After some early success competing in Brazil, winning gold in my first two competitions and a silver which should have been gold albeit some referee related craziness. I was having a difficult start to the new year, I had won my first competition at the end of January. But after that I had hit somewhat of a stumbling block, I had gone three tournaments winning only a single match. Of course I had excuses for each loss which were occurring via advantage or ref decision and being a ‘gringo’ was definitely not working in my favour. Either way I was not performing out on the mats like I was in the gym and losing was sucking some serious ass. The Brazilian Nationals were coming up, prior to coming to live here in Brazil the thought of just getting to compete in the Brasileiros was some dope shit. It was seriously awesome when I won the No-Gi Brasileiros and definitely my most coveted achievement so far competing in Jiu-Jitsu but it was all about winning this business in the Gi.
Anyone who say’s that double guard pulling is for pussies is sadly mistaken. A couple of days before I was set to travel to São Paulo to compete at the Brasileiros, I managed to suffer an ass related injury. During sparring, myself and the homie double guard pulled, I pulled aggressively which resulted in a hard landing that was obviously not conducive for my tush, my whole left cheek went numb straight away. Due to me being in relatively new living conditions staying with a Brazilian family, I didn’t think it appropriate to be icing up my ass in their front room, so I just skipped this, which would be a mistake. The trouble came when I tried to sleep that night, literally every time I nodded off and turned over I would jolt awake. By the morning I was sporting a stinking mood and I’m thinking to myself ‘I’ve done some serious damage to the ass’. In my last training session before the competition I couldn’t even play guard due to severe buttock related pain. This turn of events really sucked when it came time to spend 6 and a half hours sat on my injured cheek traveling on a coach. This wasn’t the best prep for the biggest comp I’d ever competed in.
Fortunately on the day my ass didn’t become a factor. The competition itself was huge, 8 mats running simultaneously. I fought on the Friday, it was purple & blue belts fighting that day, so it wasn’t super packed as it would be over the weekend for the black belts but there was still hundreds of people competing and there supporting their relative teams. When I competed at the No-Gi Brasileiros it was the biggest tournament I’d ever competed in up to that point, in addition to the fact it was my first competition here in Brazil. But this was now my tenth competition in Brazil so those three visits to the toilet prior to stepping onto the mats had fortunately all but gone. My first match of the day I fought some big ass strong dude – I played my usual game, pulled half guard, with a bit of a struggle got the sweep from deep half, passed the guard and maintained side control, couldn’t get the finish as the time ran out but I did enough to get the win 5-0.
I’m still waiting on the videos for my matches but quite honesty they are boring as hell, my competition game makes Bernardo Faria looks as wildly exciting as Rodolfo. The Second match I made the mistake of pulling guard straight into my opponent’s under-hook, I spent the bulk of the match trying to dig this bad-boy out, at which point another sweep from deep half to win the match.
I made a fatal mistake when it came to the semi-final, I totally mis-judged my opponent. I looked at him, I was bigger and stronger looking and this lead to the dumb ass assumption that I was beating the dude. That’s why Jiu-Jitsu is super sweet because that shit doesn’t necessarily matter. I shot an unprecedented takedown which invariably failed so I pulled guard and spent most of the match attempting to sweep, homeboy had the deep half scouted and he was awarded three points for a late (debatable) pass. When it came down to it, dude beat me as he had more heart than me and he definitely wanted it more. If you would have told me before arriving in Brazil that I would place third in the Brazilian Nationals, I would have said you were shitting me. But straight up on the day I was disappointed with myself after my final performance, mostly for being a penis hole and taking my opponent for granted. But in the immortal words of the homie Jeff Glover “I don’t lose, I learn”.
Oh and my ass still hurt a full two weeks later.
A second part of my São Paulo experience for the non Jiu-Jitsu swedes in coming later in the week…