Monday, January 30, 2012

Sun, surfing, segways and silver medal in Portugal

I got back home from Portugal last night, and what an action-packed trip it was :)

Our little team performed really well and we took home three medals, one of each kind. The goal was to get a medal, so I am very satisfied with the result. It was a huge event over four days with a swarm of people filling up the sports hall. I met lots of people, who were reading this or my other blog, and many of my friends I trained and lived with on my trip around the world were there too. It was nice to see so many of them again.

For myself, it went pretty well, in fact a bit better than I had expected. I didn't really have any ambitions for myself, but ended up getting to the final in the master middle weight division, losing on points to the guy who also won the absolute.

I had three matches on the day, and it was nice to compete in master, where the time limit is six minutes instead of eight. It suited me really well, and my energy level was fine. Especially considering, that I haven't been able to do any real cardio or strength training since august. 

Let's get straight to the matches :)

First up was a german guy, who had already won his first match. I was seeded one round, so I got the chance to check him out before I met him on the mat. His game looked pretty good and I noticed, that he used his left leg as lead in guard top, which puzzled me a little bit about my tactics. I can do all my moves to both left and right side, but with most people leading with their right leg, that is where I have most experience.

Anyways, I pulled guard right away and for some reason, I got my left leg over his arm right from the start. He was in the wrench, and I was not going to let him out. Broke posture, then locked in a reverse triangle to stabilize while he tried to pull his head out. As he paused, I switched it over to regular and finished when he stood up to escape.

A short first match, that didn't really even get me warm as I hoped for. But it was nice to be able to save some energy for the next ones.

Second match was against a guy I have known from the danish BJJ community for something like ten years now. It was a pleasure to compete against him, and we had a good time before and after the match. I knew his guardpassing style suited my guard really bad, and he also has a tight closed guard. So I couldn't really decided where to play the game, but I eventually picked his guard. From the moment he pulled it, it was survival mode for the rest of the match. I had a decent attempt at passing, but I was mostly defending his sweep and submission attempts. My hope was, that there would be scored no points or advantages, so I would get the referee's decision for being on top. It was a tactic with a tiny margin for winning, and it worked. It could easily have gone either way, but I pulled home the smallest possible win and advanced to next round.

We'll have a rematch another day, where I'll promise to play less boring tactics :D

My opponent in the finale was exceptionally strong. I just couldn't move any of his limbs at all, and when I tried to sweep him, it felt like he was bolted to the floor. My technique and cardio felt good, but he was just physically too big of a handful for me. Usually I try to handle the big guys by taking the pace out of the match in the guard, but eventually he passed using a grip from hell on my ankle.

I managed to keep calm, recover my guard and sweep via deep half, but it was too late and I lost 5-2.

All in all, I am very satisfied with the result. I don't think I made any big mistakes in my matches, really. Of course, that is not always enough to win, but over all I am pleased with my own performance.

Apart from the competition, we had a great time in Lisbon. I wanted to focus on doing other things than just sitting in the sports hall for ten hours a day, so I had arranged for the team to go on a Segways race around town thursday. We did it last year, and it was still just as fun racing up and down those steep, narrow streets of the old town. Walking with my legs seem like such a waste of time after having tried a Segway :D The guys renting them out are super cool and one of them even does BJJ. I highly recommend dropping by GoCars Lisbon if you are there for the tournament next year and - like me - are getting tired of sitting indoors all the time in the noise.

The last day, we went surfing before heading to the airport. It was really nice to be back in the water, and despite difficult conditions, we had a great time there. I got to try my new camera on a surfboard for the first time and got some cool footage out of it.

Good things:
  • Silver medal at major IBJJF tournament
  • Cardio and endurance felt ok
  • Nice to work on guard top defense
  • No nervousness really

Bad things:
  • I need to fix my shoulder to get back to weight training
  • Deep half needs some polishing and experience