“When a problem comes along, you must whip it. ” -Devo
I was even more nervous before the BJJ tournament yesterday than I normally am, and as soon as I went into the venue and saw the mats, I started having a panic attack. It was hard to breathe, and I began crying, so my husband had me walk the halls with him. I calmed down a little, but at that point I still couldn’t fathom how I was possibly going to be able to compete. Fight or flight was in effect, and what I really wanted to do was flee, but somehow I pushed the fear away, and against the desire of almost every fiber of my being, I went through with it.
Since I was the only blue belt woman, they decided it wasn’t fair for the white belt featherweights to compete against me (even though I’m twice their age!), so they bumped me to the middleweight class, which means my competitor was twenty years younger and twenty pounds heavier than me. Although I understand the reasoning, I was a little surprised, because at every tournament I’ve ever competed in they always just combined the white and blue belt women, and I lost in the adult women’s white belt featherweight division at the last Circle of Iron!
Regardless, I’m glad I ended up in the division I did, because the woman I went up against, Jessica, was a great competitor, and I enjoyed our matches. She was very calm and technical, especially for a white belt, so it was a good learning experience for me. I won our first match by armbar from triangle, she won the second with a collar choke, then in our tie-breaker match, she won on points, so she got the gold. She also won the gi prize for outstanding woman at the tournament, which I think she completely deserved!
One of the best parts for me personally was that I had the honor of having my matches refereed by Fabio Santos, who is a red and black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu! The people that run the Circle of Iron tournaments are from a Fabio Santos school, and he came into Omaha to teach a seminar before the tournament yesterday, so I certainly didn’t have to worry about the quality of my ref! He also told Jessica and I that he enjoyed our matches, and he said we must come from good schools, so that was some high praise coming from him.
I was so overwhelmed by everything that happened yesterday that I haven’t even been able to process it all yet. It was a great experience, but it was also very draining for me. After I competed, several random strangers came up to me and shook my hand, telling me what a great job I did, which was a little uncomfortable for an introvert such as myself, but it did make me feel pretty good. Also, I don’t remember who it was, but someone I know told me “You are better than you think you are.” Yeah, that must be why I keep losing to white belts. ;)
Another nice thing that happened yesterday was that one of the spectators asked me “Are you the one who writes Ginger Snaps?”, and when I told him I was, he said “I love it!”. I’m not always aware of the reach of this blog (I actually prefer not to think about it!), but it is good to hear that people are enjoying it!
Even though I felt like I was seriously going to die, or at least pass out, before I competed yesterday, I’m very happy that I did neither of those things, and I won the biggest battle of the day, against myself. Any lessons I learn from competing, and everything else, are really just the awesome sauce on top of that success!
“Now whip it
Shape it up
Try to detect it
It’s not too late
To whip it
Whip it good…”