Live From Rome Part 1: Misery

This is the second time I have written this blog. The first go around I somehow managed to forgo the saving process, hence the delay in getting it out. Fortunately it gave me another opportunity to relieve the misery of it all.

This past weekend saw me venture to Rome to have another crack at becoming European champion. I was to compete in the IBJJF No-Gi Euros in addition to the Rome International Open in the Gi. To make things abundantly clear from the start, I failed at both, I went 0-2 for the entire weekend and this really did suck more than anything that has ever sucked before. At the Rome Open which took place on the Friday, I lost my first match, this was based primarily on the fact that I didn’t bother to defend a lazy take-down. My opponent sort of ran at me, as I was in the process of pulling guard anyway, I just accepted it and fell over. I jumped on his foot but whilst he was I obvious pain, he just wasn’t tapping. I swept before being swept back and lost on those two points. It was a fun match, which means very little when you lose. But I knew I had lost on the back of my own mistakes, which always gives you something to focus on when you get back to the academy. The blow was softened as I knew I had the chance for redemption on the Sunday.

Unfortunately this redemption did not come, rather I was beaten so badly it made me reconsider my entire existence. I don’t remember a great deal of what happened, I have been debating whether this was due to it being over so quickly or more-so that I have blocked out such a painful memory. It began in the same way as many of my matches with a double guard pull. My opponent then jumped up and somehow leapt straight over my guard. He immediately attached himself to my back where he proceeded to choke the life force directly from my body. All of this was done in under thirty seconds.

I have been beaten whilst competing (many times) but it has been extremely rare to have my guard passed. This kid sliced and diced that bitch like it was a promiscuous, big breasted blond teen getting blazed at Camp Crystal Lake. After spending an inordinate amount of time on the mats with my head in my hands, I was informed it was time to move. Leaving the mats in a state of shock, I felt so angry I pretty much wanted to cry. Then sat alone outside the venue in a state of bewilderment, I made the executive decision to quit Jiu-Jitsu (for about thirty seconds). After reconsidering I decided it would be best to just give up competing altogether (for maybe a minute). The agony of defeat is very difficult to summarise, all light is drained from the world and the haunting images of your failure are played on repeat across multiple screens simultaneously in your swede. All food tastes like shit even pizza and anything that any other human says is completely meaningless and irrevelent. Nothing at all can hold your interest other than the constant thought of what just went wrong. To say that I was humbled by this whole experience would be an understatement.

As depressingly painful as this was I did have the opportunity to see some awesome performances from fortified beasts such as Alan Finfou and Jackson Sousa. As well as picking up a sweet deep half detail from watching two female blue belts compete. One of the girls had jumped straight into deep half guard but was struggling to get into the waiter sweep position, in order to deal with this issue she moved her free leg into a spot which allowed her to recollect her other leg and hit the sweep. Watching this completely blew my mind, for years of playing this position, this detail had been something that had completely eluded me. The ability to learn from others, irregardless of age, experience and size is another awe inspiring thing about this dope ass sport.

But the highlight of the tournaments for me, had to be witnessing an old Mongolian sumo wrestler step onto the mats to have his picture taken. I must hasten to add, my idea of his nationality and sport of choice was not based upon any pre-existing ethnic stereotypes or his extreme mass but due to his hoodie which stated ‘Mongolian Sumo Wrestling’! The point of contention and indeed amusement was the fact that a match was already taking place on the mats whilst his equally whopping son took multiple pictures of him all decked out in the four medals he had collected over the weekend. I say ‘collected’ as dude hadn’t won a single match, being a blue belt on the wrong side of 60 and weighing somewhere in the area of 200 kilos meant there obviously wasn’t a huge pool to pull opponents from. This dude did not give a shit that there was two female blue belts on the mats fighting their hearts out, he needed his picture holding up the Four Horsemen sign like an elderly Mongolian Arn Anderson.

This weekend has given me a plethora of things that I need to work on, I guess I was blissfully unaware of how much certain areas of my game suck. I can safely say that some important lessons have been learned, super expensive lessons! Now it is just a matter of making sure that I don’t suck so much ass in the future.

This week I have BJJ Brown Belt, Judo Black Belt and genuine horrible individual Adam Simpson breaking down one of his favourite methods of garroting people.


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