As promised, here are the lessons learned from Old Man Worlds 2013:
1. Prepare mentally leading up to the event, but don’t psyche yourself out the day of: I learned this lesson, not because of a mistake made, but because I actually managed to make this work. Carpooling with Scott and going first helped out a lot on this front as well. Too often, I get into my own head hours before I’m supposed to roll, try to plan for every scenario, freak out and do more harm than good. Listening to the ball-game last night, I heard a similar anecdote about a guy that got the OK to start a game in the Post Season. Instead of putting on his headphones and sequestering himself 3 hours before the game, he just had a normal day and then played a great 9 innings. Have fun out there!
2. Meal Plan: I need to do a better job of meal planning, skipping the caffeine and sugar and getting my weight under control. I don’t think I’m muscular enough for my current division and need to cut about 10 lbs to get down to Feather by next year’s Pan Ams. So, I’ll be working on that for the foreseeable future. I’ve also enlisted the help of my friend Gino – who seems to always be in the most elite of condition and takes meal planning to another level – so hopefully, this part of my training will begin to take root.
3. Light feet, heavy hips: I realized I plod along during the stand-up portion of the match – this could either be because I’m carrying too much weight or I’m just too heavy on my feet. To counteract this, I’ll be taking some circuit training and perhaps boxing to work on my footwork. I really wish Judo was offered at my gym though; I’d pounce on that opportunity. Conversely, I need to work at being heavier from the top position, especially in half-guard. This was seen last night during training as well (more on that in a minute).
4. Work on take-downs: While I have decent take-downs during that part of training, it’s rarely if ever in a live environment. I will work to combat this with extra training, dedicated solely to timing and take-downs, outside of the normal class schedule. No, I will not pull guard. Ever. It’s a matter of principle.
5. Stop being a sore loser: This one pretty much speaks for itself. These matches are not fight-to-the-death and I shouldn’t take them so seriously. I want to win and I want to medal, but I don’t want it more than I want to remain honorable, regardless of the result.
If I work on all of these things, I think I’ll be a better competitor come December for the NABJJF Worlds, which I plan on competing in. But, this is dependent on whether or not I’ve been training and supplementing consistently. Why show up if you’re just going to hand another guy the W?
That brings me to last night’s training. I hadn’t been on the mat in 10 days but felt pretty good during warm-ups. This week, the only working out I did was Allie’s HardCORE Conditioning class at 5:30 on Tuesday morning and my abs and lower back were still sore during the opening segment of class. I will continue to make it to that class, though, because it was awesome and I need the work.
I paired up with Andy for take-downs and his hip throws are really starting to come along. He outweighs me by about 15 pounds at the moment, so I’m hoping his extra weight helps me with my technique. For the technique portion, we went over three different scenarios from a failed single leg: rolling loop choke, cross-collar choke and rolling omaplata. I really enjoy all three of these scenarios and they’re completely dependent on what the other guy gives you, so I’d like to work on them more.
Positional rolls with Andrew and then Esteban. In both cases, I played guard – starting from closed guard and then working to get to spider. Got a decent couple of sweeps on Andy and Esteban and I went back and forth.
Live rolling: Esteban and then Kenric. Esteban and I have similar styles, I think, but he does a great job of forcing me to work new angles and is always changing his game. I kept trying to float over his modified half-guard and nearly took a couple of hook sweeps as a result. I’d go to grab his pant with my lower arm and, in doing so, would relieve some of the shoulder pressure, so he’d sneak up on his own shoulder and dive his head inside, looking for that sweep. I’m also working diligently on weaving when he tries for the scissor sweep and having some success with it. Overall, a great roll.
When rolling with my instructor, Kenric, I always feel like a cub being swatted by an adult bear. Thursday night was no exception. I found myself stuck on the bottom of reverse kesa gatame, but with both of my arms out and free to flail about. When I asked how to get out of this position, I was told “you’re stuck. You shouldn’t have gotten yourself there.” Reminded of Kurt Osiander, I resolved not to get there anymore. Kenric also mentioned that I used a lot of power in that round, so I need to analyze that as well. Saturday is normally my best day of training, so I’ll try to break these things down more on the mat.
After gi, I stayed to help with no gi and it was primarily lots of drilling. I’m showing up to this class because I like to help out and because my no gi sucks. Hard. The only way to get better is to keep showing up.
Had a decent roll with a new kid, whose name I don’t know, and managed to stay on top and pull off a couple of swinging arm bars from side-control (when they put their arm over your shoulder). After I got it off twice, I let him know not to put his arm there. I’m looking forward to developing this new aspect of my game – it’s fast-paced and will force me not to try and stabilize for too long. Get the position, then work for the submission.