I competed in the Professional Grappling League 8-man middleweight tournament yesterday. I faced Garry Tonon first match, had a good round of wrestling and lost in the last several seconds via rear naked choke from a quick switch-type move against a double. He was a tough opponent but I could’ve done better. I’ll be competing this weekend and next weekend in both gi and no-gi locally to try recover from that match 😉 All I can do is keep at it… Congrats to Garry for winning the tournament and to everyone who fought very well and put on a great show. Here’s the video of my match:
A ton of people showed up to watch. The venue was filled to capacity (check out the picture below), and there was a lot of positive energy in the room. Everyone was cheering at the slightest submission attempt, takedown, sweep, guard pass, etc. For me personally, the whole thing seemed surreal: ring card girls, great choices of walkout music, live video streaming, commentators, judges, refs, tons of black belts as spectators (Noah Spear, Tim Carpenter, Rick Macauley, Brian Rago, John Hassett, Stevie Linton and many others who I didn’t know by name).
As I said before, I think the new Grappling Leagues events are great for the sport, especially when they are put together as professionally as the first two PGL events. I hope I get another chance to compete in one of these, and in the mean time I definitely will compete in the AGL. If you’re a jiu jitsu (gi and no-gi) competitor, you should definitely check out their next tournament AGL 3 on January 19th, 2013 and their next pro event PGL 3 on February 2nd, 2013. I’ll be there.
Now on to the Henry Rollins words of wisdom… I was watching competition footage this morning on YouTube and a video of Henry Rollins popped up where he interviews a senator from some (deep) southern state. And one of the things Henry says in the video is: “knowledge without mileage equals bullshit”. He was referring to the motivation behind his traveling around the country and interviewing political leaders, but I think that quote applies to all aspects of life: you have to challenge yourself, and for many people that means leaving the comfort of the academy and stepping on the competition mat. There are ways to grow in jiu jitsu without competing, but it’s damn hard, because growth requires you to be brutally honest with yourself. For me, the learning process is about lots of drilling, hard training, and regular wake up calls that make me question my approach (from small things to big things). Of course, every time I step on the mat, I’m looking to figure out better ways of training, but nothing serves as a better catalyst for that than tough tournament matches. All that is just a long-winded way of saying that while I’m very upset that I lost, I’m glad I was there and I gave it my all.