BJJ Session # 22 – Tension

Had a bit of a bust last few days, filled mostly domestic running around. But, we went to watch our first tournament and had a good time watching our classmates and professor compete. I’d seen a few clips on the youtube of tournaments but really didn’t know what to expect. In general we were pretty impressed with the sportsmanship and atmosphere. As in any gathering of lots of people, there will always be some jerks/idiots around, and given BJJ’s connection to MMA (and MMA’s stereotype of Tapout/Affliction meat heads) I wondered how many would be there. In truth, there were few and while we didn’t stay for the whole event, we didn’t see any blatant douchebaggary. Some random thoughts about our spectator experience:

  • again, good sportsmanship was on display in nearly every match
  • It was cool to see the kids divisions, although I have my reservations about allowing submissions for kids 7 and up
  • it takes a lot of courage to fight at all, let alone in front of people
  • there seemed to be a huge range of skill in the white belt division, with some guys looking very polished
  • its quite obvious there is a difference between sparring in class and a tournament match
  • while there was a palpable (and understandable) tension in the air, we liked the general atmosphere. In the matches we saw, win or lose the competitors were gracious and smiling
  • despite the good impression it left on us, it didn’t spark a competitive fire within us. Maybe sometime in the future, but right now there has been no “I NEED to do that” feeling. Could be due to the feeling that I would lose convincingly to about 195 of the 200+ competitors there;) As for the 5 or so I think I could beat… no one would be impressed at a victory over a 5 year old.

The night before the competition I had my second class of the week. It was another low key affair (fine by me) and we went over some guard passes and closed guard breaks that I had seen before. So far in my BJJ experience, I’ve enjoyed it when I get to repeat some drills and this time was no different. Timing, balance and grips… just a few things that make a bit more sense and fit together a little better. Sparring is going a little better, and by better I mean I feel a little more sensitive to the flow of the roll. Sensing momentum, timing and pressure a bit more… but still not often or early enough. I’m also able to remember a bit more of the sequence of a roll or submission  after the fact than I previously could. I think I’m getting more used to thinking clearer under pressure and exhaustion.

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