IBJJF 2014 Pan Ams, Day 1-3

I was very fortunate to have saved up pennies to compete at the IBJJF Pan Ams in Irvine, Ca. Now I’m not Mrs. Moneybags. In order to compete I have to work the events because as of yet I do not have any sponsors (email if interested 🙂 ) to help with travel or registration fees. Nevertheless I had a BALL! I chose to scorekeep because RC is too stressful and you’re on your feet all day. Plus scorekeeping allows more opportunities to network and converse with new people, which is exactly what I did.

One of my favorite people (Valdir) ...he doesn't speak English, I speak no Portuguese, it was fun.

One of my favorite people…he doesn’t speak English, I speak no Portuguese, it was fun.

I had worked previously at Worlds so I was used to the hussle and bussle. However, I did not anticipate being the English speaking minority. I had some difficulties communicating with some of the officials because of a language barrier but we made it work and played some charades along the way. I will definitely add the IBJJF Pan Ams to my list of MUST attend events for work and competition. The competition was superb. I witnessed hundreds (literally) of great matches. The vast majority of them were so close it really emphasized to me how important every last second in a match is. I have so much respect for everyone that competed. However I also witnessed DOZENS of matches with fairly well known athletes where they’d stall for 5 or 6 minutes and then in the last minute finally move for the advantage. YAWN. Those matches were excruciating to watch because it didn’t seem to catch the essence of competing at such a prestigious event. One of the refs came by and commented that if you’re not going to fight then what’s the point of being there. I agree with that point completely.

12452_840035936011740_2129190483_nI competed on Day 2, and I don’t really know what to say about it to be honest.  I’m afraid to say anything as I haven’t watched my match yet and my memory still has gaps so I’m going to say as much as I can with as little of the picture I have. I lost my match 5-2. Had a couple triangle and omoplata attempts but she escaped. Scrambled. Got the fireman’s carry but I should’ve adjusted for the 5’11 legs better. I had to dump her in front and she attacked kimura from there, I escaped but relinquished position to escape. She passed, she won. I had several opportunities to more aggressively impose my game and to finish the match and I was not successful. I was deeply saddened and frustrated and now I’m objectively looking to improve my game. A few quick notes:

  • Dropping to middle weight, I weighed it at the very bottom of medium heavy
  • Always going to try to have someone there to coach and for support.
  • Stick to my guns. For some reason the past few tournaments I’ve strayed significantly from my game. Idk if it’s nerves or panic or what but especially when I’m by myself competing I go all bjj-rogue and afterwards I’m just thinking, “Why didn’t I just go for what I’m good at?”

But no worries, with every loss is a great opportunity for improvement which is what I started yesterday. Thankful for my teammates that have already gotten a jumpstart on cleaning up holes and providing suggestions for problem areas.  One cool thing I noticed about the matches overall is that there was a heavy emphasis on the standup game.  This occurred prominently in the female divisions as well. I’m used to seeing dull “scissor-fests” and a lot of people were working for the throws, leg trips, etc. It was awesome and truly changes the game completely. At that level every advantage and point count.

I met A LOT of cool people and had so much fun. Worth every penny spent and minute on the mat.

Hmmm…is there anything else I’m leaving out… Oh yes. So I thought I was going to witness another Andre Galvao climbing over the barricade incident but it appeared friends and other refs were able to calm him down. I was scoring a match and glanced over and my eyes were literally bulging out of my face. He was in full hulk mode over a match with one of his students. I’d hate to have that man mad at me. Also I love the new system the IBJJF is using to score and organize. The RCs were given a list of matches and their order and it left little to human error apart from checking id’s. The one thing that was a little iffy is that whenever a ref gives a penalty or more then it would automatically compute the opponents advantage or point and if you weren’t well versed with this rule or paying attention then it caused a fuss because you’d give the opponent an additional advantage or point. I had the hardest time with that the first day (ex: My opponent gets two penalties so I automatically get an advantage…3 penalties and I get 2 points, 4 penalties and I believe they’re DQ’d.

I only saw a few DQ but I did get to witness the dreadful “Celebration gone wrong.” After the black belt match at worlds last year in the finals match I thought that EVERYONE knew not to run off the mat in celebration until your hand was raised. Well this guy missed that memo:


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