Josh Macin (pictured left with a super intense celebration face) won the blue belt middleweight division at Pans yesterday. I faced both him and his opponent in the finals before, and I imagine I will have to again. His opponent was Joel Hadden.
I think they both have a well rounded game, but I think Josh’s strength is takedowns and scrambles, and Joel’s strength is his spider guard or closed guard games. I know what it takes to beat them. And since they both beat me (in close matches) before, they sure know what it takes to beat me.
The main thing I remember from facing them is that the matches were good jiu jitsu. There was very little stalling and very little aimless expansion of energy. It was technique vs technique. And that’s a refreshing thing, especially at the blue belt level.
The other thing I remember is that their technique was backed by an intensity that only comes from a lot of confidence. That’s where lots and lots of drilling, positional training, and just plain old hard training comes in. I’ll have to step on the mat at Worlds in 2 months confident and ready for 6 minutes of war.
That said, off the mat, congrats to Josh for winning gold yesterday. I talked to him for a bit after our match last week, and he was a cool humble dude. Beyond everything else, these competitions build good character. Win or lose, I’m forever thankful for finding judo and jiu jitsu, because it really has made me a better human being.