Always more to learn
I lost my first fight in the open division by advantage. My opponent was about 220 lbs and over six feet tall. Tactical error #1: pulling her on top of me. It was supposed to be a foot sweep, but it ended up not being that even a little bit. I spent the whole time with her trying to pass my half guard (she didn’t) and trying to choke me out (she didn’t). I got the underhook I needed once or twice, but wasn’t able to sweep her.
So she got an advantage because she settled into my half guard.
The most fascinating thing is that a teeny, scrappy little chick fought her next, and BEAT HER. Almost took her down once, almost took her back once, etc. So I believe she won by advantages. It was amazing; when she busted her moves, the whole place erupted in cheers. I felt marginally bad for the big girl because everyone was so psyched when the little girl took it to her, but I also didn’t feel that bad because she smashed me meanly when we fought. (Is meanly a word?)
So it sucked and my confidence has taken a hit. It’s interesting how similar the insecurities I feel about competing, and grappling in general, are to the similarities I felt in graduate school. When I lose, I feel like a fraud, and fully expect that somebody from the Jiu Jitsu Belt Police is going to find me, slap me with a citation, and confiscate my purple. Maybe even file a restraining order against me on behalf of the mat because the crappiness of my grappling is tantamount to abuse. (BTW, as you might imagine, I have been eating lots of sugar today to console myself.)
Rudy reminded me of something, though. Namely, when people whose grappling I admire lose or don’t do as well as they want to, I don’t think any less of them. I don’t question their rank or their ability. I just question my own. And he also reminded me that far more people at any tournament end up losing than winning (though many of them end up winning at least one, unlike me this time). So I intend to learn to stop doing that crap to myself. I also intend to learn how to lose gracefully, without it taking a chunk out of me every time.
Oh, and speaking of losing gracefully, I didn’t on Friday. There were only 4 women in my division, so losing my one match tied me for third place, which is crazy. They called my name to come to the podium a couple times, but I didn’t come because I was crying. I was upset about losing, but that day I was more upset that I was alone, I think. But either way, I didn’t show up at the podium, and that sucks for the winner. So I apologize to her, Ana Laura Cordeiro, and congratulate her on winning both her weight class AND the open division!
I will get over all of this, as I usually get over the stuff that I beat myself up for, and this time I plan to get over it (and myself) before I go to the Turkey training camp on Tues. (Oh, and by the way, I bit Kahlil and Jason’s heads off yesterday because they were ribbing me about being on the US World Grappling Games team, and I guess it hit a nerve because I’m feeling insecure. Oh, and also by the way, I guess fessing up like this isn’t the best way to strike fear into the hearts of my opponents, but keep your fingers crossed that 1) they don’t speak English, 2) they are too busy doing other things to read my blog—like train for the World Grappling Games, and 3) I really get to the point where I don’t mind losing before the tournament happens.) I just have to think about when this whole competing thing reaches the point of diminishing returns. When is it continuing to push myself and make myself grow, and when is it just beating my head against the wall?
Food for thought. Depending on the minute, I want to throw in the towel completely, and then I want to sign up to compete in every tournament I can. I will probably do the latter, but just for today, it’s kind of nice to think about doing the former.
In other news, needless to say, there were plenty of celebrity sightings today: Marcelo Garcia (who was in attendance though he didn’t compete), Leo Vieira, Roger Gracie (who wasn’t at his academy in London when I visited), Eduardo Telles (who is dreamy, IMO), Margarida, countless others.
Tomorrow are the black belt quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals. I’m looking forward to being able to relax and watch some slick grappling. And eating more acai. And a hot dog. And some pizza. (Tomorrow’s my last day of eating the “old” way before I get back to my campaign to cut down on the refined flour and sugar. I’m betting it will be relatively easy to do that at the training camp.)
Okay, I’m sleepy. And my face hurts. It was smushed under a lot of female purple belt for 7 minutes today. More later, including the few pictures I have taken at the tourney.