Upon arriving in Madrid, I Stood on the balcony of my room at the hostel, I was feeling pretty good about the world. Truthfully, I had been feeling pretty good about the world every single day since I left my role as a high school teacher sixteen months ago to go full-time with this Jiu-Jitsu thing. Looking out onto the city, it was Jiu-Jitsu that had brought me here, if it wasn’t for this amazing, awe inspiring sport / art / lifestyle, I would have been getting ready for bed knowing I have to get up the next day and spend it grinding for someone else. I do realise, this now sounds like every other blog where I talk about how amazing things are for me and how everyone should follow their dreams and all of that sort of business. BUT it does hold true, I was there because of Jiu-Jitsu, I had just spent the year training with my hero because of Jiu-Jitsu and it kicked absolute ass!
Prior to my arrival, I’d consciously decided to communicate using my bad Portuguese rather than seem like every other ignorant ass English dude. Surprisingly, this worked quite well and within the couple of days I was there, I had picked up some basic Spanish to complement the words that were the same in Portuguese. The proof was in the pudding, after having a crack with one of the chicks working in Starbucks in my hybrid Spanish/Portuguese, her friend came and gave me her number. This was much to the dismay and amusement of my peoples who had been out the night before trying without success to hook up with chicks!
Madrid itself was a deliciously beautiful city unfortunately I didn’t get a great deal of time to explore or check anything of note. But I was privy to the scariest and most bizarre street performers that I had ever witnessed in my life. The large man in the picture below somehow seemed to be defying gravity, I had a good ganders at the dude, walked all the way around him and could not fathom the mechanics of it. I encountered a fully grown man in a baby carriage, it was literally this whopping man swede and then the body of a baby, this was an horrifically surreal image. As I walked past he began to make baby noises, at which point my face exploded with laugher that seemed to spill out of the core of my being, this must have been me look somewhat weird too as I was walking alone whilst laughing so hard I had to restrain a little pee from trickling out. There was also sinisterly peado Mini and Micky Mouse who didn’t look at all like the loveable characters from the Magic Kingdom.
The reason I was in Madrid was to compete in the IBJJF Madrid International Open, I had made my UK competition debut at purple belt the week before and the results had been less than spectacular, so I was super motivated to go and kill it. In my weight category, purple belt master one there was four dudes, which meant two matches to capture gold. In my first match, things could not have gone more smoothly. I came out and pulled guard, built up a 14-0 lead before finishing the dude with an arm-bar from side control at about the three minute mark. The final went even better, from my guard pull, my opponent attempted to pass, I swept from single leg X-guard straight into the foot-lock and when I went belly down, it was over in about a minute. This was enough to win the gold, it wasn’t quite the emotion explosion of having Terere there to corner me winning in Sao Paulo but it was rather delicious nonetheless!
A long wait ensued with the open weight category beginning at 8PM and my category having finished at 230ish. In the meantime I watched my homeslice Krish take gold at white belt with an awesome display of deep half guard. It was quite intimidating competing in the open with some big ass dudes who definitely weren’t jokers after medaling in their respective categories. I received a bye in the first round and was scheduled to meet a super nice American dude in the semis, a super nice guy but horribly aggressive game of Jiu-Jitsu with a tendency to face-ride. Fortunately I was able to score an even quicker foot-lock straight from the guard pull. In the final, I wasn’t as successful, I fought a large and scary human being who after my initial waiter sweep, swept me straight back like I was a small child. My second waiter sweep brought disaster as I didn’t come up fast enough and the dude managed to triangle me with my own leg, which sucked ass but couldn’t help but smile after being choked in this random fashion. No complaints though the dude was a killer.
The homies went off to get pissy, mack on chicks & celebrate, I went for the worst meal that I have ever paid for and then sat in Dunking Doughnuts reading how the homeboy George Orwell was ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’. As I was competing as a master, I guessed I might as well act like one!