The day did not get off to a good start for me. I managed to set my alarm clock for 5.30pm rather than am, so I receive a phone call at 6.40, asking me where the hell I was, leaving me to scramble around to get out the door. I hate rushing, it leaves me feeling frazzled. Luckily I’d packed everything the night before so I didn’t need to worry about that. Still, I was incredibly annoyed that the day was off on the wrong foot before I’d even begun.
After a rather uneventful car journey to Glasgow (such motorway, much rain)) we arrived at Ravenscraig Sports Centre, which is amazing building. It’s where they held bits of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, so the facilities are top of the range. The building itself is a bit trippy though, it’s built out of a blocks that are tilted into each other, so if you look at it too long it can make you think you’re seeing things.
I wasn’t due on the mats until about 11am, so I used the time in between to shower, and do all the things I would’ve done if I’d got up on time. I headed back to the sports hall just as Joe was to take to the mat for the first time. He had a very tough fight the first round with a guy from a Roger Gracie Academy, but managed to win out on a 2 point lead from a takedown.
I started getting ready for my fights are weighed in, in the gi, at 53.2kg. The other girls in my division were 63.9 and 63.2 respectively. I’d known that they were bigger than me when I’d arrived, but it’s always a bit of a mountain to climb mentally when you know that you’ve got no one around your weight. It was move up a weight category or not fight, however, so I didn’t have a choice.
My first fight did not go well. I managed to establish half guard, and started to work from it in the way I’ve been practising, I got to my knees but as I went to sweep, my opponent stood up and I couldn’t complete the sweep. I heard my corner yelling “roll under! roll under!”, but as I tried I just couldn’t seem to shift her across me. I tried to get back into half guard but I messed up somewhere and she passed into mount. Before I knew it the fight was over with an armbar submission. I don’t even know how it got to that. All I know is that when she was passed it was over. I shook it off and rallied for my second fight. This one went somewhat better with me playing my half guard a lot more successfully. I defended some submission attempts well and the final score was 0-0, my opponent won on advantages, however. I wasn’t too disappointed. No points were scored against me in that one and this was my first “real” gi competition. I took third place and the bronze medal.
I decided not to do gi absolutes and rally for the no gi in the afternoon. In the meantime Joe had unfortunately lost in his match so came away medal-less from the middleweight white belt gi division. That division was absolutely stacked though, with fifteen competitors, which is huge! Our coach Michael had also come down to compete in the purple belt medium heavy devision, and won the gold without having any points scored against him. The first match was 13-0 and the second match he won by an armbar of some description, but the points were on 7-0 by the time he did that.
In the no gi the girls were up before the boys, and Andreana was on before me. She won her fight by two points from a sweep. It’s amazing that she won because this was her first competition and she should be so so proud of what she’s achieved because she’s not been training for very long (like three months!) and she picked up a gold. Very, very well done Andreana.
Then it was my turn. I was slightly more successful(!) in my rolls in the no gi. I managed to sweep the first girl from half guard, but stupidly got caught in a triangle after failing to secure the over under grip properly. I tried to break out of the triangle, but forgot to anchor my hands. I remember the structure to break out, but then forgot about the grip to anchor. What a fool. I didn’t get another fight in the no gi because the first fight had been forfeit by the girl I’d just fought due to the fact she was late to mat side. This was a bit annoying because it meant she went through to the final and I didn’t get to the fight the other girl. Oh well, such is life. Either way, I picked up bronze. Again. I was extremely frustrated with myself by this point because I knew I was better than the way I was performing. I have never cried at a competition before, but I cried yesterday out of sheer annoyance and frustration.
Joe faired much better in the no-gi, taking gold after some hard fought matches. He finished all by submission though, one americana and two guillotines. It was very well deserved because his jiu-jitsu has come on a lot recently and it showed how hard he’s worked.
Then it was time to have a crack at absolutes. In my match I once again managed to sweep from half guard but then got caught in a chance guillotine. I fought it and fought it, but she was very strong and in the end I had to tap. The world was going slightly grey at the edges by the time I tapped and the feeling of passing out isn’t one I especially want to experience. I thought that that would be that, but about half an hour later I was called back to the mat to fight again for the bronze. By this point I was in completely the wrong head space, having thought that I wasn’t going to fight again. Either way I lost that one too, and I literally don’t remember anything about that roll, I can’t even remember how she won. Joe picked up a bronze in his no gi absolute category.
So yesterday was a day of hard knocks for me. It was difficult and I was very frustrated and wound up by the end of it, but I guess sometimes that these things happen. I lost due to silly errors which is why I was so frustrated. My half guard game has improved a lot since my last competition and I managed to come up and sweep from it like I should have been doing. It was securing the position afterwards where I fluffed and got caught. Either way I have plenty to work on. I was angry with myself because I know that I can do better than the way I performed yesterday.
All in all though it was a great day for Kaizen Academy, and I’m so so proud of all my team mates and the hard work which has paid off for them. We took home 3 golds and 3 bronzes from a team of 4, so I don’t think that’s too shabby a showing at all.
I will be back on the mats and back to training tomorrow. I decided to have the day off today because my body feels a wee bit busted up.
Until next time…