NY Open…again

I know it’s been a while but I figure it’s time to get back to this blogging business. I haven’t really been intentionally ignoring it, I just am having trouble thinking of brilliant things to say about training.

When last I left off, I had just registered for the NY Open and decided to start tournament training again. Training for the tournament went ok but not as well as I would have liked. Even though mentally I wanted to train more and get focused, I found that life doesn’t always care about my training. In the past I have been able to train 5-6 days a week (sometimes more) for tournaments and I never felt prepared. So this time when I was lucky to get to training 3 days during the week, I really didn’t feel prepared. There were many times I didn’t think I’d be able to handle it and wanted to pull out from the tournament but I had already committed to it so I decided I was going to do it.

April 11th came and with it the NY Open. I only had one other person in my division (the joys of being a women’s master competitor) and it was someone I know and I knew it would be a challenging match. I wanted to take her down, get on top and stay there. I was able to get the takedown and I did get on top but I failed at staying there. Once she reversed the positions I could not get back on top and she ended up keeping me on bottom the rest of the match. She went for a few submissions which I defended but I just couldn’t escape. I have issues every now and then where when I feel stuck on bottom, I start to feel very panicky. Unfortunately this panic decided to show up during my match. I actually had to fight the urge to tap just because I started to freak out. So my takeaways from this are work on keeping position and stop freaking out. I am not sure how to work on that second one, the idea of asking people to smother me is very unappealing.

After my division was done I fought a brief battle with myself over doing the absolute division. On the one hand I figured it would be more matches and why not do it but on the other I felt I had done poorly in my division, I was still feeling the aftereffects of the match and it felt kind of weird to me to lose and still compete in absolute. In the end I decided I would compete. I had two matches in the absolute division. My goals were the same for these matches as in my previous: get the takedown, get on top, stay on top.

In my first match I was able to succeed at all this. I got the takedown and ended up in half guard. Eventually I passed and I got to side and spent pretty much the entire rest of the match there. I used shoulder pressure and I went for a few subs, mostly ezekiels. When rolling, I like to get to side control and then transition to mount and go for subs (my favorite being an arm triangle) but I was really hesitant to do that in the match. In the end I sort of wished I had gone for more. Oh well…I won this match on points.

My second match was against a friend who trains close to me and who I often train with at open mats. She is very fast and strong and always gives me trouble. She went for a snap down (I think) and I got on top and sprawled out. She ended up getting me in guard and then continually broke my posture down. She has a very active guard and went for armbars a lot. I defended and eventually she got out to my back (I forget how) and she took mount as well. I was on the defense the whole time and ended up losing on points. This was good enough for a bronze (which I split with a teammate) as we had 9 competitors.

After the tournament, I left for a relaxing vacation in Punta Cana (I highly recommend everyone take a vacation after a tournament) and had a lot of time to reflect on it. I always go through a minor slump when I lose at a tournament but it was worse this time. It was very emotional losing for many reasons and I started thinking that maybe it was time to realize jiu-jitsu is done with me.

I wasn’t just reacting to losing but to the ongoing struggle I’ve had getting back into jiu-jitsu after my yearlong fun with a herniated disc. Getting back to where I used to be is not very easy and I feel like I’m stuck here being overweight and out of shape for jits. Switching gyms has been difficult and even though I knew many of the people who train there and the coaches before I started, at times I still feel very much like an outsider. This feeling was intensified after the tournament.

However after a few days of contemplating being done with jits, I came back to sanity and realized that I didn’t want to quit jits. I still very much love it and I still feel like it’s part of who I am but the struggle to get back to where I was before is very hard. I guess it’s only natural to feel the urge to give up when the struggle is hard but I don’t want to leave something I love because it got hard.

So in the end I am pretty happy that I pushed myself to compete. I definitely identified things I need to work on and it has given me new determination to get out of this slump and commit myself to getting to where I want to be. I know that life is not going to get less hectic anytime soon and that I am still going to be lucky to get to the gym 3 times a week but I am ok with making slow and steady progress. It’s better than no progress at all.

It's supposed to be fun right?

It’s supposed to be fun right?

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2 responses to “NY Open…again”

  1. Lori Latimer says :

    The more you love it, the harder it gets and the easier it can break your heart. We are all in this together, Cynthia. Even if you step on the mat alone, we are there with open arms for when you step off. I’m glad you’re part of our extended grappling family. x0x0!

  2. slideyfoot says :

    I think the last picture says it all: as long as it’s fun and you’re learning, it’s all good. If competing is providing useful guidance for what you need to work on, it sounds well worth continuing to compete (though I say that as a non-competitor ;D).

    Is there anybody small you could get to smother you at training? As then maybe you could work your way up, from people you know you could probably hulk smash off you if you started to panic, to those you couldn’t (who also have a good level of control).

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