Rio Open...

Today I started off the day worried about my weight. I hate having my brain preoccupied about weight instead of technique or strategy! I wish I had worked on my weight sooner. I ate some papaya for breakfast with water and then went to the nearest drug store to weigh myself again. Sure enough my efforts paid off and I was down to 58.35kg (need to be 58.5 kg). But this was still a little too close for comfort. So I drank a little bit more water and got ready to head out to the tournament.

The day before, when I came back from weighing myself, I was still in my gi pants and one of my bunk mates, a tall thin Brazilian girl, asked me in her limited English, if I did Jiu Jitsu. I found out that she was a purple belt and would be competing in the Rio open also! Not knowing how much she weighed, I thought to myself , "Oh great, I am sleeping in the same room with someone I might have to compete against tomorrow!" Thankfully, we figured out that she was in the Pluma division and I am in the Pena. Thank God!

She was super sweet and invited me to go with her and her friend to the tournament, so another concern of mine was solved! Despite the language barrier, we were able to talk like crazy about Jiu Jitsu. I was very happy for her when she ended up placing 2nd in her division!

I've been competing in International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation tournaments since the first USA Mundials (World Championships) tournament in 2007. The Rio open had all the same components of an other IBJJF tourament I'd been to, except it was a lot more "authentic". For instance location was the Tijuca Tennis Club which was a far cry from the upper middle class Pyramid in Long Beach. The floors were dusty and the gym had a very "rough around the edges". There were vendors selling bootleg BJJ videos outside. They even had Acia for sale at the snack stand. To get your t-shirt you had to go across the street and buy a kg of rice or beans. I couldn't understand a word that the announcer said, but I loved how they made my name sound even more exotic over the speakers.

I was very disappointed with my performance today. Cutting 1.5kg in less than 24 hours took a toll on my system. At first I felt good going into my 1st match despite my lack of food and water. Immediately I jumped guard and went into attack mode. I felt as though I was dominating the match until my competitor, Gislene Almeida , passed and landed in a solid side control. It was then that I felt gassed. I've never gassed out quite this bad before. I felt weak and helpless. It wasn't long before she landed a choke and I felt like I was going to pass out. I tapped. I knew I was done and I'd be going home with a 3rd place metal that meant nothing since I got it by default and not skill.

While waiting for my match to be called, Relson's daughter Karina Gracie came up to me and asked if I trained with Relson. She was super excited to see her Dad's patch on my back. She was also very helpful later when she translated that the refs were yelling at me to put my gi back on after my match. Unaware of the fact that I still had a chance, I was told that I would go against Mackenzie Dern in my next match. If I won against her than I'd fight Gislene Almeida again.

I got maybe a 3 minute break before I was called back to go against Mackenzie Dern. It was a good match. I only wish I would of had more time to recover after gassing out in the match prior. We went a good solid 3.5 min before she landed an arm bar on me and it was done.

I wish I could go back in time and do it all again...but would-a, should-a, could-a will get me nada. What's done is done, at least I have tomorrow to do the absolute...time for bed. Night!


  1. Sounds like an awesome experience. Better luck for da future! -Matt M., Austin, TX


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