In all relevant respects, Saturday was a good tournament for me. It was not a good performance by any means. As has been the case for the entirety of my competition career, I was hesitant even within my preferred modus operandi: failing to transition to deep half at a critical moment in my first match, abandoning a Flat Pass opportunity mid-start early in my second.
The good news is that the parts of my jiu-jitsu that need fixing, on holistic, strategic and tactical levels - are all in plain view to me. I've always thought that the greatest gift our actions to provide us with is clarity. And in that regard, jiu-jitsu always delivers.
I'll post the videos later. Thanks to Jamie, a great teammate, for the footage. I'm no more a fan of moving pictures of myself than I am of still ones, so I'll admit that I've not been able to watch any of them all the way through. But insofar as this whole project was about the good, the bad and the ugly, there's no reason to spare any of us the spectacle.
A few points on preparation. Things got a little unorthodox and it became easier to do a hard warmup before training than to do my usual - and apparently "warm weather" - conditioning routines at home. I'd still like to take some advantage of the opportunity to do some work during the day. But I'm giving a lot of credit to being at the academy, for training of course, but also as a place to do conditioning, as well. More of that in 2012.
Drill, baby, drill! I had some great sessions with Enrico and some other blue belts that really helped me fix and focus on specific problem areas, especially with the half guard. Honestly, I need to figure out a way to make sure that I do drill at least two moves after every evening class. Mostly I want to drill transitions, like the half to deep half move I failed to do in my first match, and guard passes, getting a better understanding of how the legs and hips move and bend to I can do a better job of escaping them. But there's no secret that drilling is the key to ever-sharper jiu-jitsu. And having seen some of that for myself in preparation for this last event really makes me eager for more.
Very nice camaraderie, I should add, which was great. Meeting the Adamson brothers (Nathan and Zach) who run Seaside Jiu-Jitsu was also a nice celebrity moment, having heard about the great time some of our guys had training down there earlier this year. It's the kind of thing that you know you'll be able to look back on in ten years when jiu-jitsu has really taken off in the northwest and be glad to have known and trained with some of the people who will have made it happen.
All in all, a great day. A lot of exciting matches, including Alex's first place at blue belt heavyweight in an overtime battle. It was that kind of thing that helped bring me back out of my one-tournament retirement. A thousand thanks to you all.