My Experience at the 2012 US Grappling Diamond State Games

I competed at the US Grappling Diamond State Games today. Won gold in both my weight division and the absolute division. Overall, the tournament was run very well, as usual. There was a good amount of white and blue belts, but what was cool is there was a ton of purple and brown belts as well.

Also, the free shirt you get when you pre-register was great this time. It was black with simple white and red text. Simple is best, when it comes to shirts, in my view.

Some Quick Self Analysis

I got tired in my very last match, and was mad at myself for stopping hunting for a submission with 2 minutes left. I was up by 3 points, and was on my opponents back, able to go for a bow and arrow, and literally thought: “Lex, you write many glorious blogs about always working to finish, and here you are, no matches left for the day, only 2 minutes left on the clock, clear opening for a submission, and you’re holding the position just because you want to wind down the clock a bit.” There was no excuse to not go all out for the submission.

When you are winning by 3 points and are on top, it’s actually a great place to be, because you can open up, take risks, and if you get swept, you are still winning. I knew all that, but I was literally too tired. I ended up going for the submission with 30 seconds left, and almost getting it, but I already failed myself at the goal of never quitting.

More and more, I’m starting to see losing and winning as meaningless, and the more important goal of never quitting as the real thing I want to work towards as a competitor.

This is a whole lot of whining, but I wanted to share my inner experience. I really do think that you grow most as a person in overcoming the moments when you want to quit, and don’t. Go to your limit, no matter what that is, and push beyond it.

I’m doing two more tournaments before Worlds, with the goal of pushing the pace, and never quitting the hunt for submission after establishing a dominant position.

Some U.S. Grappling Rules to Remember

As a side note, the refs and organizers did a great job of running the tournament efficiently, but it was clear that some coaches, spectators, and competitors (including myself) did not know the rules as well as they might.  So here are two rules where I saw some mistakes on the part of competitors:

1. For gi division, kneebars, toe holds, and bicep/calf slicers are legal for brown and black belts only. For no-gi division, however, kneebars are okay for everyone.

2. If you do a big judo throw, but end up on bottom, that’s 2 points for the other guy. I’m still not 100% clear on the details of this rule, but it seems that if you want to get 2 points, you better end up on top (and show control for 3 seconds).

As always, I have to thank Andrew SmithChrissy Linzy, and many others for running a good tournament. Also, thanks to Eric Silverman and Steve Bowers for coaching me, and Jimmy Cerra for solid ref’ing and a good sense of humor about it.