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small fish, big pond

December 14, 2007

I cancelled our second training session this week. One friend went to a bonenkai (year end party). The other friend was sick earlier in the week and when I called him to cancel he sounded like he was still sick. I’ve been feeling under weather too, so there you have it.

But like an idiot who didn’t rest up, I was restless and worked out instead. Here is what I did:

  • 60 Hindu squats
  • 35 Hindu push ups
  • 15 tuf sit ups (got it from the ultimate fighter)
  • 30 sec bridge
  • 20 neck curls
  • “20” bicycle crunches
  • 10 neck twists
  • 6 hand stand push ups

After the hand stand push ups I knew I was pushing myself. Actually, when I got to 40 squats I knew. But I made a promise to improve on the Royal Court (Matt Furley’s term for Hindu squats, Hindu push ups and the bridge) by adding a count of 5 to each exercise the next time I perform them. I’m supposed to be at 70 squats, 40 push ups and a 1 min bridge. Yeah, I’ve been slacking. In place of cutting the bridge short, I do upas. 10 on each side, 5 slow, 5 quick. But I didn’t even do that.

Now, I feel a little more under the weather. Ha!

Later I’ll post a weekly exercise/training plan. That way I make it a point to exercise and don’t slack off again. But it’s getting colder, I don’t like it. One of the major drawbacks of coming from Hawaii. I’m a wimp when it comes to cold tempuratures.

Another thing I want to discuss is competitions.

Being in Japan is like being a small fish in a big pond. There are tournaments happening everywhere. I went to a Kendo tournament the other day just because I could. Kendo rocks!

But I want to try my hand at competing again. Especially a BJJ tournament. There’s one in the summertime and I think I’ll enter, cause BJJ is what I’m good at. Or I like to think I am. Competitions are an excellent way to measure progress, although not the only way. I believe I’m ready to compete. I’m in the best shape of my life and I’m looking at the game from a totally different perspective now.

I’ve only been in one competition in my BJJ career. I took fourth place. I’ve been in two competitions in my Judo career here in Japan. I got thrown in my first matches both times. I probably don’t have to say that I didn’t place at all. Of course BJJ and Judo are two very different sports. And their tournaments are very different as well. But there were similarities especially in entering the competition for the first time.

For my BJJ tournament, it was my first competition ever. I took the guy down, passed his guard and tried for a submission in the cross mount. I lost it and in a scramble I ended up putting the guy in my guard. At that point I was up on points. Then I gassed out. He passed my guard, got the side position, I elbow escaped, he passed my guard again and then he mounted me. Time up. He won. He would go on to win the weight class. Lots of what ifs in my mind after that.

My first Judo tournament, marked my second venture into competitions. I squared up with my opponent. We battled for grips. I would break off his grips each time he grabbed me. I grabbed his gi and I saw an opening and I went for an O-soto-gari. He reversed it somehow and we both awkwardly fell to the ground. I looked to the judge and he gave him an ippon (point). I stood up and bowed. That was fast.

And here’s the moral I learned from those two experiences much like the cub scout motto: be prepared.

Granted, your first tournament you’re going to be nervous, but that gets easier the more you compete. I was nervous for my first competition, again on my second, and my third was just like any other day of hard sparring (okay, I was nervous).

But why I was not prepared for both competitions?

I gassed out on my first tournament. I was not physically prepared. Technically, I was sound. Physically, my conditioning was awful. Previous to that competition I did no running. No cardio training at all. I never even did any other type of exercise outside of jiu-jitsu class. And my performance on the day suffered because of it.

My second tournament I was not technically prepared. I only knew three throws at the time and thought that I’d be able to glide on in with my jiu-jitsu background. And I went in with no gameplan. Had I done so, maybe I would have lasted longer or won that match. I could have shot in and attempted a takedown. If I was in trouble I could have easily pulled guard. Instead I played their game and got awkwardly thrown because of it.

So my advice for those of you planning to enter a tournament. Do your cardio. Go in with a gameplan. Be prepared.

Oh, my third competition, I was ready. Everything was in place. I defended a lot of attempts. gave him a run for his money. I even tried an O-goshi a la BJJ self defense style. But in the last minute of the match I got thrown clean with a beautiful Ippon-seoi-nage.

And I lost the way I want to lose. Not because I didn’t train hard enough. And not because I wasn’t ready. I lost because on that day he was better than me.

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