I believe in the primacy of infighting.
So, I did not medal today. But other good things of note happened.
Lindsay lost one and won one, and ended up with 3rd. Shannon lost one and did not do another. Carlos won his bracket. Suranjan won several fights that I saw (both gi and no-gi… I think he’s the only one of my regular training partners who entered no-gi, other than Tagir, whom I did not see at all today- wonder how he made out…) don’t know what the final tallies on Suranjan’s brackets were. Saw Angus win one and lose one. Ben won his bracket (He was up against Ed in the final, and Ed gave him a bye by way of collapsing theatrically on the mat and covering his head with both hands… to much hilarity and teasing in the GB sector of the bleachers). More results when the list comes out.
I wanted to be there for Shannon’s and Lindsay’s fights, but it was nervewracking to be there for 6 hours before I even weighed in. In the past, when I have done both gi and no-gi at this event, there’s a release of pressure after the gi portion. Either you won- and you think, “Okay, if I bomb now, at least I did well in this half”… or you lost, and you think, “Okay, I have nothing to lose… bonzai!!!” Today, though, I got to sit around all day getting more and more nervous.
I did get to warm up Lindsay and Shannon with a little light flow rolling, and give Shannon (who was struggling with nerves) a pep talk… so that was definitely worth being there for.
I was watching Hadley, because I knew she was in my no-gi bracket. Saw her going for guillotines right and left, so made note to be particularly careful of that. There was supposed to be one other woman in our bracket, but neither of us knew her… so I didn’t get to scope her out during the gi fights.
Bree and Ross were on staff. It was- as usual- impossible to hear names being called for weights. Even when it was on loudspeaker, you couldn’t understand what people were saying. So whenever I saw Bree come out with a clipboard, I went over and offered to herald for her. By God, everybody sure as hell heard, and understood. (smirk). Lamont said, “Damn, I’ll have to get you to do that for *my* tournament!”
To my surprise, JB was there as a spectator for gi- so it was nice to hang out with her for a while and bug her some more about coming back to train. She also was kind enough to french braid my hair.
They did not do all the women first in no-gi- as they have done in the past- so we were waiting around a while. Hadley and I finally found the 3rd competitor in our bracket- Rachel- and the three of us hung out and bonded a bit. It really helps me to be friendly with my opponents. I like to know that they are not ruthless bitches who are not going to try to heelhook me. It helps with my anxiety.
Unfortunately, one of the two advanced-bracket competors scratched- so they busted the other one down into our bracket. Hadley took one look and sucked in a gasp of horror. “Oh my God, **HER**… she’s really good.”
Nothing against this gal- it wasn’t her fault that her opponent scratched, and it’s only fair that she get to fight- but of course this wasn’t ideal for the three of us. It meant that not only were we outclassed, it meant that somebody was not going to place. Since we three intermediates had already sort of bonded, we closed ranks and Hadley briefed us on what she knew about the advanced woman’s game (“She’s REALLY strong.”)
I had to fight Jonette (the advanced woman) first. While dismaying, this was a good opportunity for a few reasons. My entire point of doing these comps is to deal with the adrenaline dumps, the nerves, and the mental hurdles involved. While it’s great to be friendly with your opponents, dealing with an intimidating unfamilar fighter is probably more of what I *need* for my goals.
I don’t remember many details from our fight. Kelly got some of my matches on tape, so hopefully I will see those later and be able to dissect myself more. She was hella strong, fast, explosive. Although I was nervous, and I began to tire halfway through the match, I did **NOT** experience the crippling drain of energy that I have habitually felt starting in the bullpen and culminating in me feeling weak as a kitten after the first 20 seconds of my match. I felt calmer. I was breathing much deeper and more slowly. I did not panic or quail when Jonette lunged repeatedly at me in a very aggressive manner. It wasn’t perfect, mind you- but this is really what I’m working on, and it went much better today.
It was very much a battle of strength on strength. She was on top most of the time, with excellent pressure on my face, and I was forced to muscle in order to stave off the subs. But stave them I did, and I was able to match her muscle for muscle (not bad for Gramma). I managed to dredge up some energy from somewhere and use it to get out of her front mount and replace guard near the end, but it was too late. She won on points. It was a good fight. She fought nice and clean, and I thanked and congratulated her sincerely at the end.
Hadley and Rachel fought, and Hadley won. I did not get to fight Hadley today, which was disappointing (especially as she was the only one that I’d fought before and had any intel on). Lucky Duckie Rachel got out of having to face down Jonette. I think it would have been good for us to get to fight everyone in the bracket… but so it goes.
Rachel and I. I got an opening to set up Cindy’s livestock takedown, and- although I felt a little bad about it- I took it. I may not have been fully committed- but the balance just wasn’t right to complete it- I turned it into a hip throw. To my extreme ecstasy, that worked. I’m really happy that I got that takedown. Less happy with the landing. I was in control, but I had her headlocked and I couldn’t seem to find a way to transition to something more useful (note to ask somebody for help with this next week). I held her down for a while, but I couldn’t just sit there all day, so I clumsily tried for a mount, and the next thing I know she was on top. To my dismayed surprise, she turned out to be extremely strong as well. Again with the excellent face pressure. Finding myself in a second muscle-on-muscle battle, I again staved off the subs but didn’t have any gas left to get out from under. Again I made a break for replacing guard at the end, but too late. A second loss on points.
Hadley and Jonette. Rachel and I were both squatting in the bullpen cornering Hadley (who was also being cornered by at least two other people from different directions). I had advised Hadley to not go strength-on-strength with Jonette, who was obviously more compact and muscular than long-limbed Hadley. But Jonette sucked Hadley into her muscley game, despite Rachel and I yelling advice to the contrary. They strained together for most of the match, and then at the end Hadley started scrambling and taking some risks. She set up a couple of subs in quick succession that came within a hair of succeeding- but Jonette toughed them out, and won on points.
I felt a little bad about the three of us ganging up on her like that, and made a point of sincerely congratulating and thanking her again after the bracket was done. But obviously she did not need our help- she went through us like a scythe through wheat.
It will be interesting to do some more sub-only comps and see how these strength-on-strength battles play out with no time limits. Both of my opponents were working very hard- and of course I was too- but since I was able to stay calm, breathe well, and focus on conserving energy, I wonder if I could have eventually tired them out and then turned things around. Of course that is exactly how we fun-size colored belts deal with strong white belts.
I gave Ross a ride home (for which he bribed me with strawberries and reset the clock on my dashboard), then I had a white cheddar baked mac-and-cheese, garlic bread (with cheese) and cookie (without cheese) orgy.
As usual, I was so paranoid about making weight that I ended up weighing in at the top of the bracket beneath me. This means that my opponents are usually at the top of our *own* bracket and thus have a distinct weight advantage. The ladies in the 129-and-under bracket (yep, I weighed 128) looked so incredibly tiny, with biceps NOTHING like the guns on Jonetta. Their wrists are probably slimmer, too- I might actually be able to get a good grip around a wrist, which would be a huge help in no-gi. I really should shave off those last 3 or 4 lb and commit to planting myself in that bracket.