Well, some hard work paid off and I went to Chicago and came back undefeated with no points scored on me. I won my weight division with an omo plata finish and then a match on points. From there, I caught up with my Coach, Tony Passos, on the phone to discuss the matches and prep for the open weight division.
In the open weight division, I won my first three matches on points and effectively got to my sweep positions and my passing felt great. My over/under and double/under passing has really come a long way and is working out very well for me. After my third match in the open division, the table keeper said the division was over as a lot of people had dropped out and I was the champion! Forty minutes later, I get to the podium only for them to tell me that I didn't do the finals match and I came in second and was disqualified. The IBJJF said I had won, then said I came in second in a match i never fought! LOL. It was getting late, but I wanted to do the match, as did the other guy, including his coach. The referees talked and talked and talked and it got later and later and my flight was going to leave without me. I was over it though, but the referee came back and said that the decision would stand and no match. Pretty crummy, but in the grand scheme of things, winning the open weight at Chicago isn't my primary goal, so it's out of mind except for this write up. The Chicago tournament was preparation for the Pan Ams at the end of March and I got the work I needed. Big picture!
I ended up making my flight, but we stayed on the runway for an hour and forty-five minutes due to icing. I was totally cool with them making it safe for us to fly! Plus, I had stopped and got a deep dish pie for the ride back, so I slammed it and went into a food coma. I arrived finally about 1am at night and got home around 1:30am. It was hard to get to sleep because it had been a long day (I flew out that morning) and I was already studying some of my matches to find ways to clear up problems I had. Win or lose, I have to make it a learning experience or I don't grow as a jiu jitsu practictioner. I was far from perfect. Not even remotely close. I won the matches, but I made mistakes. My goal is to be a very good BJJ black belt, not an average one. It's okay to celebrate for a few moments, but it's back to the mats the next day or so.
I made my way back to Sterling, VA on Monday night and it felt really good to be back on our blue mats. Drilling technique, getting some conditioning, and playing some closed guard! I was happy to see everyone and my coach. Without them, I could not have been successful. Wins are made in the training room and everybody is a part of it. From newer white belts to black belts. I feel very confident with our training environment for March and it will be tough. It will be a lot of sacrifice. It will be fun to have my hand raised again and many teammates that are competing. We have several competitors that have a very good chance to stand atop the podium. In my heart of hearts, I know they can do it. We fight with heart, with determination, preparation, and with a plan. Osss