Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Grapplers Quest

This past weekend was Grapplers' Quest here in Del Mar. Saturday I competed in the no-gi 150 - 159 lbs Men's Intermediate division and was scheduled to compete in the Executive Blue Belt division on Sunday (more on that later). Leading up to the tournament I felt my cardio was great. For about two weeks I had been running 3 miles a day with sprints at the end of my run and rolling pretty much Monday through Friday.

My first match was against Sean (forgot the school he's from), a guy I actually met 3 weeks prior at Grappling X. At Grappling X, I remembered he had a tough guard and he didn't work for the takedowns so I was expecting him to pull guard or defend my takedown. He actually comes out and surprises me by going with an arm drag to takedown. I defended and attempted to take the back, but we scramble and he throws up a triangle which I defend. He then tries to transition to a kimura / armbar, which I defended as well trying to hop over and get my own armbar. This causes another scramble where I'm passing and attempt a brabo. I actually had it locked in but felt his arm defending and thought it would be hard to finish so I bail and work on the pass. He eventually turtles and I get the harness. I couldn't get my hooks in, so I attempted to flip him (ala Robert Drysdale) and succeeded in doing so. No hooks, however I do have the choke. Now here was a huge mental mistake. Instead of walking him up and sitting him up so I can get my hooks or even just try and finish without the hooks I bail and try and get my hooks. We eventually scramble again and he ends up on sidemount and time runs out. I believe I lost 5-0.

During my match, I tweaked my neck pretty bad. It was as if a chiropractor had adjusted my neck but I wasn't ready for it. I was able to finish my match but unfortunately was in so much pain the next day I couldn't compete on Sunday.

Some thoughts:
  • My game is definitely more "laid back" than it should be for tournaments. The "laid back" approach is probably ok for open mat, but not for tournaments.
  • "If you're not attacking, you're defending. If you're defending, you're most likely losing" - Marcelo Garcia. Definitely a byproduct of my "laid back" game. Need to focus on going on the offensive.
  • GAMEPLAN, GAMEPLAN, GAMEPLAN! The last two tournaments I went into it thinking, whatever happens happens. This mentality doesn't work for a tournament and is a testament to my "laid back" approach. I need to make that whatever happen. Sweep, Pass, Submit. Don't be so reactive but proactive.
  • Commit to my moves and impose my will. I had two chances to finish, but did not commit to it and therefore did not impose my will.
  • Capitalize on scrambles. I'm starting to realize scrambles are where it's at. How you react to scrambles often will determine if you will win or lose. If you can keep your cool when things are going crazy often times opening will be there for submissions.
  • Cutting weight. I'm thinking I may have cut too much weight. I neglected my strength training and focused on running to make weight. By running so much I may have gotten leaner but in doing so lost some strength.
  • My defense has been pretty good. I think working to defend from the likes of Mike and my brother have helped me tremendously with my defense and escaping. But like I said in my first point, I need to shift gears from defending to attacking.
Overall I think I did well. I may have lost, but in losing I'm learning so much about my game and areas I can work on. One thing I'm realizing is I'm doing ok. I'm not getting blown out of the water every time I compete and my matches are very competitive. My downfalls have been mental lapses or fatigue both of which I can overcome. The best thing to come from losing is motivation and that's definitely how I feel. Grapplers' Quest definitely lit a fire in me to try and breakthrough. Best of the West is coming up on April 26th and though I'll be busy with work I'm going to train as if I'm going to compete in it.

I'll close with my favorite quote from my favorite athlete of all-time:

“I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” - Michael Jordan

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