During my 1.5 day taper, I got to sit and watch some sessions at Alliance. It was such eye candy to actually observe instead of training. Having Lepri, Langhi, Tarsis, Gabriel Goulart, Juan, Mario Reis, Fabio Caloi, Monique, Gabi, Andresa, Dimi Souza and heaps of others all under one roof was nothing short of inspiration.
I woke up feeling great on the day of Brasileiros. I was focused, ready, relaxed and confident. I knew I have literally trained as hard as I could have in the last 6 months. I was pretty excited to test myself out with girls my own weight in Brazil.
I had 3 fights to gold. The big thing I’ve noticed about myself is the relative lack of negative self-talk whilst in the bull-pen, which has been replaced with clear and confident statements in my head. Always a good start to any comp.
I felt good in my first fight – I pulled guard and failed to finish a triangle, but ended up winning on points after passing twice and mounting.
Second fight was also pretty smooth – another win on points after a sweep and a pass.
My final started well. I received 2 advantages for foot lock attempts from a double guard pull, another advantage for coming up, then another for getting half guard. I felt so composed and was really enjoying playing the pressure game, when I got a little too confident and got swept from half guard with a minute to go. The girl was stalling it out, as anyone would do in that situation. Desperate for a sweep, I landed one from half guard, but it finished outside of the mats and I received yet another advantage. We started standing with 10 seconds to go and I was unable to score any points and ended up losing the final.
I made a pretty stupid mistake and paid for it by losing a title. It’s fair to say I was very annoyed at myself, but really, there is no better way to learn. A good night’s sleep and a healthy dose of perspective made me re-focus for the Worlds pretty quickly.
I really enjoyed playing on top this competition and using my pressure game. I have worked hard on my passing and am having as much fun with it as playing guard. I just don’t know which I like better… a pretty good problem to have I guess!
As always massive thanks to my sponsors MA1 Apparel for making competing and training possible, Kristensphoto, Absolute MMA & Conditioning and Z-strings.
After the Brasileiros were over, we only had 1 week left in Brazil, which of course went very quickly. In that one week, I fit in about 10 training sessions and got to visit my coach Thiago in his club in Hortolandia, which was quite special. I also squeezed in some sessions at Casquinha’s academy and got to train with his many tough and extremely technical and super nice girls.
I haven’t been shy about saying that I don’t love Sao Paulo as a city and at times it has been really tough to be away for so long, to not speak the language, to not have family and friends around and to realise I really suck at jiu jitsu. But on our last day, listening to Fabio Gurgel talk, I had tears in my eyes and felt really sad to leave the city and the Alliance family behind. I have never met such hard working group with so much mutual respect for each other. I have never imagined, just how much I would learn, not only from Fabio, Michael Langhi and everyone who shared their knowledge, but also from every single roll I’ve had.
Our hosts Camila and Ricardo, as well as Fabio and Isa became our little family and we are looking forward to meeting them in Australia to continue our surfing lessons and making lots of cakes.
We are lucky that we will get to see everyone at the Worlds again before we head back to Australia. I have no doubt I will return and train at my favourite place with my favourite people in the near future.