Today, I competed at the 2011 IBJJF New York Open. It’s a big tournament that I think is envisioned to be the East Coast brother to the Pan Ams.
My division (blue belt, middle) had 37 guys. I won my first two matches, and lost my third. I spent some time on my back, which is a new thing for me, and played a relaxed butterfly guard, getting an x-guard sweep on each of my three opponents. I enjoyed the fact that my opponent’s aggression in every case was not a chaotic beginner aggression, but just spurts of power behind excellent technique. In particular, I really enjoyed the x-guard fight with the last guy who fought it hard, looking to pass as opposed to not get swept.
My loss came to a left-sided triangle that my opponent was looking for the whole match. He kept trying for armbars and triangles with excellent hip movement which made passing his guard a lot trickier since I had to constantly be on the defensive.
I watched his next match against a much more aggressive opponent, and realized that perhaps one (of many) of my problems revealed by this tourney is I was too chill. This kind of aggression (grip breaking, constant movement) seemed to nullify the submission attempts well. Anyway, the guy that beat me went on to win the division.
Overall it was a good experience, not the least of which was the transportation. I took a $15 bus up to NYC from Philly and took the same bus back. I slept almost all of the way there and back. And when I wasn’t sleeping, I was working, so it was productive too! I think being well-rested made the tournament experience more enjoyable. Also I weighed in 6 lbs under (with my gi) after a big breakfast. 181 lbs division is a good one for me for these tourneys. I have too much stressful work that fills my week to be able to make the cut for same-day weigh-ins. Ultimately, I lost because my technique wasn’t good enough, and coming down a weight class won’t fix that. Training harder and smarter will.