Monday, August 4, 2014

Rio Open: 4 Step Guide to Losing

Losing sucks.
Well, I guess the fact that I still came home with a Bronze medal means I didn't really lose, but in my head I feel like lost. My friend told me that it's not losing if you learn something... and I did learn something, but I still feel like I didn't do nearly as good as a I could have. Oh well.

So I lost...
                           Now what?....

Step 1: Purge
Losing, no matter how good of a sport you are generally results at least 5 minutes of sulking in a corner wanting to cry OR if you're bold actually crying. Some people wait till they get out of the mat area to do in the privacy of the bathroom, while others run right into the waiting arms of teammates and give a good cry right there on the edge of the mats or ring. The first time I lost anything was in kickboxing to Tecia Torres at IKF World Classics. I managed to hold back tears until I was securely out of the venue with a White Russian in my hand (while she was inside signing autographed pictures of herself). People kept trying to comfort me telling me "oh she's a legend, there is no shame to losing to a legend". Well, thanks people but that didn't actually help! Losing is losing and it generally sucks no matter how you put it. It hurts, emotionally, and when you're in this sport, even physically (sometimes very publicly). So, step 1 to losing is to purge. Accept the loss, get over it, and move on to step 2.

Step 2: Binge
After making weight and then competing, it's finally time to refuel and regain your energy. Most athletes consume carbs and protein to get energy to achieve what one might call "beast mode".  AFTER competition athletes consume high amounts of sugar, processed food, and sometimes alcohol to achieve a state referred to as being "turned up". This can last for 1 week or, in drastic cases, this deviant behavior may continue until preparation for the athletes next fight begins. Binging (in Brazil) normally starts with a post-fight Acai. Acai, while supposedly good for you, is filled with sugar, making it the perfect way to start your post-fight binging. This is generally followed up by a meal, chocolate, cookies, and anything else you can get your hands on! Unfortunately, preparation for my next fight began before this competition even started, so my post fight binge included fish, salad, and beats! Yay! I walked through Ipanema yesterday and wanted to eat EVERYTHING! I finally just had to go back to my room and block out all temptation!

Step 3: Revel
Jiu Jitsu tournaments normally last all day, so once your sulking is done, it's time to enjoy the experience! If you compete regularly, then you get to know the people from the competition scenes. The staff, the photographers, the different teams, all people you've competed or trained with in the past, and, of course, your own teammates. There is more to competitions than just competing. After losing my second match, I went and sulked a little with some fellow gringos from Connection Rio and a Peanut butter sandwich. Then I went over to sit with the Nova Uniao team before going out to grab some lunch with friends.   

Ladies from the Nova Uniao Jiu Jitsu Family

On top of spending time with teammates, tournaments are a great place to meet people that you have met or trained with in the past or could potentially train with in the future. Mestre Terere showed up to coach my good friend from England and I got to sit in and take pictures of an interview he did for Gracie Mag.

Interview with Gracie Mag. Borrowing someone's hat and Iphone 5.

I also met several other Jiu Jitsu coaches and black belts that where here to compete. Later that night, I got to sit in and translate and amazing class taught by black belt Eduardo Castro from Half & Half in Sao Paulo. Coincidentally, I will be going to Sao Paulo at the end of the month, so hopefully I will be able to hang out there for a week or so and train with some friends after my next fight!

You can't win everytime, and the times that you don't, you shouldn't let losing get in the way of you enjoying the day with friends and family. Accept your loss, enjoy your day, and then move on to step 4: get your s*&% straight for the next fight!

Step 4: Revise
Well obviously if you lost something went wrong. So you're going to need to fix it. First off it's important for readers to keep in mind that the level of revision required is generally based on belt level. I'm currently in white belt purgatory. Generally, we white belts are known for being strange creatures on the mats that refuse to employ any other guard but the closed, insist on using force over technique, and often think that true belief trumps actual Jiu Jitsu moves (i.e. you can't, no matter how much you try, get a kimura from inside some else's closed guard, in fact, you shouldn't be doing anything other than trying to get out of said guard) and, therefore, will commit some of the stupidest, and often times, hilarious mistakes (that is when we don't just spend the whole 4 minutes failing to get out of/ or finalize from the closed guard).

Translating class for Gringos in Ipanema
(My favorite De La Riva sweeps!)

If you have a good coach step 4 shouldn't be too hard. Some coaches will meet you right at the edge of the mats with a, "What the hell do you think you were doing" type lecture while others will subtly incorporate it into your next rolling session. I have one friend that could break down a 20 minute analysis of a 4 minute jiu jitsu match, highlighting your strengths and weaknesses and giving you a plan of attack for your next match. No matter how your coach or teammates pass on the revisions, it's always a good idea to try to get a video of your match. Watching the match several times can help you understand the mistakes you made... in respects to jiu jitsu, it can also help you understand what you will and will not get points for.

Watching BJJ videos on YouTube is another good way to pick up new moves or details on old moves.

BJJ Scouts: Leandro Lo
De La Riva Spider Guard/ Hybrid

BJJ Scouts: Michelle Nicholini
Shin on Shin Sweeps