Two trainings and a wedding

That was my weekend. I participated in tournament training on Friday and Sunday but did take a much needed day off on Saturday to rest and to attend a friend’s wedding (although I did dance at the wedding quite a bit). Although both training sessions were designed to be tournament like they were quite different.

Friday was very intense. A lot of people showed up and we were going all out. The coach running the training also yelled at us from the sidelines if he caught us slacking off, talking or doing anything else that you wouldn’t do during a tournament match.

There were moments on Friday where I was terrified. We did 8 minute rounds but often switched partners in the middle of a round. Each time we started, we started from our feet. I will freely admit that my standup is the worst so I knew it was good for me to get some work in there. That doesn’t mean I enjoyed it though. I often found myself paired up with large purple, brown and black belts and I would panic and try to pull guard.

Between bad guard pulls and awful takedown defense, I found myself on the bottom every round. I was still feeling very unenergized Friday night and so I wasn’t moving very well either. I got submitted a lot, I rarely got out of bad positions and I was just exhausted. Because we were going tournament level, the guys were going hard and there were lots of crossfaces, shoulder smothers and even one guy who used the “muffler” technique quite freely. There were times where I found myself curled up in a ball under a large training partner trying not to tap to panic. I would tell myself “you can’t just lay here, move, do something”. But I wasn’t doing a good job of listening to myself (I rarely do).

Sunday was a different experience. It was more laid back and it was more about technique than trying to beat the crap out of each other. I was still getting owned but in ways where I could move and work technique a bit more intelligently than I was doing Friday where it was mostly survival mode. I also got to work a couple of rounds with a female brown belt which was a rare and fun treat. I also felt much quicker and able to move after taking Saturday off from BJJ.

I learned important things in both these training sessions. Friday was a lot about survival. About three minutes into the first round I actually thought about stopping and telling the coach I was clearly not ready to compete and taking myself off the mat. I didn’t work many good techniques and I didn’t tap anyone and I had to deal with a lot of panic and bad situations. Although this sucks, it’s important to learn how to deal with these things. A lot of BJJ involves some level of discomfort or even fear. When someone is laying on top of you holding you down and trying to choke you unconscious, it’s hard not to feel scared! But I’d rather learn to deal with this in training than in a tournament or in a self-defense situation.

I also learned that rest is really important. I knew I was rundown Friday night and I could tell I was rolling flat. I couldn’t help but think how much more I’d be getting out of the training if I was able to move better. My body was so tired and sore that when I tried to push for an escape or pass it was very ineffective. After taking Saturday off, I felt like I was moving again Sunday and it felt so much nicer (I at least made the guys work a little to kick my ass).

I also learned that I really hate always being on the bottom. OK, I knew this already but I definitely relearned it this weekend. This means I really have to put myself in positions to be on top when I am training and stop letting my opponents take me down. At this point I’d settle for a good guard pull though, at least that is manageable bottom.

So this week I’m concentrating on taking things a bit easier so I do not get as rundown, getting enough rest and I guess I have to work on standup…darn.



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