It's always a good day when you can make a Prince reference while you compete in submission grappling.
Both my buddy and I competed in our Toro BJJ Purple Rain Rashguards. Stylish, I know.
This weekend I made the 6-7 hour ride/drive up to Delaware with 3 teammates.
Worked and refereed for the awesome folks at US Grappling, helped set up the venue, watched some Bellator 129 (no, you didn't miss much except some fine headbutting by Houston Alexander).
Had the worst hotel breakfast I've ever eaten at a hotel (it was a Ramada Inn).
Took 3rd in the Advanced NoGi, won a match by keylock from the triangle, lost a match on points, then won a match on points with some sweeps, guard passing, mount/back points.
In a combined purple belt weight class, I lost in the first round after getting stuck in closed guard for 7 minutes and losing a referee's decision. It was a frustrating day at the close, but I did stick to a new game plan for me which is to "play the game".
Often, I get impatient in my matches. I will pull guard or step right into a less than advantageous (for me) position to get to the Jiu-Jitsu.
A big thing I've been trying to do is be more aggressive at the start in terms of mindset but tempering that with patience as to when the timing is right.
I got to watch some great black belts I know compete, refereed matches, and did some winning and some learning.
I got to rock my sweet Toro BJJ gear from Cageside MMA (because who doesn't want to make a Prince reference while competing in the advanced NoGi division?) and my buddy and I even made it a Twinsies day and rocked the exact same outfit.
My first match I gave up the takedown but quickly looked to sweep and or take the back but settled for a triangle which led to a keylock.
My second match I hit a nice waiter sweep but then left an elbow out a bit which got me swept then I was lazy in addressing the over/under pass position and chose to turtle to avoid the guard pass. I had opportunity to come up on an x-guard sweep but I was no insistent enough and ended up ceding back points from there and ultimately lost the match on points.
In my 3rd match I scored points from a variety of places and was glad to have 3 matches in the NoGi against people who were not my teammates. You travel 7 hours each way to compete and it's a bonus to not face guys you already pay money to train with on a regular basis.
By the time this calendar year ends I'll have competed in at least 12 Jiu-Jitsu tournaments and 1 Judo tournament. I've competed more this year than any year to date and intend to increase that average in my 2nd year at purple belt in 2015.
I've trained harder and with more deliberate practice in mind than probably all my other years doing Jiu-Jitsu combined and I see the divide within even my own belt division growing greater each day.
There's that sinking feeling that though I don't train like a recreational Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, I also don't train nearly along the likes of the professionals.
As far as what that means, in terms of actionable reality, I have been diligent about strength and conditioning since the summer and intend to keep it as a part of my training regimen. In addition, I've begun competing in the NoGi and stepping out of my comfort zone in doing so.
I've been more diligent about my diet and have quit my weekend job to ensure I'm able to travel to compete and referee more often and also to be more well rested on the day of the tournament, as opposed to when I would work my regular job, then work until 2am Friday night, then travel, compete, referee and be back here to work again Saturday night until 2am.
At any rate, if I want different or better results, I have to look at what I'm doing and also what I'm not doing.
I can't change only the easy things or the things that I feel like or seem appealing to change (that don't really challenge me) and necessarily expect smashing, overwhelmingly awesome results.
I'll be looking for some wrestling practice/training going forward to help my NoGi game and also looking for more referee opportunities as it's a way to offset my training and travel costs as well as hopefully get some discounted registration.
It's been a long road just to this point and in many ways it feels like it has just begun.
I've completely dominated guys at purple unlike anything I did at blue belt, but I've also had matches where I made one mistake and never got it back.
I'm sure this disparity only increases at each belt level (something confirmed to me by virtually every upper belt I've asked).