good white belt’ is kind of silly, even before you get into the masters division. The best white belt, with the greatest promise to be brilliant athlete, is pretty crummy when compared with someone who started a few years before them. It’s such a transient snapshot in time, with so many people having taken themselves out of contention by having been promoted that it becomes meaningless. Of course, this is true to some degree until you get to black belt — but I think it’s particularly true at white belt.

Kleos 8

A slightly disappointing bronze.

Lost my first to an ezekiel from half-guard. My defence just wasn’t technical enough to do more than slow the sub down slightly (I now know that I should have been pushing on his elbow to relieve the pressure). Not so much annoyed at that, so much that I shouldn’t have let him get that far. For whatever reason I lacked focus and energy — and he was plenty good enough to punish me for it.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, getting tapped woke me up and I won a convincing point victory in the second. Including an overhead sweep that, quite honestly, I think looked kind of cool. Of course, I wouldn’t have needed to sweep him again if I’d hung onto mount the first time around…

Then ended up in the bronze medal match against my first opponent. Definitely preferring not to get choked again, I played a fairly conservative guard game, ending with a sweep from single leg X. Once on top I got trapped in his closed guard (I must get better at coming up and achieving some measure of control, without pushing so far back into them that I go into closed guard). The fact he was down on points at this stage definitely helped me, since he felt he had to open his guard, which allowed me to start knee slicing. Unfortunately he held onto three-quarters mount for long enough to deny me any further points. Time ran out just as I came into mount. Still, I was happy to get revenge for my earlier loss.

My main thing to work on for next time is mental focus and getting ready for that first match. I think I need to try a slightly more intense warm up — break a sweat, get my heart beating — and then come down slightly before that first match so that cardio shouldn’t be an issue. Also I must make sure to drink coffee (seriously, the only mornings I don’t is when rushing out for BJJ competitions and it’s an obvious violation of the ‘Don’t do anything different on the day’ rule).