The 2012 Pans are coming up and I can’t be more excited; this will be the first major tournament that I’ve grappled in and I find myself jumping around emotionally. Sometimes, I feel like I could beast through all competition with beautiful technique and then other times (like when I’m at work), I find myself second guessing my jiu jitsu, my wrestling, my control. I get nervous, sweaty palms, heightened heart rate. I know, deep down inside, that I’ll get through the mental matches I have with myself before next Thursday, but these are the trying times. When I’m in the thick of it, there will be no time for nerves – there will be action and reaction; in the end, there will be me, standing with my arm raised and a smile wide enough to span seas.
But I’ve got to prepare before I get to that point; I’ve been working on finding ways to use my body as a lever, to increase leverage, to decrease the use of unnecessary strength. Yes, to dominate, but also to do so cognizantly, without bullying, without being an asshole on a red mat.
This means getting up in the morning before the sun is up; get to the mats early; visualize; stretch; tie my belt squarely and firmly; walk the mats and feel the tackiness under my feet, preparing my mind for the techniques we’ll be taught; getting through drills quickly; asking all questions that I can think of; being a sponge.
That means thinking of jiu jitsu when I don’t grab that can of coke at work; when I want to be lazy and want to sleep in; in coming up with a game plan; in talking to my coaches outside of class; in telling myself, firmly and truly, “There is no second place.”
Nine days remaining. Let’s get after it.