Did My First BJJ Tournament

Overall it was a great experience and I hope to learn from it. I got 3rd place.

I originally wanted to do novice 140 pound and under masters. I ended up getting combined into adult 160 and under beginner. I knew about the weight early so in the last month I ate like nuts and lifted and got from 140 to 149 but certainly 20% of that seems like fat. I normally don’t do carbs and this month showed me why but that is another post.

The night before the tournament I was stupid and ate a giant steak and woke up with what felt like a re-occurance of my divurticulitus. I had about a 100 degree temp. So when I woke up nervous as hell I thought, hey I have every excuse not to go…

But I did. And when I got there found I as the oldest, least experienced, smallest guy in my bracket. But instantly I felt better. I had much less pressure to win. I still want to win, but I honestly felt better because of the stacked odds as strange as it seems.

I did not do perfect on scheduling my eating but I can improve. I got there at 8:30 and did not compete until after noon. I think next time I will plan on a small snack at 10.

When I went to compete I was honestly pretty intimidated. I used to compete TKD as a a teen a ton but that was very different and my last time competing did not go well (17 years ago).

The first match helped me get over everything quick. As soon as they said go, the guy went for a double leg takedown and I got a guillotine in and won by submission very quickly. I was able to wrap up in guard with it and that was that. I think I have landed a guillotine all of once in my training ever and it was a straight arm.

I ended up re-matching the guy for 2nd later on and lost, which was a combo of him being good and my cardio apparently was not there for all the matches I did that day. I tapped to a triangle that I wish I hadn’t. I was not in danger of blacking out.

That first win was amazing for my confidence and how I feel about competing. Win or lose it was fun. I felt like every one had amazing respect for each other like I have never seen. It was there in TKD but not like this. So I walked away with a good feeling, some things to feel good about, and some things to work on for sure. One major one is that when I was in the final match I got him in side control and a coach helping out was yelling to “get heavy” which I never do… so I tried but failed. I normally go to knee on belly from there. But it made me realize:

  1. stick to your game plan if you can;
  2. I need to work on “getting heavy” in side control. I think being outweighed by many of my training partners makes that had to practice since they can all pretty much bench me.
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Curious about the divisions…

Does novice encompass more than just white belts?

No - novice is either up to 6 or 9 months in the tournaments I have seen. Once you get a blue you should move to intermediate. Beginner is up to 2 years.

That makes sense. There’s such a huge difference between a 6 month trainee and a four-stripe white belt.

Well done on the guillotine btw! I love it when my training partners want to serve that up to me on a platter.

For sure. One of the reasons I am glad I did it and want to continue even early on is competing with the more experienced beginners now will help me by the time I am at that experience level.