Reflections on Nottingham Open 2016

Carlos Gracie Jr says there is no losing in Jiu Jitsu. You win or you learn. At the Nottingham Open 2016 I had one match at Masters 1 (31-35 yr old) White Belt Ultra Heavyweight (100.5+kg) and came out with a Bronze Medal.

I pulled guard, and my opponent went straight to mount because I didn’t commit well enough. I escaped the mount and tried to come to the top but I had to switch and focus on the sweep. I landed in the half guard and I tried a combination of things like the lockdown to try and sweep. My opponent was threatening chokes and americana’s whilst on top and had a strong base so I had to stay active not to be submitted. Ultimately I lost on points 7-0. Thanks to Sahad and Goncalo for the coaching during the match.

First things first, on reflection:

  • Time to say goodbye to the Ultraheavyweight division. It has been important and necessary for me to compete, regardless of the condition I am in, and having lost five stone since January to enable me to train and compete that I recognise that this is not my natural weight class nor is it optimal. As I’ve already booked to fly out to the IBJJF Europeans this will be the last time I fight at Ultra.
  • Time to be serious about competition. Since I have been back training I haven’t taken one private lesson but I think now is the time to focus on regular privates to focus on competition strategy, game planning, and consistent coaching with competitions in mind. I know my capacity and I don’t think I am performing to it at the moment. I will use this method of teaching to focus solely on me and unlock my capability.
  • Time to add strength and conditioning into competition prep. I felt I could have performed better if I was stronger and had more gas, or explosive power, and I think this is a good time to identify it. I want to be a respected competitor and at the moment I’m not doing myself justice. It isn’t an optional extra to be able to fight at your best ability.

Now I’ve given myself a hard time let’s look at the positives:

  • Overall on the day, the team came back with 1 Gold, 2 Silvers and a Bronze from the White belt categories. Two of those medals were from first time competitors and one of them was a first medal so lots to be proud of from the Gracie Barra Birmingham White Belt contingent.
  • I felt comfortable in my fight and that I technically knew what I was trying to execute. I didn’t feel lost or unable to see what I wanted to do to score the points necessary to win the fight. My guard pull could have been better but from someone who wanted to fight for the take down it’s more proof of the need for a regular competition-focused coach giving private lessons.
  • I have now done as many competitions since I came back as before I paused training. With the Europeans after Christmas this looks like I am really ingraining the community in to my life, and that’s what I want, because you can see from my pictures the respect and support I get from my team is unlike I’ve ever known in any other environment.
  • It has re-enforced my desire to do the referees course after I am graduated to blue belt. I would like to give back to the community, and I may be out of competition a long time whilst I lose the weight to get to a natural weight class, but I want to stay on the scene so 2017 will definitely be the year to start learning to referee.
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