Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 Miami Open

Team Fabio Novaes went to the Miami Open this past weekend. We had a blast! Here's a shot of four of Fabio's "Bear Traps" getting ready to head out.

 This was my first IBJJF tournament, and it was definitely a different experience than any other tournament I have been to. First of all, I was impressed by how organized everything was. I was able to see my bracket before I even got to the tournament. They ran a pretty tight ship, too, with ring coordinators keeping things moving for the different divisions. It was a little nerve-wracking to have to weigh in right before I fought, but I like that you actually have to be at the weight that you are supposedly fighting at.

I had only five girls in my division, including me, so I only had 2 fights. But the girls in my division were awesome and I made some new friends! One of them spoke only Portuguese, so I got to try to talk to her with my broken Portuguese. It didn't go well. LOL! But we were at least able to communicate on a basic level...with the aid of a lot of hand gesturing. Some shots from my matches:

I ended up being able to take gold in my division! Woohoo! 
But the thing I am most happy about, personally, is that I was able to keep from defeating myself mentally this time. I worked hard to keep my head in the right place leading up to the tournament. I reminded myself about my strengths and forced myself not to think about all the possible bad things that could happen to me. Instead, I told myself: you do this every day. You have worked hard. You are ready. 

It made a huge difference. I didn't have the horrible adrenaline rush and dump that I have at every other tournament. In fact, I somehow managed to convince myself that I couldn't wait to fight. I got myself excited for my matches and focused on staying calm during both fights. 

I met some new friends at the tournament, including Susanne Strobak all the way from Sweden! She came to Florida for vacation and decided to compete while she was here! She was so nice, the girls from my team wanted to adopt her. We cheered her on while she won the blue belt absolute division. This is her in the blue belt, below. Congrats, Susanne!

Stephanie fought both in her division and  in absolute. She fought well and took third in her division. Congrats, Steph! But in absolute, the girl she was fighting gi choked her face and cracked her nose. It made me really upset because the girl knew she had Stephanie's face, not her neck. To me, that's not Jiu-jitsu. But I know some people disagree. Some people have no problem using pain compliance to win tournaments.In my opinion, using pain compliance is a sign of lack of technique. Just my opinion, though. Stephanie is one tough girl, though! She kept fighting and finished the match even with a broken nose!

The person I am the most proud of, though, is Joyce Shrack. 
 When Joyce started BJJ two years ago, she had a few more personal hurdles to overcome than most people do. For years, she has struggled with social phobia, dealing with panic attacks and severe anxiety in group settings. When she began BJJ, just being under mount was a struggle. No one at the gym expected her to stay.

But she showed us!

Two years later, she faced one of her biggest fears and stepped out on the mat in front of everyone to compete. I couldn't be more proud of her tenacity and bravery. GO JOYCE!!

Another of my friends on the team, Amy, came to compete at her first tournament, but unfortunately, she had no one in her division so she didn't get to fight. She will be back to try again in December at NAGA, though! Congrats to Brian "Beast Mode" Moore, Anthony, Jimmy, Orlando, Alan, Mark, Stephen, "Pinkbelt" Brian, Alberto, Joe, Ray, James, Brian, Mario, Mike and Jeremy!  It is cool to see how everyone moved from ring to ring, cheering and coaching each other. It makes me really proud to be a part of Team Fabio Novaes!!


Aparna said...

Congrats to you and all your teammates on your successes! And more importantly, congratulations on being able to find the right mental place for competition. Did you manage to get any videos of your matches?

As far as pain compliance in BJJ goes, I agree with you, for the most part. In training, I would definitely agree in that it absolutely should not be necessary, and it means that maybe you can't win with just your BJJ. But in tournaments, well...all's fair in love and war, as much as that sucks. However, it certainly doesn't help breed good relations between gyms and people. But kudos to Steph for continuing to fight!!

Gina said...

Congratulations on your gold, Allie, and to everyone who competed! It's so awesome that you have such a supportive team who is there to help each other on and off the mat :-)

slideyfoot said...

Cool - congrats to all of you!

I may have just forgotten, but I didn't realise there was a woman even taller than Stephanie training at the academy.

Jiujitsunista said...

@Slidey - Hahahhaa! Amy is actually only an inch taller than I am. She looks oddly giant in some of the pictures this weekend... I wore chucks all weekend, and she, like I, is a huge fan of heels and she wore them. =) But yes, we are she-beasts. hehe

slideyfoot said...

You're not shebeast: I met her a few weeks ago, here. ;p