Monday, March 9, 2009

Arnold Classic 2009

Here is a recap of my matches from the Arnold Classic. I won the no-gi intermediate and lost in the blue belt.

I only had one guy in my masters intermediate no-gi division. He shot a single on me. Because of all of the stand up work Clint had us drilling, I did not panic and easily countered him, breaking down his posture and taking his back. I took my time when I was on his back. Clint tells us to secure a position, and go when YOU are ready. Clint was there rolling with me. Ryan Hyde tells me to secure a backpack position from the back, and then focus on getting one arm around the neck, as opposed to the prototypical immediate figure four lock. Hyde was there rolling with me. I ended up tapping the guy with the RNC.

In the masters blue belt gi division, things didn’t go so smooth. My first match was against the eventual champion, who stormed through the division with ease. Come to find out he is undefeated in BJJ and a high ranking judoka. I was not afraid. I went in for a single leg takedown with confidence. Big Dawg has us drill takedowns for a reason, and he was there rolling with me. This guy was very strong and picked me up by my gi and threw me on my back. I did not panic. I stayed on the leg tight and went into the deep half guard position. Thank you Roberto Tozi and Clint for helping me feel comfortable here. They were both there rolling with me. I attempted 2 Tozi sweeps and came 90% close to sweeping the guy. Most guys would have gone down, but hats off to this tough competitor as he had great base. Although the “Tozi sweep” didn’t work, I did not panic. I knew I had more options. I first thought to try and transition from half guard to x guard. Thanks to Chris Crampton, I knew exactly what to do and had plans to shrimp out and put in the x guard hook. Chris was there rolling with me. Unfortunately, this did not work in the situation, as the opponent grabbed my collar and began choking me. I still am ok, and comfortable that my training provides me more options. The opponent had other ideas and eventually got his grip very tight on my collar across my neck. He sprawled back and I began gurgling and turning purple. I still did not panic. I have been in the position many times with my teammates! After what seemed like a minute, but was probably closer to 20 seconds, I saw the bright light and decided to tap rather then go visit Helio for a few minutes.

Since there were only 5 in the division I got a 2nd match for 3rd and 4th place against some guy from Saulo Ribeiro named Juan. Juan pulled guard on me, but I countered falling down to a knee lead position. I was pretty comfortable doing this, since I had just been drilling it with Charles. Charles was there rolling with me. We were fighting for grips, and Juan eventually closed his guard on me. Juan went for a deep cross collar grip from guard, but I swam my head under it just like Clint shows us. I then grabbed his lapel and a sleeve and go for a standing guard pass. My instructors were all there with me on the mat, as i have spent many hours drilling this! Juan decided to hang on for dear life and came up with me. I pushed down on his knee and bounced, just like my instructors taught me. Juan opened up his guard, and I instinctively put in my knee lead, as Charles was there with me; so I couldn’t have it any other way. I made a mistake, and left too much space with my knee lead. This cause me to get swept. This gives me something to work on with Charles and my other instructors! How exciting is it, that you find a piece of your game that you know you can fix! As Juan swept me, it ended up in a scramble. Juan stood up and I was wrapped around his leg. He grabbed my ankle and put in his shoulder, telegraphing a straight ankle/achilles lock. He fell back for it, and before you know it the ref stopped the match for no reason. He warned me (I think), not to do a heel hook as twisting ankle locks are not allowed. Since no one had a twisting ankle lock, I don’t really have any idea what was going on. We restart with him grabbing an almost finished ankle lock. I know some basic defenses to this situation, but I am not well versed in foot/leg locks. I know you can “put on the boot” or do the old foot in the butt. I was kind of in a dazed and confused state from the ref stopping it and Juan (to his credit) cranked my foot back to the moon. I didn’t care about the pain at all. I thought for a split second about letting him rip my foot off my leg, thinking maybe it would prove some kind of point. Then I heard Ryan Hyde in my head, who told me to “tap today, so you can train on tuesday”. I followed his advice and reluctantly tapped to the ankle lock.

Even though I lost in my gi division, I had a full tank of gas to go all day if I needed to. I never panicked, and was comfortable in all the positions that I fell into. I slowed everything down and used the training from all my instructors, to try and determine was the best action was for each situation I encountered. I was extremely disappointed with the results, at the time…it hurt a lot. I know I will learn from this and it will only make me a better grappler.

The most exciting part of the Arnolds was not me rolling, or my own personal journey. It was seeing my awesome teammates compete.

-Abby is a rockstar, and I am most proud of her. She dominated 3 girls in her no-gi division so bad that they made her jump up to blue belt, where she then dominated a 2 stripe blue belt before submitting her!

-Ryan Stutz is a machine. His upside down guard spin to armbar and omaplata finish were nothing short of amazing.

-Luis Pellecer is someone to be proud of. He took a chance going to his first competition and fought hard in a very intimidating environment.

-Mark Van Tongeren and Jeff Wenstrom were awesome stepping up to the intermediate division in no-gi to test themselves. Both more then held their own and represented crab nation in style.

-Justin Reynolds is the man! After having every reason to quit, he stuck it out and did awesome in his 30+ entrant gi division winning his first two matches in style before losing after an eyepoke that wasn’t stopped after shooting a nice double leg in his 3rd match.

-Clint is the Big Dawg, and we need to thank him every day for creating the best school in the nation. There is NO PLACE I would rather train. Clint added yet another gold medal to his shrine.

-I didn’t get to see the Sunday action, but congratulations to Charles for taking home gold!

Everyone needs to go out and compete. There are a million excuses you can have not to, but it is a truly special chance to share a lifetime experience with your BJJ brothers and sisters.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I actually remember seeing your match in blue belt division, I remember you because of the Dutch Assassin on the back of your gi.

You did a very nice job, but you are right the person you fought was quite good.

Very nice job, congrats on no-gi