The 2012 Worlds have left me floored. I won my first two matches (see videos below), feeling strong and confident for the next match. However, the ring organizer made an exceptional mistake and skipped over me in the bracket, continuing on to the next round. This was only noticed after the next round’s fights were finished. I was skipped over. And just like that, my hunt for gold was over, without ever losing a match.
Everyone at IBJJF was apologetic, giving me a refund and two free tournaments. Of course, that still doesn’t cover the expenses, but much much more importantly, it doesn’t come close to making up for the fact that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (given how much I had to sacrifice to train for it).
This was my first time competing at Worlds, with over a year of hard training, drilling, competing, studying video, running, etc. where winning gold at this one tournament was my main goal. I have to admit and I truly mean it that my heart was broken in a way that I couldn’t quite put into words. It may sound like cliche exaggeration, but it’s true.
That said, the silver lining is I got to compete at Worlds. And that alone is an experience I will never forget, and I’m forever grateful for. And you better believe I will compete at both Pans and Worlds next year, as well as many other tournaments along the way, both big and small.
I decided early on to be respectful, and put this negative experience behind me, and look forward. I’ll even compete again this weekend at a small local tournament just to help put it all behind me.
I also learned a lot from just watching other blue belts as well as the higher ranks. For example, see the picture of Xande being swept successfully with the standard x-guard entry and sweep. It feels good to know that techniques I like can work against some of the best people out there.
Here are the basic lessons and resolutions I came away with:
- I have to have a very simple and well-defined game plan. In defining that game plan I have to be brutally honest with myself and only focus on things that click with me and not things I would LIKE to click with me. It’s the difference between dreams and reality. I can’t live in the dream world and still hope to succeed in jiu jitsu or any other aspect of my life for that matter.
- I have to drill the game plan with no resistance, in positional sparring, and in free sparring. Drill, drill, drill! My goal is, given all the other responsibilities in my life, to be a good competitor and enjoy both judo and jiu jitsu. Drilling is essential to that, because in my opinion, drilling maximizes the benefit out of the relatively little time I do have to train. Perfect practice makes perfect.
So here they are: my first two matches. As absurd as it is, I still desperately want the chance to do the other 5 matches, long after that opportunity is gone. I’m like the obsessed man in that Cake lyric:
As they speed thru the finish the flags go down.
The fans get up, and get out of town.
The arena is empty except for one man,
Still driving and striving as fast as he can