Last Saturday I competed in the New York Open and lost my very first match to a guy who beat me two years ago when we were both blue belts. 


When I saw who I drew in the first round, I got pretty excited about competing against him again because I knew how much I have improved since the last time we met. The match started out great, with me getting a takedown to get the scoring started. Unfortunately, he began to get some space and I went for a ten-finger guillotine. I lost my position, so now it was tied 2-2. Then I got some space again, got to my feet, and like an absolute idiot, went for an outside leg trip, only to get taken down. I don’t know how many times I can go for the same move and pay the price until I learn not to do it. I’ve been getting taken down (sometimes body slammed) from my poor outside trip attempts since 2011. 


After this takedown, the score was 2-4, but somehow I got an advantage in there. I got back up to my feet and hit another takedown. Now it was 4-4 with one advantage. My coaches started yelling that there were only twenty seconds left, so I used every last ounce of strength I had to hold the position. While I was desperately waiting for the time to run out, I ended up getting rolled over. At this point, I still didn’t give up any points and was just trying to hold on until time ran out. Not training for the last four weeks has really hurt my conditioning, and this was extremely obvious now, but I knew that time would run out any second. All I had to do was stall for one or two seconds.


Breaking Muscle Shop


For some reason, the time continued to run and I couldn’t hold my opponent off any longer. I even gave him my arm, hoping that he would go for it, but in the end he basically walked into mount, got four points, and once again beat me by a score of 8-4. The confusion about the time was that the guys coaching me though my match was only five minutes long, but it was really six minutes. When they yelled, “Twenty seconds,” there was really one minute and twenty seconds left. I was so frustrated, disappointed, and tired that shaking the ref’s hand and congratulating my opponent was about all I could do. 


Unfortunately, these things happen and I just have to move on. I definitely take losses too hard, but there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s hard enough leaving my wife and kids for the weekend, but when I go 0-1 and have nothing to show for my time spent away from my family, I feel like I just wasted everyone’s time. 


I did however, have a lot to be excited for when it came to some of my other teammates from Tactical Combat Academy. We brought a seventeen-year-old with us, who competed in the adult white belt division, going 1-1 and looking great in both of his matches. We also had one competitor at 47 years of age win his division and take gold at blue belt. But for me, the best moment of the 2014 NY Open was watching one of my coaches, Bobby Knotts, win both of his matches and get his first IBJJF gold medal as a black belt. Winning your division at black belt is great accomplishment, and seeing that made my weekend.


This week I will reevaluate some things, attempt to get back in the weight room, and start getting ready for the New York Summer Open in July.


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.

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