2015 Ascension BJJ Championship, 26 before 26, absolute division, adrenaline dump, ascension, BJJ, brazilian jiu-jitsu, competition, female BJJ, grappling, judo, kesa gatame, middleweight, Ontario BJJ tournament, position before submission, takedowns for life, tani otoshi, tournaments, winning, wrasslin
So at the end of January I competed at the Ascension tournament in middleweight and at the absolute division (which is all weights at white belt). I had a lot of fun at the tournament and felt really that my confidence and assertiveness were much better than last time. I guess also I’m continuing to keep my 26 before 26 goal, which was to win a BJJ match. Making weight this time felt a little more taxing than last time, to be honest, even though I’m always within 3-4lbs of what I need to be at my normal weight. I always panic diet, every single time. I can’t help it. I’m glad that I’m used to ‘cutting’ (in a minor way), since I felt fine when I got there, and I wasn’t really even hungry. In fact, I don’t really ever feel hungry in a strong way on a tournament day, though after I finish competing I generally just stuff my face forever. After Provincials I probably ate continually for a solid 45 minutes to an hour. I do pack a lot of food for tournaments, but to be honest, it’s because I like to share with my teammates too, even if they’re not competing and running a booth/generously making sure no one runs off with my stuff (shout out to Cory and The Gi Hive!).
This time, the ladies’ white belt divisions were lucky, since we didn’t have to wait until later in the day like the male white belts, so we got to start at around noon, and even better (and unfortunately, unusual for a BJJ tournament), we started on time.
Improving upon my last tournament, my first match was won by submission, namely an armlock from kesa gatame. I was really happy to win a match by submission. I really like traditional judo-style kesa gatame. It’s a solid hold-down and there are a fair amount of options for the finish, and the transition to north south or back to regular side control isn’t too difficult. We practice these in judo as the “holddown clock,” which for me has really helped me position myself better, especially in terms of improving my pressure. I’ve found myself more and more getting the straight armlock from kesa gatame, and I think that’s because I’ve really improved my positioning.
I lost my second match, but I feel ok about it, since I didn’t get submitted and I only conceded points near the end. I’m happy about my (numerous) takedown attempts and I know I need to work on getting on top after the take down. I should have stayed tighter with the tani otoshi I caught on her, but I kept fighting hard. I ended up chilling out too long in bottom half guard, like in my other match at Provincials. She had her gi wound up under my nose but it wasn’t really a choke at all, just a pain in the butt. If I had thought better, I would have probably figured that out first, since it restricted my movement. Jeff told me that I need to tighten up my wrestling and learn some more half guard sweeps. Last week Jeff showed me the Bernardo sweep which is from deep half, and then Cory (whom I mentioned earlier) helped me with some of the details when I practised it during advanced class. I feel better now that I’m concentrating more on sweeps.
Someone neglected to film my match in absolutes, and I’m not naming names, but you know, he’s the worst and stuffbut it’s ok I still like him, I guess…. I’m glad that I did absolutes in any case. Michelle asked if I would, since her division didn’t have anyone in it, and of course I agreed to. She won against my above opponent (the second match), and then after one of my team-mates had a match, we faced each other. She dominated me for probably 2/3 of the match, staying on top, but I managed to sweep her and get on top then I worked as best I could. I felt like I was going at a frenetic pace, almost the same feeling as when you ride a bike down a huge hill and you don’t know if you’re going to be able to stop if there’s a barrier. Maybe that’s the adrenaline dump? I don’t know. I took her back but didn’t quite get the hook, and as the time wound down my hearing seemed to disappear, but I heard Jeff shouting something about time, and I tried to sink in the choke, but the buzzer went before she tapped. Though I trapped one of her arms, my hook was not deep enough for points, but I still felt the excitement of the match, even though I lost. I felt wild after. I wanted to go again, but that’s that when it’s single elimination. Some people after (namely a random white belt guy who called me “bro”) told me that she tapped before the buzzer, but I didn’t feel anything. I think maybe she hovered a little because I was giving it all I had. A close match is an exciting match, and I’m happy that so many people watched it and we both had a good time.
In the end, I received second place in my weight class, and third place in absolutes. I’m pretty happy with how things turned out, and I feel really confident about the next competition in March. I’m working on a post actually about my grappling confidence so hopefully I’ll manage to finish it before then. There are a lot of things I did before the Ascension tournament that really helped me out, and I think other people have had the same problem that I do with assertiveness and confidence.
All in all, the Ascension Tournament is probably my favourite yet, and not just because I was far more successful in it. It was well-organised, ran on time, and everyone was friendly. I hope my next tournament is just as fun.