Last weekend (Apr 22) was my first BJJ tournament: The Good Fight New York State Championship. I fought as a 155lb white belt in both gi and no-gi. Small weight cut, probably fought at 4-5lb above.
My goal going into it was just to win one match. I ended up winning two! One in gi, one in no-gi. The way the brackets worked out, I actually got to fight three times in each division: a first round, a semi-final, and then a third place match. Despite losing these matches, I was happy that I got more experience in competition.
Overall, the day was super fun! I got to watch all my teammates compete and a bunch of them won medals! The environment was incredible and this competition just adds to my infatuation with the art and makes me want to train more.
Here are the breakdowns (as much as I can remember) of my matches:
In my first match, I faced a one stripe white belt who was about the same size as me. The match was pretty back and forth, I wasn’t keeping track of points or advantages, but I think I finished slightly ahead. We went to overtime where both of us escaped back control, mount, armbar, and then were submitted with triangles. In double overtime, we both escaped back control and mount. Starting in spider web, I was able to pry his grip and secure the submission. To end the match, I escaped from his spiderweb, giving me the victory!
I don’t remember this one too well. I faced a four stripe and it was pretty one-sided. I was still pretty tired from the last match and made a bunch of mistakes (not that I wouldn’t of made mistakes if I was rested) that ended when he submitted me with an ezekiel choke when I went to escape from mount,
For the third place match, I faced a three stripe who was shorter than me and quite strong. It was not as one sided as the last match, but he was definitely much better than me. Eventually I lost to a triangle when I went for an escape from mount.
For the first no-gi match, I faced a kid who was clearly pretty inexperienced (even more than myself), and decided to go for a takedown. I shot a double leg where my penetrating step was not deep enough or fast enough. He countered with a guillotine that I got out of and then decided to just pull guard. The match consisted of me attacking from closed guard and I eventually finished him with a kimura. He had super flexible shoulders and I really had to crank it back, enough so that I was quite concerned his arm was going to break. Brian said, “My arm broke three time just watching that.”
Second no-gi match was against a super fast black guy. Again, I tried a failed takedown which led immediately to a counter where he ended up passing my guard. All of his transitions between positions were super quick. I would go for one escape, and before I knew it, he was somewhere else. I was barely surviving his onslaught and he eventually caught me with my arms out of position and finished with an Americana from top smash half guard.
My last match, I went against a kid who had a super strong upper body. He immediately went for an ankle pick and got it. Somewhere in the transition to the ground, he caught me in an arm-in guillotine which wasn’t quite in the right spot on my neck. I’m quite confident in my guillotine survival and at that point just wanted to chill for a bit while he wasted energy squeezing. He gave up on it after around 30s-1m after and I tried to sit up into dogfight. I got the underhook, but then he wrapped around that arm with a D’arce, a choke I’ve never been able to escape from, and finished me. We ended up talking after the match and he was super nice. Shoutout to you, Kiel!
- My stand up game sucks. I tried to go for some takedowns which all put me in a bad spot. Gotta pull guard from now on until I can make it to more Judo and wrestling classes.
- I need to flow more and not force things. When I was on bottom, I kept trying to get triangles, most of which ended with him stacking me and passing.
- My defense was really tested and held up pretty well. I got into a lot of bad positions because of how easy my guard is to pass and while I wasn’t, in most cases, able to escape immediately, I was able to hold off their attacks and almost always get the escape eventually.
- My closed guard passing is really bad. Every time I want to stand up, they just double ankle picked and swept me. Then I would try for the knee behind butt break, but most of the time got my posture broken down too much to finish it.
- BJJ competitions are super fun!