March 16, 2010

Lessons Learned; Revolution in Perspective

My Day
I cannot comment much on my game Saturday, since I did not have an opportunity to play it. My opponent (whom I fought twice) was all over me like white on rice! First match was instant survival mode as his pressure was excellent. I was actually uncomfortable underneath him! Using the gi very intelligently he wrapped my arm up with my own gi, and used it to give him leverage to finish the kimura. Of course I have seen this before, but it has never been done in competition to me. It is funny how you can do, or have done to you, a certain technique hundreds of times in practice, yet when it happens in competition it is like a slow motion train wreck.... you know you do not want to be there but you just can't seem to stop it from happening!
My second match was stronger on my end. He tried to muscle the take down but I was not having it. I managed an under hook (I think), and actually nailed a hip toss. The frustrating thing is though I nailed the take down he immediately rolled and reversed the position gaining the 2 points. Not to cry over spilled milk, but in my opinion the thrower should get two points here too! After all I did nail the throw, but he should also get the points for the reversal.

After that it was pretty much the same. I was more aggressive and got a sweep, but he had ahold of my arm and once again reversed the position into some kind of lapel choke. To be honest I am not sure what he nailed me with since it happened so fast.

So my day was over relatively quickly. I slowly changed and got into a different mindset as Brian had asked if I could stay a bit and help coach some of the other guys. Of course I was happy to oblige.

The Tourney
Jeff B. has adopted the IBJJF rules in an effort to unify regulations and make it easier on those who are training for some of the big tournaments and events. Overall I think this is a great idea. For the most part IBJJF's rules are pretty solid and good. I am not a fan of the lack of leg locks
allowed in their format, but they are slowly changing and evolving (for instance a body triangle is now considered the same as "hooks in" so if you put a body triangle on someone and hold for three seconds you get the points, where in the past you did not get points.

I am not going to pitch a bitch about the strange format. Jeff knows this is a flawed method, but in reality their is no perfect solution. I personally have no issues with single elimination formats. Hey I know it is tough, but so is combat. You enter a major tourney you do not get a second chance. One and done. Win, or go home! But at the local level this may not bode well with ones paying clients. So I understand where Jeff is at.

One thing I will say is there needs to be a change in how many mats are running, and how efficiently they are run. Four rings is not enough when you have 400+ people! The white belt division was supposed to be starting at 11:45am... by 3pm (when I had to leave) over 1/2 of our white belts had not even rolled yet!! WAY too much down time! Also too many breaks and dead time on the mat in between divisions. Nothing worse than showing up at a tourney at 9am only to sit around not knowing if you are going to fight for 6 hours! This can totally kill an athlete mentally and physically!

Overall this was the best local tourney I have yet to attend. The sandbagging (if it was present at all) was not evident. All players were respectful and sportsmen like (one exception I saw was a female, of course, throwing a fit because she lost. Poor reflection on her and her coach.). Hands down the deepest competition I have seen at a local tourney!

Always Learning
One thing I noticed with our group of students at the Revolution is the intense nervousness about competing. On one hand I understand; everyone gets nervous with competition. But on the other hand I think it affected some competitors negatively. First of all it is just a tournament; you will go home safely to your loved ones at the end of the day. Your pecker will still work, your financials will not be any worse off, your children will eat that night. Win or lose no big deal in the grand scheme of things. Now of course you want to win, but keep in mind only one person wins! In a tournament everyone else is a loser!

Personally I look at like this: I want to learn. I live to learn. Competition teaches me like no other. To be honest I was more bummed that I did not get to play any of my game, then because I lost. I actually was happy that I nailed my signature sweep (Amauri has been calling it the Ballard Bridge sweep. I like it for the time being!), though it got reversed immediately. I learned though... I learned that if he has my arm trapped and I execute the sweep I can be counter swept all together! Lesson learned.

The best lesson of the day came from Brian Welson (I hope I am spelling that correctly bro, that is how they spelled it on the bracket sheet!). I met Brian down in Portland last month at Tim's seminar, and we hit it off immediately. Brian reminds me of me, but younger. A blue belt who is a bouncer by trade (someone remind me to talk him out of that profession) from Salem, OR. who is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future! He was at the Revolution alone and asked if I could coach him. Of course I was honored, but I wanted him to get someone better than me. I introduced him to Brian and Brian said if none of our guys were competing at the same time he would happily coach Brian. Well it turns out I ended coaching because Brian was busy with our students.

What Brian Welson does not realize is that he taught me more that day then I could have ever helped him with. To see BJJ played from the coaches perspective is truly a different beast unto itself. I have a LOT of work to do before coaching anyone in any type of ground grappling. My response time was behind, and I found myself trying to figure out what his opponent was trying to do instead of focusing more on my guys position and technique.

In the end Brian took 2nd place in his division. I have rolled with Brian and his technique is solid! He will be a tough, tough competitor coming up through the ranks. I look forward to rolling with him as time progresses, and I hope I helped more than I confused! Great job brother, and thank you for the opportunity to coach you!

Overall it was another positive experience on the mat. I look forward to the next tourney as we are starting to get some solid grapplers from all over the area offering some great competition. The purple belt division alone was stacked full of great fights.

Train Hard, Train Smart

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