Posted by: Pablo | March 31, 2011

Rolling on the ground with grown men part 1

Been a long time. No time to update this ish but for the 3 people who keep up, this one is for you. Training and my girlfriend are the only things I do nowadays. A few weeks ago I even competed in a no gi grappling tournament which was an incredible experience. I will discuss how all of this came about.

I have been a member at my gym for a year. I am still wack at techniques, but feel comfortable when rolling. Instead of spazzing out I focus on the situation and what technique I can execute to get me in a better position. No longer am I in survival mode when rolling. That is not saying much though since I still suck, but being able to think of my next move is a lot better than saying to myself, “oh shit this guy is gonna break my arm”. Kind of like street fighter where I am not afraid of dropping combos on a live opponent, but just a matter of getting the opening to attack.

Despite how much I suck, a buddy/much more advanced guy at the gym brought the tournament to my attention. I had already seen the flyer posted up at the gym, but considering my low tier skills I didn’t think much about it. Home dude was like stop being a pussy. That is all the motivation I needed to attend the 2 month training for the tournament. I had already lost of bunch of weight before the training thanks to Alex’s crazy ass diet, and had been eating right the whole time. Thankfully weight management was not an issue. I can’t believe how fat I was, lost around 28 pounds up until the weigh ins at the tournament. Shout outs to chicken breast and brown rice.

The training camp was ridiculous. Started at 8pm which meant I could get off work, take a nap and go in fresh for the ass beating I was about to receive. I would get home around 10:45pm, shower my broken body and do it again the next day. This was Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday was our break day. First day was subs, drilling for the first part, and then a ridiculous number of live rounds–Over an hour most of the time. Second day would be wrestling. Coach would do at least 21 rounds of greco/greco+trips/anything goes. Never experienced such a long and hard (yes homo) pace. Thursday would be wrestling, and Friday subs. Same deal. For the later part of the training we would warm up, do live wrestling/subs, and then drill technique when we were exhausted. This process works because it relies on muscle memory getting you through a match for the win. The major difference was this was not “class”. You either knew it or you didn’t. This is where I struggled, because my technique is slow which is not ideal when you are trying to get in as many reps as possible when drilling.

This was all very hard on the body, thus attaining proper hardbody status.  Prior to the team training I had pulled my calf. During training messed up my right ring finger, bruised a rib (according to webMD), and started the process of deforming my left ear with some minor cauliflower. I think I got off pretty lucky. First week of training one guy broke three vertebrae. The ambulance came and rushed him to the hospital, but we still kept training. Go hard.

One week before the tournament I was desperately trying to get into the 149lb weight class. I overshot my original weight loss goal of 162lbs (beginner), meaning that I would be really light for my current division. So here I am, running 4 miles during lunch breaks at work to get down but was not having much success. I think two weeks out next time I will go very low carb because I believe I plateaued my weight loss at the very end. The tournament discourages weight cutting and you weigh in right before your match. I guess that is good. I will try real hard next time to get to 147lbs or so because I was at least 6″ taller than the competitors in the 149lb and under division. The scale at the tournament was wack. It was digital and vibrated so your weight would fluctuate at least a pound when stepping on it. Not much you can do about it though because if you are overweight you do not wrestle. Simple as that.

On to the actual tournament. I fucked up big time when registering and I signed up for intermediate instead of beginner. I lack technique so strength and more importantly heart (foundation of Hardbody) are all I have to rely on. Thankfully I was moved into the beginner bracket. I had asked the tournament director if something could be done and she said she would look into it, about 30 minutes later coach came back to me saying that I was moved. That was a huge relief. I thanked the director after the tournament for helping me out and I apologized for messing up.

We had arrived at the high school gym around 2:30pm. It was massive. These schools out in the middle of nowhere have awesome facilities. No gi would not start until several hours later. It kind of sucks just waiting, watching the gi competitors butt scoot all over the place. We missed the advanced belt grappling because that started around 9am and only one of our guys actually trained gi.

When no gi beginner 162lb division weigh ins were announced I knew it was on. I just fucking ran down there to weigh in. I was looking at the 149lb guys and was pissed I could have probably beaten most of them with strength. They were much smaller but could have maintained control for most of the match. The actual scale was horrible. It was digital with the display kept wobbling back and forth when you stood on it. So your weight would fluctuate a pound or two. That is cool if you are under weight, but if you been cutting and barely making the limit it would suck to have the weight go up and down like that. They also won’t let you weigh in naked…which I guess makes sense. I had eaten lunch before weighing in so I was at 157lbs or so. Should have been no more than 156lbs but whatever the official is just checking to make sure you are not over.

After weighing in we had to wait at the designated mat. I really tried to keep myself warmed up, but some buster ass official was telling people to sit down. The fuck is that shit? You want me to stay seated on this cold ass gym floor up until my match? I got back up after that dude left and kept moving. Fuck that guy. While waiting for my match, the one taking place was hilarious. Some fat mexican versus some burly white guy in what seemed like the 200lb+ division. The match starts and for some reason the taller white guy lazily shoots in and the shorter and fatter mexican hops up and gets a guillotine. Locks in tight then let it go after several seconds since he felt the white guy go limp (no homo). White guy drops to the floor and the referee had no clue as to what happened. I had to tell him the guy was out cold. White guy got up asking the referee, “What happened?”

When my match finally came up I got a look at my opponent. Some younger white guy. At this point everyone is younger than me, I am HELLA old nowadays. My game plan was to counter whatever this guy did because I was confident this guy could not shoot on me. No one from our gym is going to get shot on. That is fact. We start out in wrestlers clinch, which is great, because I immediately landed a head butt while clinching. Then I rubbed my temple on his eyebrows a bit. It is awesome being able to hurt the opponent since it’s not a teammate. You do not have to be nice. We clinch for a bit and I feel out his strength. I was not impressed and could hold him there all day. I was waiting for him to do something and he tries to take me down but I sprawl and get head and arm control. He kept trying to get up but I ended up in side control. Held him there for a while and ended up out of bounds. Got reset, I tried to improve my position, couldn’t mount but ended up in half guard. Coach yells out and says keep him there you are ahead on points. Lay and pray all day son, won 6-2 on points. I felt really heavy, and everything was fuzzy. I was elated. It was an incredible high. Two months of hell drawn out of me in 5 minutes. By no means an impressive victory and had it gotten recorded I would probably be embarrassed but fuck it, I won. No one can take that away from me.

The second match sucked.  This time, I got the taste of lay and pray.  The guy was little stronger but nothing I had not seen before.  I tried standing guillotine but he managed to take me down.  I was in half guard from here on out. I was trying desperately to sweep and it became apparent that this is the area I needed to work on.  A good sweep would have gotten me into a favorable position and I could have made something happen.  His base was great so he was going to hold me there as long as necessary.  I looked at the points and it was 0-16 and I started spazzing out trying to muscle him off.  Did not work.  Time to do HELLA research on the best sweeps.

Competing was an incredible experience.  Here is this guy who wants to hurt you, and you have to be willing to do the same.  Everything is on you.  I learned a lot about where I stand in my skills.  It just makes me want to train even harder.  Ivan Salaverry MMA got the most points in no gi, and it feels good to have contributed to that.  Awesome.

Now that I look back, I am thankful of the few injuries I received leading up to the tournament. Nothing broken yet. Hopefully it stays that way.

Shout outs to spandex.

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