My experiences at the Atlanta International Open


Last weekend I competed at the Atlanta International Open and I had a blast! I got 2nd in my weight class (meio-pesado) and I got 3rd in the absolute and I couldn’t feel better.  Many people don’t understand because I got 2nd why I’m just as happy if I had won but after 5 matches vs. 4 different girls and only losing to one girl I have a lot to be happy for.

From the moment we arrived at the Georgia World Convention Center chaos ensued.  The female blue belt division wasn’t scheduled until 10:20 and thanks to a “slow starter” 🙂 we were considerably late BUT still got there about 10 till 10, I walked into the convention center and immediately heard “SHAKIA HARRIS” over the intercom system.  I ran over to the bullpen and the ring coordinator (RC) said that I was on right then. No delay, no warm up, no water.  I had to strip down right there, pray that no one would steal my stuff and start my match. The RC came up to me and said, ‘I don’t meant to be rude but you’re up RIGHT NOW.” I was so overwhelmed I thought my heart would just jump right out of my chest.

First match: Me vs. Amanda Patrick –Roberto Traven bjj

The ring coordinator jokingly said, “Well I guess you’re warmed up now.”

Second match: Me vs. Samantha Palie –Alliance

Third match: finals- Me vs. Hope Aiken (Alliance)

Won 2nd match 19-0

Quick Recap: she pulled guard; I went to pass, caught in triangle. Hope wins! I couldn’t help but chuckle after the tap because I immediately thought about a friend’s comment that triangle chokes are my Achilles heel.  Usually I’m a bit torn up after losing a match but I didn’t feel the slightest bit of disappointment. I mean yeah sure it would be great to be #1 but I look at it this way, I had 3 matches tough matches and damn near suffered an anxiety attack before the first one. 

THE OPEN DIVISION

Shannon and I found a nice little corner to hibernate in while we waited until 5pm for our open weight to start.  But of course they called it early AGAIN. So it was rush rush rush all over again.  Fortunately I wasn’t the first match.  However, I quickly began to worry when I realized my first match was against the only person that submitted me at the Chicago open. YIKES!  I had already chalked that experience up to her just simply being better than me and now I was about to volunteer for that (pardon my French) ass-whooping again. Dang.

Luckily I knew exactly what she wanted and that was to be in guard and I knew her crème de la crème is triangles. I was the most nervous before and most happy after this match.

Winning this match is probably why I’m in such a great mood.  Afterwards I could care less what happened in the following matches.  At that point I was having fun.  This hasn’t happened in a long time.  The stress usually ruins the experience so it was nice to finally enjoy myself.  I’m glad I didn’t let insecurity shut me down.  I remember before the match started I had Shannon talk to me for six minutes about brownie batter blizzards from Dairy Queen.

I didn’t realize until today that marks the fifth tournament I’ve done this year. I’ve grown a lot and yes sadly I have the excruciating film to prove it.  I drilled and trained hard these past few months.    I’m finally aggressive HALLELUJAH! I’m really proud of myself & Shannon and feel that we represented our team well.

Shannon came 2nd in the middle weight division.  She won her first match via collar choke and second match lost to points I think.

In the open weight he lost her first match to the girl that she lost to in her weight class.

Congratulations to all my friends that competed as well including but definitely not limited to everyone that competed from Brentwood BJJ, the feisty Kaiyo Austin, and Jessica Dobbs as well! Keep up the good work ladies!!

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