My new trainer was so much more motivating compared to my old trainer. This man is a black I really look up to. A big body and very interesting techniques makes him someone I want to learn from. The core group of the students are blue belts and higher. This gives me the perfect opportunity to roll with people with better techniques and challenge myself. Myself and the other students realised I am much stronger in pure strength then most of the other students wich makes me a very interesting opponent for them aswell. This way I get this motivation boost since now i'm rolling with people that really gives me this challenge I am looking for.
My first match I participate was a very good experience. Even though I fought many matches in judo when I was young, I was still very nervous. After 5 minutes I lost my match with a score of: 5-9. The first 3 minutes went very fast and very confusing. After 3 minutes I finaly started to play my own game even if it was way to late. For me.... this was the beginning of many many more tournaments. It was definitely worth it since I just got an extreme motivation boost for getting better and better. After my first step on the mat I started thinking about everything exept the match. I thought about the match itself instead of my opponent. I was thinking about how it felt to be back on the mat again. It was so long ago being here in a competition, it felt great again.
My first opponent had this very strong mount position wich was pritty hard to get away from. My second match was a big win for me on points. This was my very first win in a bjj tournament wich gave me so much more confident. The third match i won on a submission. After taking a back mount position i found my way for a perfect choke wich made my opponent tap. Something inside me changed in this moment. It felt like i choked someone for real for the very first time. I didn't back down on him. I used as much strength as i had to make that choke a good one. It feld weird, but very good. I realised this game is something I want to become a winner in. bjj became something that makes me want to win. It gives me this boost that says: YOU WILL BE THE BEST AND NOTHING LESS. There is no: "my opponent was better" excuse. I either win or keep trying. That's also the feeling I get when I was competing in this tournament.
My last few sparring sessions made me realise my progress is really going well. I start beating almost every other white belt on the training with a submission. I start rolling more with technique and less on strength. I find some rest during my sparring sessions instead of getting out of breath. I stopped going all in and started to use pressure instead of full force. Vs blue belts I start to find my dominating positions and start to search for submissions opportunities. Sometimes I can win vs a few blue belts wich could kill me during the first few months of my training. One of my last sparring sessions went so bad wich made me start thinking about myself. This first central training completely changed this. I made some realy nice submissions against some white belts and won on points against a few blue belts. This gave me so much confidence because this realy shows my progression.
Once in a while I have a few bad training days. Those days I feel down and out of energy which make me doubt myself and my skills. Last few weeks it was one of those bad training weeks for me. I was not able to play my game the way I like to play it and everything ended up in a defensive fight without threathning my opponent at all. This kept going until I got invited for a private sparring session at this guy his home. I won 3 matches with a submission and lost 2 of them. Normaly against him I either lose or it ends up in a tie. The next training a day later I did some great rolling vs a blue belt who normaly plays realy agrassive against me. This time I was able to controle him and play my game instead of his game.
For weeks I've been working on multiple positions to find a few fitting techniques for every position. I worked a lot on my mount and crosside position. Within those positions I made sure I have a plan towards at least 2 or more submissions. But this match I ended up in a open guard position which was one of the few positions I did not yet practice at all. After the match I was like: aah yeah I think I know how to break his balance from open guard position!!! I realised open guard might be next to standing position the closest to the judo system.
My first no gi training went decent. Today my no gi training went perfect! We started with practising the clock choke, followed by the ezequal choke and we ended with guillotine from guard. For me... all these chokes will be in my game plan. When the sparring started I was like: full focus and insane actions per minute. Everything went great. I felt the flow and got really confident in my no gi movements. I'll train more no gi for sure and soon I'll participate in no gi competitions.
I started my tournament with to much pain in my throat. This made me realise that for no tournament you can be perfectly prepared, but this made it so much harder. My first match I had to play vs someone I knew was really strong. I fought against him for 4 minutes then he made me tap. From all fighters I hold out the longest against him. I ended with a 2nd place in my pool. This wasn't enought to get to the finals but still I'm very happy with my restult. I won 5 matches out of 6! 2 on points and 3 on a submission. I found out how rewarding it is to go all in, all or nothing to force yourself to get the will to win. I felt this winning feeling again. Back in my judo days I had this feeling and now its back, it feels great. This tournament made me realise I want to play guard games and I need to work on that. Not just guard, I also have to work on my takedown transmissions.
I'm training for a pritty long time now and I start winning against almost every white belt in my dojo. I won from almost all white belt in the Rickson Gracie Cup and this got me thinking. On most competitions I lost my first fight and won the second, third, fourth etc. I know, because of my gilles the la tourette I have a very hard time handling being nervous. Every first match for me is the hardes one because of all these thoughts inside my head. On training I start winning vs blue belts and I won a few matches vs purple belts. Why can't I win this first fight in any competition. I will start to work on the mental aspect of the game from now on.
Before the match even started I was already busy thinking about the opponent I would meet after I win the first fight. I lost the first fight and was sended back home. My game was way to slovenly, there was less controll over my opponent before I went for submissions. I should have waited for my back mount points before I tried to choke him. This kinda cost me the game, it made it much harder for me to get a comeback. Again my open gaurd game went wrong and he passed it twice. Even though I lost... I am very happy with the result. My movements were much better then my last competition. I create opportunities for myself to take positions. For me it was a great loss.
I was extremely nervous for my first exams. I started to shake and sweat. My voice started to stutter and I felt like I had a rock stuck in my trought. My trainer asked me to get calm wich made it even worse. I felt like everyone in that room was watching me and thought: "what a lozer". I didn't pass the test. My trainer asked me how this could happen, why I couldn't pass the test... I started to explain him about Gilles de la Tourette. Tears started to appear in my eyes. I couldn't help it, I got emotional and started to cry while I explained him everything about Tourette. I don't like to use it as an excuse to be different. My trainer understood it very well, he even gave me the opportunity to re do my exam a few days later. This time without all the pressure on me. Just him and me. This time I passed my test and instead of one stripe I got promoted to two stripes. I was happy and thankfull he understood me.
Primal Games had this very special feeling for me. Only two mats to fight on and alot of people being excited about Bjj. Everywhere people were screaming to the fighters on the mat and cheering for the winners. Instead of standing four meters away from the fight you could literaly sit on the mat while watching the fights. The moment my pool started I checked my opponents and saw a few big guys and some smaller but more fat people. One of my opponents realy stood out, he had this professional look and I knew he would be hard to fight. I had to fight the very first fight of my pool. 90 seconds later I won by a triangle. Hopefullly this scared the rest of the fighters. My seconds fight I again won very fast with a triangle. My third fight was against this professional looking man. He was strong in his standing game and a triangle didn't work here. I won on points... but with a broken and exausted body after the fight. My fourth fight was won with a kimura wich brought me in the finals. And again I had to fight this strong guy. He won the finals on points. With a score of 2-0 he won but because it was a double knockout system I had to fight him one more time. This time it was the real final fight. Both of us didn't take to much risks in the standing game. I finaly got this beautifull takedown wich brought me on 2 points. I ended up in a mount position and took the lead with 7-0 points. I thought this gold was mine until he put me in a pritty tight leg lock. I had to defend this for one or two minutes until there were only 20 seconds left on the clock. The last few seconds were filled with another standing game but without any takedown. I won... I was very very happy with my first gold medal. Me and my opponent realy showed the crowd a very nice bjj game.
A week after Primal Games I went to Submission Only. It was my seconds No-Gi tournament and I was realy exited about it. With only three people in my pool I already had the third place. But ofcourse I would do my very best to get this gold again. I knew how my opponent would look like.. I started to talk to him and he seemed to be a realy nice guy from Belgium. I had to fight the first fight. I don't know why, but it feels like my No-Gi opponents standing games are much harder then with a Gi. This is probbably because of my Judo experience wich makes me better with a Gi on. When finaly the takedown was made I got my guard position. After about three minutes of fighting he ended up in my triangle. With alot of force I pulled his head down while bringing my hips up. He tapped.. Lucky enough he won vs the other fighter wich made me number one. I was asked to fight in the open weight class wich I accepted. The 95+ category winner was big... very big. He had this serious look on him with a big chest standing out. His arms were way bigger than mine and even his length was higher then me. He was strong, very strong. His standing game was very hard to compete against. After he had me in his leg lock I almost had to tap. I got out and changed to position to guard position. Again I had my opponent in a triangle. This guy didn't tap as fast as my last few triangles. I pulled his head, put my hips up but even that didn't help. Only force vs force was an option in my oppinion. He was strong but with my position and my power I made him tap. Sad enough after a very very nice battle vs the giant I lost against the -90 weight class opponent. He won on judge dicision.
So I planned my trip to Tokyo to train at Axisbjj. I thought this would be a tough week but it was even harder for me. Those guys had some really good technique... The technique they learned me were a bit more advanced I was used to at my gym. The sparring sessions were a lot shorter so for me it was easy to hold out... until my shoulder dislocated at the first day. This got me on low energy for several days. So, I had to fight on mostly technique only. This was actually great for me. This ment I really had to focus on my technique instead of using my weight and strenght against them. The first few days I had a hard time fighting those guys because I wasn't used to fight against their open guard style. After a few days I finaly found out how to fight against these guys and that was by using my trainer his style against them. Close, compact and alot of pressure on them... keep my opponent on a threat, take position before submission. My defence has become a lot better and my understanding of the game became more clear. It is indead like playing chess. This was maybe one of the most important things I've learned on my trip. I aslo found out that the color of my belt means less then I used to think. Its just a color that shows me how much experience I have. Not just this... for me the color of my opponents belt ment how afraid I should be for him. This changed during my trip. Before my trip I fought different against a blue belt then when I fought a brown belt. Now I will try to put my best effort against all belt levels. My defence skills improved alot but after a few days it was my time to improve on offensive aswell.
After I went to Tokyo my next competition would be Flevo Open. This is where I will shine... I had 4 months of preperation and I've never been this ready before. I just had to take gold back home this time. My last few competitions I was way to busy thinking about everything exept the match itself. This time I would fully focus on my opponent, my movements and my coach. All of the sudden, my trainer himself was about to coach me. Perfect!!! now I could win gold in front of my trainer!! Things could not be more perfect!!! This would be the first time my trainer will see me fighting in a competition. It would be the first time him seeing me fullly passionate in a real bjj match. Then it happened... One of the last training sessions before the competition I got myself injured in my knee... One of my knee-bands got over stretched and made me unable to fight for a few weeks. Ow yesss... I am definitely going to the competition!!! Injured or not I will show my trainer how I perform during a real match!!! And there I was... The first match was against an easy opponent wich I triangled after a few minutes. I was really exited to not lose my first match in front of my trainer.With my knee hurt even more I won my third round on a collar choke from the back position. This round made me tired. My muscles felt empty and my knee sucked all of my energy. The fifth round I lost on points... I was broken, I never felt this empty and my knee was not able to bend for more then a quarter of its normal rotation. I didn't realise if I won this round I would be 2nd place for sure. I just didn't give enough wich made me lose on points. I lost the final for bronze on refere dicision so I ended up forth. 29-09-2016
Yes I was happy with my result on Flevo Open but that was only because of my injury. I should have been 2nd place atleast. From this thought I started to brainstorm about what I want to change in my gameplan. How am I going to keep growing in my BJJ game? First of all I need to train more... I train two times a week now, these trainings are intense so I could use a few less intense training moments aswell. So I started training at a gym with some white belts only... Just to keep it at a low intensity but somewhere I can still train on techniques. My gameplan as it is now lacks armbars in my oppinion. When I see one of my teammates using alot of really tight armbars I would love to do the same. Thats what I'm going to work on. These cross-side armbars. I end up alot in closed guard wich should give me the opportunity to use alot of sweeps for both points and a great mount position. Most of my guard time I spend going for: either a triangle or a kimura. I need to start working on switching these of with some collar-chokes and sweeps to be a bigger threat to my opponent. My goal in open guard should be either closing my guard or stand up so I can go for the takedown again. No more tries on fancy sweeps from open guard. My cross-side could use alot more threathning wich could be created by adding more submissions wich fit my gameplan. Just like my trainer I have to stick to the basic submissions and focus on pressure. But most important of all would be: Enjoy the game more and more then I did before.
My preparations were perfect, I had no injuries and every position is comfortable for me exept bottom open guard against a standing opponent. I used double creatine for several weeks, I had alot of sleep took enough vitamins and my weight was perfect. The first round was me playing my game and finishing him off with a darce choke. The second round I was showing how to dominate an opponent and won after a few submission attempts. I met Daan Hering in the 3rd round. He pulled guard pritty fast. I tried to apply what my trainer tought me against open gaurd players. A purple belt once told me to try to get back up standing when I'm in a unconfortable position, so that's what I did. Immidiatly an other guard pull followed. He sweeped me i sweeped him. I checked out the time several times, switched my mindset to, now or never. 20 seconds left. I tried all i can to pass his guard. 10 seconds left. Another mindset change. Fuck it now i'm going full power but it wasn't enough. I dropped myself down sitting disappointed on the mat. It is over. Everything was perfect exept this position I just can't get a comfortable feeling with. still... my standing game was better then ever before. Even though I lost I got myself something bigger then winning i guess.... I started to care about the competition and I started to feel this passion while competing.
I here to get my trophee this time. I came for the open weight class. I came all by myself just to get things straight this time. My first match went perfect, no energy lost, perfect transitions, perfect submissions. The other opponents didn't look that hard to beat. My second match started strange. A static and tense opponent, I felt that he was nervous and uncontrolled in his movements. He stepped a little to far forward with his right foot wich was enough for me to make my very first footsweep ever in a competition to take him down. He went open guard and tried to armbar me without even any logical position to do this. He was in no position to attack my arm at all. BAM he kicked me in my face, a full front kick straight in the middle of my face. For two seconds I was gone, then I realised I couldn't open my eyes. Everything was black for 10 seconds. My opponent asked me if I was ok and I said, ye ye these things happens. I opened my eyes and stopped holding tight to my nose. Both hands were covered with blood streaming out of my nose. Literally streaming, not just dripping, streaming. I felt an intense pain in both my head and my brain. My opponent came to sit next to me to say he's sorry. I was asked if I could continue fighting on wich I said, yes. After several times my opponent said he's sorry, he came to me, stopped right in front of me and dropped himself to his knees. He bowed for me and said, you have my respect. We continued our fight with another blood streaming nose wich made me have to cancel the fight. I had to go home without any price at all, while I was clearly able to get my gold medal. One of the other opponents invited me to come do some sparring at his gym sometimes. I didn't win any medal today, I realised how beautifull competing is.
Even though my nose was broken I just had to compete today. I have to get atleast one medal this weekend. I had like no energy at all from the start of the competition, I felt exhausted. First opponent was tense but easy to beat with an armbar from guard. My second opponent was a friend of Daan Hering, I knew that fight would be tough and all focussed on points. I beated him on points wich satisfied me alot. I finally started to use some propper open guard play. Third opponent wasn't that hard, I finished him with a triangle to place myself in the finals. Ursus Metten was my final obstacle to the gold medal. Even though he was from my team... Even though my nose was broken and I had less then no energy, I will try to beat him as fast as possible. For the first time I used one of my favorite takedowns in a competition. Pulling my opponent towards me, drop myself down with my leg straight in front of him to take him down. For the first time I made a beautifull sweep straight out of the guide. I grabed his feet and sleeve wich I forgot about in previous competitions. This time I was thinking about open guard play instead of just trying stuff. This perfect sweep impressed both our coach and myself. Some submission attempts failed to result with the 6 minuted being over. I lost on points... but I was sattisfied, really sattisfied. 2nd place for me after a really hard two days of pain and mental challenges.
For this competition I had the worst preperations ever. I had no training the week before the competition and my body felt like it´s made of stone. I did everything to get rid of my sore throat but it wasn´t enough. The only good news was, my best friend was joining me to spectate me during my fights. Now I had to show him some good fights while being sick. My first fight went well with a fast submission. My second fight went very bad. After a score of 2 against 2 I tapped on a triangle. I never tap on a triangle, what was I thinking. I felt so confused why I tapped on a triangle this time... Well... Atleast I learned something that day. You cannot win everything and I should not let myself get depressed because of a loss while being sick for a week.
I am very proud looking back at my first year of competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. With a total of 13 competitions I really showed passions to this sport. After 2 months of training I played my first competition. Alot has changed since that day. I changed both within my Bjj game and outside the sport. Some competitions I participate while being injured and some competitions with a perfect preperation. I fought the National Championships against people with more than a year more experience in Bjj as I have. With a win ratio of 30% I am very satisfied and very proud of myself. Even though sometimes I feel like I should have won more competitions I have to realise I don't even train for 1 and a half year yet. I fought against people competing for over 2 years by now and did a really good job against those people. My goal next year is to get my blue belt and compete at every competition on blue belt level. Hopefully I can join the European Championships a year after I got my blue belt with some chance to get a medal. I now have to work on open guard, escape closed guard, cross side submissions and keeping pressure on my opponent. Sometimes I am to friendly for my opponent wich I want to work on to become less sweet to my opponents. I went to Tokyo to train for 9 days up to 5 hours a day and had a great time with alot of Bjj improvement. I ended up with a broken nose, a over stretched knee band, a cauliflower ear and a permanent shoulder injury wich was all worth it. I can't waith to compete next year !! Thanks to my trainer and my training partners.