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silver medal

Abu Dhabi World Pro 2018

black belt , competition , friends , gi , Jiu Jitsu , Lachie , Uncategorized , World Championships • Jun 6, 2018
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Let’s rewind 6 weeks to the Abu Dhabi World Professional Championships. This year I was lucky enough to qualify as Oceania’s #1 fighter, as I collected points at LA Grand Slam, Continental Pro and the National Pro and as a result I won one of the travel packages on offer. In fact, Absolute MMA won all the black belt packages for males and females! Lachie and I were joined by Shantelle, Ben Hodgkinson (who had to withdraw last minute), and Chi, Sarah and Apryl in the adult divisions. It was also wonderful to catch up with my International friends like Margot, Reem, Rose and Erin.

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I decided to cut to 49kg. It is still an extremely difficult cut for me, as my usual walking around weight is 53kg and I’m already quite lean, but UAEJJF comps have 24 hr weigh in, so it’s just manageable. It’s the third time I’ve cut this much weight, and although it gets mentally harder each time, I also find it easier physically because I know exactly how my body responds and what is required of me. Not many people can understand how difficult it really is… I work full time, coach and train up to 4 hrs a day, which is no fun, when you have zero energy. Whoever says weight cuts are easy, flat out lies! Dropping down below 10% body fat is certainly one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

It took me 5-6 weeks to get down to about 49-50kgs on a very calorie restricted diet. The rest of the weight came off with manipulating my sodium and carb intake and eating low fibre for a few days before the comp. I sweated out only around 800g before the weigh in. The most important thing for me is safety and health, so I always consult with my dietician Reid Reale and make sure that I am disciplined enough with my diet, so I don’t have to cut a lot of water.

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I had an interesting bracket with a bye first round, then a multiple Worlds medalist Serena Gabrielli in the semi final. I had a great fight with Serena and although I couldn’t consolidate my pass attempt, I won by 2 points from a sweep. I was stoked to make it to the World Pro final, especially after over-coming such a tough opponent. Just 2 years ago, I remember watching Mackenzie and Michelle fight on the big stage, feeling like it was a far-away dream to ever follow their footsteps. I was pumped when I woke up and couldn’t believe I would be stepping on that stage as the first Australian to ever make it to the finals in the adult black belt division. Walking out through the lights and the fireworks was electrifying and I couldn’t wait to tap hands and fight. I had to keep remembering that the pressure I felt, was a complete privilege of an emotion, that only a few could ever feel, so I embraced it with all my might.

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My opponent in the final was Brazilian Mayssa Bastos, whom I fought at last year’s World Pro and lost by 1 point. Mayssa is one of the most technical fighters on the scene and I knew she would bring her relentless bermimbolo game. However I felt well prepared and ready for everything. I am a quite well rounded fighter, who is not afraid to wrestle or stay on top as well as play guard. We double guard pulled and I decided to come up for an advantage. As expected, Mayssa attacked bolos off a lasso, which I defended and deflected well for a few minutes. However as I defended a shin flick to possible triangle, I left my leg out for Mayssa to get a deep DLR hook. Things then went from bad to worse – I defended a back take but the choke was already on as I started to scramble back on top. I had no choice but to tap.

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After such an amazing build up, losing the final was definitely underwhelming and disappointing as I expected much more from myself. However, the better fighter won that night and the only thing I can do is learn from it and improve. I have gotten a lot better at not constantly replaying the mistakes in my mind and making myself feel terrible about them. Instead, I make a plan on how to build on my game and fix the things that didn’t work.abu dhabi 15 34563625_10155390413057461_6331076905801875456_n Abu Dhabi 16 Abu Dhabi 9Abu Dhabi 7

I was so happy for Lachie to win the prize for the top ranked male in Oceania for the season – he deserved it so much. I ended up ranked # 7 female in the world and #1 female in Oceania.Abu Dhabi 23

I flew home full of inspiration and ready for my Worlds prep.

Every time I have competed this year as a black belt, I have improved and gained confidence. I am finally starting to believe in myself and trust my technique. I try my hardest to fix the mistakes I make and compete smarter, but also I am constantly up-skilling my game – be it working on my bolos, half guard, wrestling or torreandos. I know I haven’t reached my potential yet and I also haven’t competed to my full abilities at black belt… but I am building momentum and I know I am not far. Can’t wait for the rest of the year!

From Sacramento to Lisbon and in-between

black belt , competition , friends , gi , IBJJF , Jiu Jitsu , no gi • Mar 4, 2018
Purchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJ

 

My life has taken me to some very unexpected and wonderful places lately and I have been given many opportunities. Just last week my appointment as a Board Member for The Professional Boxing and Combat Sport became official and I will be commencing my new role soon. It’s a massive honour, which I will write more about later.  However, this also means that between my own training, competing, full time work, running a business, more and more coaching commitments, teaching seminars and privates, speaking at events and attempting to have a private life, I have very little time to update this blog, which I will try to be better at.

 

FIGHT TO WIN PRO – SACRAMENTO

My year started off with a bang as I travelled to Sacramento to have my No Gi Worlds final rematch with Pati Fontes at Fight To Win Pro. I flew in by myself and didn’t know anyone in town, but thanks to the incredible BJJ community, I wasn’t alone for long. Dave Kovar of Kovar Systems and his beautiful family hosted me for the few days, drove me around Sacramento, cooked for me and were simply amazing company.
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I was lucky enough to train with Marcos Torregrosa and his badass team at Yemaso BJJ, who were all super technical, committed to their training and skills and most of all just super nice people. The atmosphere at Yemaso reminded me of Absolute back home, and I’m super thankful I got to finish my prep there. I have no doubt that Marcos and his lovely wife Nikki, will be friends for years to come bound by our love for BJJ and burgers.

When I found out I would fight Pati on the card I was very excited about this match up. I believe that I didn’t show my best at Worlds and that I could do much better. I spend my Xmas/NY period fixing the mistakes I made and training very hard. Lachie and I drilled and specific trained the bits that needed improvement and I was very confident going into the fight.

IMG_9287IMG_9314Purchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJ

Fight To Win Promotion put on amazing shows and I was so glad to be a part of it. Everything was professional, run smoothly and I had a ton of fun. We had a great fight and I executed my plan that I worked on with Lachie. I had a few sub attempts at the start of the fight with a guillotine I didn’t finish, and a few leg lock entries from the saddle, which again I couldn’t quite execute. Pati had me in a guillotine and a non-threatening toe hold attempt, but the action was back and forth all fight. With about 30 seconds to go, I saw a an opening for a heel hook, and thought I was close to getting the tap, but the time run out. Although I made some mistakes in the fight as I didn’t finish my subs, I was happy with the improvements from our last fight. I lost the judges decision, but gained a ton of confidence and seriously enjoyed myself out there.
Purchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJPurchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJ Purchase your prints and licensed downloads from this event - www.mikecalimbas.com/BJJIMG_9299

 

IBJJF EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS – LISBON, PORTUGAL

The next day I flew back to LA and had Erin pick me up and entrain me for a day before we flew out to Portugal to tackle the European Championships together.

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After a long flight we met up with Margot and Steph in a cute old apartment in Lisbon. The best thing about BJJ competition travel for me is meeting my friends from all over the world, training, sharing information, going through the struggles of cutting weight together, the sadness losing and the joy of winning together.
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It’s been ages since I had the pleasure of rolling with Margot, the ever improving technician, Erin and  brown belt Rose of Ladies Only BJJ, who just finished Medical School and is pretty much my hero. I met and rolled with so many people from all over the world and had a constant smile on my face each day.

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I felt great on comp day and had the privilege of being cornered by one of the black belt legends Shanti Abelha whom I’ve looked up to for years. I won my first fight against a tough Tassia Pimenta by a cross collar choke from mount.

More pictures at maggieleft.com. Watch all the fights at flograppling.comMore pictures at maggieleft.com. Watch all the fights at flograppling.com

I was expecting Talita Alencar in the final, however she got disqualified in her first round from a leg cramp, and my final was set against Vanessa English. I pulled guard, but lost 2 points as she tapped my shin. I worked my collar sleeve guard and nearly landed a balloon sweep to mount, but I wasn’t tight enough and we both ended standing up. Instead of pulling again, I hesitated, and Vanessa jumped closed guard quickly. That’s when good BJJ ended from my end. I defended arm bars for 8 minutes and the couple of times I managed to stand up and break the guard, I ended up back in Vanessa’s closed guard. I lost the final by 2 points, frustrated with my performance, but came away with plenty of things to improve on. I feel like I wasted my opportunity at the shot at the European Title, but after drowning my sorrows by eating 6 Portuguese egg tarts and making a drilling plan, life was looking pretty damn good again.liv euros 26815013_986234231533236_5415995646019317254_nIMG_9734

We spent the rest of our days in Lisbon exploring the beautiful city, eating more egg tarts, dancing and going on day trips to beautiful neighbouring towns of Cintra and Cascais.

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It was such a fantastic trip, but I was also looking forward to getting back home and not leaving my physio business for that long again. I missed my training partners, my routine and Lachie!

I had a 5 hour stop over in LA and decided I wanted to go and train, so I did a no gi session at Meraki BJJ with Ryan Hall. What an awesome way to break up the long flights!

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My next major comp will be the Abu Dhabi World Pro. Really wish I could do Pan Ams as well, but overseas trips from Australia are not only very expensive, but also extremely time consuming. But on the plus side, I’m excited to be in a building/learning phase with my BJJ for the next few weeks before I build up for Worlds again.

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