OTM tourney day #1
Funny that I wanted to talk about Junior yesterday—it was his birthday! Happy birthday, Junior! I didn’t know that at the time, but I found out today when I saw Pete the Greek at the tournament! I was shocked to see him, mostly because he and his wife live in Chicago, which is where I knew him from. There is a lot of hyperbole about jiu jitsu players. Their jits is “sick”. They are “terrors on the mat.” But Pete, a black belt under Junior, is one of the very few people I would truly consider to be a jiu jitsu prodigy. His grasp of the game is top-notch, and he makes it seem effortless. He seems to be able to intuit positions, and he also invents things just for fun. I got to roll with him a couple months ago and he moves so quickly and smoothly. Kind of like his teacher.
Unfortunately, when he was training in Hawaii with BJ Penn a couple years ago, he was hit in the back by a huge wave at what is apparently one of the most dangerous beaches in the world. Since then, he has had at least one surgery and has been sidelined for quite a while. He’s been in town for a couple weeks, and I’m hoping to see him a little before he heads home to Chicago. He’ll be at the tournament tomorrow.
Speaking of the tournament, it was a long day, but a fun one. I had the usual pre-competition jitters, which means I catastrophized. I decided I have no talent in jiu jitsu, no friends, that I am fat, that it would be better to slip out unnoticed before they called my name, and that competing is masochistic and I must hate myself for doing it.
And I don’t think I’m alone in thinking these things, or these types of things. I talked to a friend today who said he hates competing and gets terrified when he does it. He then asked me if it ever gets easier. And what does change is the amount of time I spend freaked out. I used to start freaking out a week ahead of time. Then it was just a couple days. Then it was the night before. Now I don’t go completely apeshit anxious until a couple hours before I’m due to compete.
But then I’m happy afterward, win or lose. What’s nice for me is that this time around, I was happy afterward, win. I had two gi matches and won both of them. I Ezekiel choked my first opponent and keylock/Americana’ed my second opponent. They are both friends of mine, which is weird. Competing against friends is weird, I mean. You have to kind of forget you are friends and consider your opponents to be just opponents.
Lots of my friends and teammates competed too, and they all did great, including Ryan and Johnny, who won their respective divisions. Congrats to them! Tomorrow’s the no gi day, and I’m excited about that too. Not apeshit anxious yet, but give me about 12 hours. And in less than 24 hours, I think I’ll be sitting at Green Field, a Brazilian BBQ, with some friends. So that’s cool.
Tomorrow is also a new moon. Apparently that’s a good time to take stock of things and set some intentions that you want to fulfill by the full moon. So I’ll be giving that some thought too. Till then, it’s time to sleep again.