The 2014 Masters World Championships (Athlete Journal 43)
I went 2-1 at the Masters World Championships on Saturday and earned a bronze medal. I can’t say that I’ve ever worked harder, on and off the mat, or been happier to win bronze. My division was incredibly stacked and I was able compete against some of the best guys I’ve ever shared the mat with.
Overall I’m pleased with my performance. I definitely did some things wrong, but I was able to apply some of the transitions and set ups that I have been working on over the last seven weeks or so.
Unfortunately, I almost got submitted in the first minute of my very first match. Right off the bat, I got caught in a super deep triangle while I was passing guard. After somehow fighting that off, my opponent got a hold of my right arm and I thought it was all over. I tried to stand up and get my knee in, but he just grabbed my right leg and pulled me back down, badly twisting my left knee in the process. I was now stuck in an even tighter shoulder lock.
"My opponent had my arm torqued as far as it would possibly go, but I just kept fighting to get my arm free, until finally I was out."
At first, I was sure my competition was going to be over. I have no idea what I was doing. While I was stuck in in that shoulder lock all I could think was, "I can’t train so hard and travel so far to lose in the first sixty seconds of my first match."
Then I heard it: pop, pop, pop, pop. It felt and sounded like my arm was breaking. My opponent had my arm torqued as far as it would possibly go, but I just kept fighting to get my arm free, until finally I was out. Once I got free, I ended up scoring eleven points and winning the hardest match of my life.
After icing my arm and lying down for forty minutes, I decided I would continue. My second match went much better. I got the early takedown, took his back, transitioned to a kimura, and used that to set up the arm bar that finished the match.
I had now reached the semifinals, but this is where my luck would run out. At this point in the day, I was hurting badly. My knee was getting super tight and my arm was swelling up and starting to hurt. But it really didn’t matter, because my opponent in the semifinals could have beaten me even if I was 110%. He was just better than me, and there was nothing that I could do. I lost on points, and my day was over.
"This has been my first year competing as a purple belt and I couldn’t be happier with my evolution as a BJJ practitioner."
Although I am never satisfied losing, getting beaten by a superior opponent is something that I can live with. I prepared as much as I could have and I am happy with my performance. This has been my first year competing as a purple belt and I couldn’t be happier with my evolution as a BJJ practitioner. After competing ten times this past year, it is time to rest and get ready for 2015.
James Kearns is an active Brazilian jiu jitsu competitor and also trains and competes in Olympic weightlifting. Learn more about James at his website, BJJ Barbell Strength, and follow his journals here every week.