Competition · Kaizen

Newcastle Open: Closed Guard = Death



Well I headed off to my third BJJ competition this weekend, and definitely the largest one – with well over 100 competitors – that I’ve competed in yet. In my bracket, however, there was only one other girl. In that vein, I was hoping for absolute categories so that I could have a few more matches, but alas the organisers decided there wasn’t going to be time to do absolutes. Looking back, they were right. They overran badly as it stood, with absolutes as well, I think we would have been there all night. I weighed in at 53.8kg (no-gi) and my opponent was 61kg. The bracket was -63kg no-gi beginners.

Newcastle Comp Floor

My bracket was supposed to be at 2pm, but sadly a boy from the kid’s bracket was injured on one of the mats, so they didn’t want to move him until they were absolutely sure it was safe. This effectively put one of the mats out of action for about three hours. I think he was okay, apparently his biggest concern was that he wouldn’t be able to compete in the British Open next weekend! Either way they got paramedics in to sort him out, so I’m sure he’ll be good.

Joe and I were representing Kaizen

Anyway, after that it was a bit chaotic because they were trying to squidge three mats worth of divisions onto two mats, so nobody really knew when they were up. This meant that warm ups weren’t very effective etc. I think I warmed up about three times. Either way, when my match came around it was a bit of a surprise, because it was after a division that had been moved, so I wasn’t expecting it.

Even though the final result wasn’t what I wanted (6-4(1A)) to her, I was actually quite pleased with how I performed in my match. I pulled guard at the beginning, into half guard and worked to deep half, I then worked back to half after she flattened me out and swept her from there. I ended up in top half guard, which she tried to convert to closed guard, but I disengaged and stood up. I hate closed guard. Especially closed guard top. I then pulled guard again and tried to work for x-guard, that didn’t quite work out and I ended up inverted. I swept her from my inversion and once again ended up on top. Looking back I nearly had over-under, and should have secured the position, but in the heat of the moment my brain must have fallen out. She managed to her escape her leg and close her guard. This time I wasn’t so lucky at escaping. As I said before. I hate closed guard. Particularly in no-gi; it slows down matches (particularly at white belt). The person on the bottom is scared to open their guard in case the top person passes, the person on top is scared to try anything too radical in case they get subbed or swept.

Whilst in her guard I stupidly put my head down by her side and nearly got guillotined out, but managed to escape it at the last second. I then spent some exhaustive time trying to break out her closed guard using the Sao Paulo pass. I secured the underhook on all attempts so I wasn’t worried about her taking my back, I just couldn’t seem to apply enough weight to break her guard. On one attempt at this pass I idiotically didn’t base correctly and she executed a good move to sweep me into mount, gaining her entire 6 points in that one motion. By this point I only had one minute left. I reversed out of her mount and back into top closed position. I tried to look for a pass or a last second sub, but the clock ran down and she secured the victory.

Either way, I’m still pleased with how I performed. It was a silly mistake that cost me dearly, and I should’ve known better when I was ahead on points. But I guess you’ve got to make these mistakes to learn! Back on the mats, and onwards and upwards! Manchester Open in just under two weeks and I’ll see what I can achieve there. Congratulations to Riana on her win.

Riana with her gold, and me with silver.

Joe secured bronze in his division, which was much more stacked than mine – it had at least ten competitors! Hopefully I learn from my mistakes and can only get better from here. Other than my actual match I got to talk to a lot of interesting people, roll (gently) with Hannah (a blue belt from Fighters Hive) and watch some great matches. All in all it was a good day. I was bloody exhausted by the time I got home though – thanks to Joe for being an absolute champ with the driving, Emily for being my nandos companion, and to Tom for letting me crash at his the night before. His mum was an absolute darling and did my hair for me into multiple plaits, in the hope that it would stay back (it didn’t entirely, but it was much better than my usual effort!). Good day all round.

Joe and I with our medals.

See you at the next comp!




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