Monday, November 25, 2013

Copa AlphaBarra

First time on the podium with Connection Rio athletes, 
Abdhallah Nabas and Andrew Morris

I've been in Brazil for two months and I'm now he proud owner of two shinny medals. 

The first medal I got last weekend after... well basically after doing nothing. Lost my first and only fight to a girl from GFTeam and won a silver medal.I was competing at the weight class above my normal weight (Not going to lie I was eating cake the day before the tournament) and I managed to not embarass myself so all in all it was a victory for me. Especially after everyone in the house had me stressed out about take downs (which I suck at) and pulling guard (which I have never, ever done in my life).

Repping my home school Renzo Gracie

Yesterday I competed for the second time at Copa AlphaBarra. After being registered in the men's division, and then being moved to the women's blue belt division, I was finally able to get myself sorted out and on the brackets for the women's white belt division were I thought I would have one fight... guaranteed silver.

They call my division, I go down to the mats, the first two girls fight, a girl from Gracie Barra wins and thinks she's done. Nope she has to fight me still, so we wait around some and to our surprise some other random girl from Nova Uniao shows up. So, I step on the mats to fight Ms. Nova Uniao, take her down with the guard pull thingy that I drilled maybe 10 times two weeks ago, and get a nice armbar. Nothing like a victory via submission.
One of my "magical" training partners

Afterwards, I wait around to fight the winner from Gracie Barra who is chatting it up with me about social projects. Ironically, she goes to  project Drive-In, a BJJ social project that I was planning on visiting sometime this week. So we exchange information and decide to trian together.

Just when I think we are about to step on the mats, they call me over and tell me I have to fight the girl that got beat in the first match. She pulled guard, but I passed mounted, and finished her in the first minute with a mounted triangle. I don't even like the mounted triangle but... hey it was there, so I went for it.

I step off the mats and the guy asks me if I want to rest. Rest? Who needs rest? Straight to the finals!

Well maybe I should have rested a little bit.

The girl from Gracie Barra was the biggest and the strongest of the three. I took her down and won on points. I couldn't have been happier, I went from what I thought was gaurunteed silver medal to fighting 3 times for a gold. Not only did I win the gold but I had the support from Master Weber, his wife Camila, my coach Perninha, the kids from Gordo's social project, Terere, and all of my friends from the house. I can't wait to get back on the mats tonight and prepare for the next competition in two weeks!

Leaving for my first competetion last week

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What NOT to do for your first competition

I'm competing in my first BJJ competition today. 

Apparently there are a few things that you should do before your first competiton. 

1. Choose a gym. 
Being the genious that I am, I started training at Terere's gym in Ipanema with some of my friends from the house this week. In a couple of months I will probably end up moving to Ipanema and training there full time. Its an amazing gym to train at with great people and more importatnly... with small people. They have a big competition team, so they were the ones that helped me register for this competition. BUT how am I supposed to explain the fact that I'm fighting for a different gym to the people from Gordo's.

Training with the girls from Gordo's social project 

2. Choose a Kimono.
Second dumb thing I did this week was put patches on my favorite kimono from Terere's. I'm pretty sure its a requirement to compete for them but and they lured me in with these pretty, pink patches that match my Kimono perfectly. Now I have a Kimono with two patches from Terere, one patch from Renzo Gracie, and NOTHING from the school I've been training in for the last two months. Needless to say, I highly regret putting ANYTHING on that kimono and I'll now be competing in a different one that I don't like as much.

Training with 5x World Champion Terere

3. Choose a strategy.
Take down or pull guard? I've always considered myself to be pretty shoddy at take downs so pulling guard seems to be the logical choice for me.... EXCEPT I don't know how to do it. Never drilled it and as a matter of fact have never really seen it until last night (the night before the competition). At the house everyone is questioning what I'm going to do. If I was at home at MiKiDo that wouldn't be an issue at all. At MiKiDo we don't entertain doubts, its just a matter of stepping on to that mats, doing what we do, and bringing home what's ours.

4. Choose your company. 
All of this stuff has been stressing me out over the last 24 hours and I highly wish that everyone would stop bringing it up and just let me keep my head clear and focused on the competition. Unfortunately, when you live with 15 people it's somewhat hard to get some peace and quiet. Last night I had to get a little reprieve, so I went over to Gordo's to talk to Master Weber (who wants to see my compete tomorrow). Everyone advised me NOT to tell him about the competition since I'll be competing under Terere, but in my opinion, when the black belt that has been going out of their way to help you for two months wants to know something, you give him a straigh answer.

Ana marias (somewhat like twinkies) = Comfort food

On the bright side, I'm 2 kilos underweight right now so I'm going to get breakfast, drink my second cup of coffee, and enjoy the fact that even if I do lose my first match, I still get a bronze medal (because apparently they give out two bronze medals). So, win or lose, I can pretend that I'm a serious badass who medaled in Brazil and no one in America has to know