Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Back to work post ATL Open

This was my first class back after competing since I've been working on tiling my floor and I came in looking to pretty much double down on how hard I'm working. We worked a couple of throws, and then how to enter for those throws off of escaping from side control. After drilling those we did 40 minutes of rolling which is where I really wanted to start working.

I started from standing for most of my rolls and was specifically looking to hit the Tomoe Nage with my LEFT leg since one of the things I learned from the ATL Open is that the grips I'm most comfortable with are the grips for the throw on that side, but I keep trying to hit the throw with my right leg. So I was successful with three of those, which made me pretty happy. I hit a white belt, a blue belt, and a brown belt with it.

From there I wanted to work on that same ankle lock sequence that I used at the ATL Open, so I was looking for the same opportunity to secure the ankle and work the single leg X-guard sweep to the finish. Once again I was successful three times, hitting the sweep and the finish on a white, a blue, and brown belt.

So I felt really good about my class goals. I spent my last roll playing full defense against one of the bigger brown belts. I had one small opportunity to try for the ankle lock, but he pretty casually escaped before I could even get the grip in, so clearly there is progress to be made, but also during the class I was awarded my 4th stripe, so I'm now just 6-8 months of REALLY HARD work away from possibly picking up a brown belt, which is pretty cool.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

IBJJF 2016 Atlanta Winter Open Tournament Report

It's been a few months since my last competition, Master/Senior Worlds in Vegas, and I've been training quite hard. I decided almost at the last minute that I was going to go ahead and compete at the Atlanta Open. That that end I start working on my DLR passing, and a sequence of attacks off of DRL/Single Leg X/X Guard using straight ankle locks to attack or generate sweeps and guard passes. I also decided I wasn't going to try to cut to 141 even if it was only a few pounds. So I signed up for the 154lb division.

I showed up at the venue at about 12:30 with my division scheduled for 2:20pm. I spent a few minutes walking around the venue saying hello to people and seeing how the tournament was running. Things were running about 30-40 minutes behind, which is not too bad for an IBJJF tournament.

At about 1:30 I got changed then  took a quick 10 minute nap, then started stretching out and warming up a bit. I don't remember exactly what time we got called for our division, but it was about 3:30, so only running about an hour behind. I spent a few minutes running through some breathing exercises to try to get my energy amped up a bit then stepped onto the mats for my first match.

I gripped up and tried to work a trip into Tomoe Nage combo, I didn't quite complete the Tomoe the way I wanted to, went to a sweep attempt that turned into a bit of a scramble, leading to me getting caught in a standing guillotine. I'm used to defending the guillotine, so I was actually much more concerned with avoiding accidentally slamming my opponent when I dropped down than I was with the sub getting finished. I stayed patient and worked my way free, then hit the same pass I've been working the last couple of months. I wasn't quick enough to stop my opponent from turtling out of it,  but I was able to stall him out there and take his back. I started working for the choke and kept partially crossing my feet to get him to try to attack my feet and pay less attention to my hands. I was able to secure the collar and finish the choke.

Spent a minute talking to my coach and getting my forearms massaged, then had about a 15 minute break while other matches ran. Going into my second match I felt good. Everything felt very winnable.

My opponent was very quick to pull guard into DLR and I kept trying to work the backstep pass without much success. He was able to run me out of bounds on the single leg before I could get my hips in to roll him. He was able to sweep me, then we ended up in a small scramble when I tried to re-sweep. On the stand up he pulled guard again and, but this time on his sweep I was able to secure the single leg X-guard placement on the hip and drop right into the ankle lock finish that I've been doing off of the sickle sweep. A few seconds before he tapped here his ankle popped 3 or 4 times, it felt and sounded horrible, but he seemed fine afterwards and said it was no big deal.

With that I won my first IBJJF tournament. I now have a nice shiny gold medal which I am super proud of. This was the culmination of a lot of hard work towards getting more assertive in my game and just being better at implementing my game plan against my opponents.