Now that we are settled in Sao Paulo, not much has been happening, making this blog quite boring.
My days generally consist of waking up at 9:30am, getting ready to go to training either at 11am to start 1 hour of drilling or if we are too tired ‘just’ competition training from 12-2pm. Then we rest up and drill for 1-2 hrs at night and sometimes do another class.
Classes include drilling for warm up (yay) for about 30 minutes and then hard rolling for about 1 hr 30 mins. Sometimes Fabio chucks in a conditioning session at the end of it all.
Training is hard and I won’t say it’s been an easy ride here for me. If I roll with the guys I basically lie underneath them for the entire roll. The girls are super tough, strong and technical. It’s an amazing day if I manage a sweep or a pass. There are no white belts at the comp classes and only about 2-3 blue belts, which makes trying new stuff super hard. I get pretty down on myself, but the truth is that everyone is more skilled, more fit and has more positional knowledge. I cannot simply rely on being good at 2-3 things. I must improve and learn different passes and guards, and also transitions, timing and being able to react from ALL positions.
It puts me in a strange place mentally – I LOVE how much I’m learning and how much I suck and how much I get to train with such high calibre athletes, and at the same time it can all be a bit overwhelming (probably my ego speaking here).
So, after a 2 week training block, we entered and competed at our first Brazilian tournament – the Abu Dabi Trials here in Sao Paulo. The weigh in was the day before – I entered the 54kg division (in a gi) and Lachie the 76kg (in a gi).
Lachie was 1st up and fought super well, losing by an advantage in 2nd round to a very good opponent. He is holding his own here and it was totally inspiring to see what’s possible.
I was up the next day. I had a bye then a tough girl with a great spider guard in the semi. My goal was to try a different strategy, but unfortunately it didn’t work. I lost 0-0, 2 advantages – one for accepting guard and the other for a near sweep from 50-50. I was very disappointed, but I learnt a lot. My game plan needed to be better, my spider guard passing needs work and my 50/50 game needs to be taken to another level.
Again, I had a bye first round and was to fight the winner of Round 1 – my Alliance team mate and a tough girl called Bianca (who I think is only 18). Bianca won and proceeded to destroy me. I pulled single x, she tried to mount, I tried to come up for a single leg after a scramble, I failed, turtled and as a result got choked.
My overall impression was that the standard here is very high. Most girls are super technical, strong and fast. They are competent and know most positions. They compete well. They are also very friendly and nice, making the competition fun. I’m actually setting up training as we speak with one of my opponents!
My 1st competition didn’t exactly go the way I wanted…I even had a tear, and felt super sad for the day. But for all those concerned, I am really, very ok. I learnt A LOT. I am in the gym 3 hrs a day fixing the mistakes and learning and training. A lot of good will come out of this, and at the end of day I just lost a BJJ match. It’s that simple.
Next stop is a competition in 2.5 weeks and then we will fly down south for Gramado Trials and train there for about a week. I am looking forward to everything that’s to come!