Update: here are the videos of my matches with commentary.
I competed at The Good Fight “Tournament of Brotherly Love”. I wrote exactly one year ago a post about how I’m happy to see the evolution of this tournament. It’s really has come a long way. It runs on time, runs well, attracts some great competitors, refs, organizers. It’s expensive (around $80), but it’s worth it. It’s still not on the level of IBJJF in terms of the number of competitors for purple, brown, and black belt divisions. My division (purple belt middleweight) had 8 guys. Some IBJJF tournaments will have less, but the bigger ones will have 30+ purple belts. Still, it’s growing, and the important thing is they keep providing a good experience
I definitely had fun competing. I won gold in my division with three tough matches (with two submissions). I ended up not doing the absolute division. The 2 hour wait killed me this time. I went to bed at 4:30am last night due to a paper deadline, so while the lack of sleep didn’t affect me during the actual matches, it did contribute to me crashing afterwards. I have to figure out a system for myself of something like taking a nap between divisions to get refreshed for the open. It’s tough every time to weather that 2-8 hour wait (depending on the tournament) between the weight division and the absolute division.
I was reminded today how much I like being a purple belt. Everyone I went against threw a different technical game at me. There was no aimless aggression. Especially my first and third matches were against the type of guys who compete and win A LOT. They were relaxed, focused, and had a clear gameplan. I’m sure they are the ones who would rise to the medal stand in any purple belt division whether it be 8 people or 80 people. I had to come back from behind in both matches, and could have easily lost both. I love matches like that because it gives me stuff to work on, and still I get to enjoy the good simple feeling that comes from winning a match. I’m sure I’ll face both these guys again, maybe at the IBJJF New York Open next month, and I look forward to the challenge. In fact, one of the cool things about competing is going against the same people as they go up the ranks and evolve their game. In a way, we evolve together, responding to flaws that the other reveals.
I met a lot of old and recent friends, which is really the best part of these tournaments. It’s like a battlefield reunion. I caught the above in-action shot of Tim Hart coaching. He was intense and very precise about his on-the-mat instruction. Great stuff as always.
Thanks to everyone who teaches me, kicks my ass, and pushes me at Balance. Special thanks to Aldo and Marco for coaching. Marco was a man of a few words, but they were the right ones. Aldo is actually a brilliant coach. Before today, I thought of him as a competitor and knowledgeable jiu jitsu guy, but I didn’t realize that he was also the Sun Tzu of jiu jitsu coaching. The memory I’ll take away from this tournament is Aldo saying “You did good. Made me proud”. That made me feel like a Game of Thrones character returning from battle.