Saturday, 20 October 2012

Swimming with the sharks!!

Today was the final day of the Asian Cup, a three day grapplefest, featuring kids jiu jitsu, no gi and gi competition; today was the gi event and for me my first time in a mixed brown/black belt bracket.

Given that there were no Senior brown belts in the UAE, or enough to warrant its own division, I was to be mixing it with the adults in the -94K bracket; I usually fight in the IBJJF bracket of -88.3K, but due to the absence of this weight group and not fancying cutting weight the minute I landed out here three weeks ago, -94K it was.

First fight was against a three stripe black belt, Eduardo Alexandre Machado, so no pressure, I joked to myself; I admit I was very nervous beforehand, thinking I was going to get torn apart and thrown into a body bag at the end, but that's part and parcel of competition, so I tried to focus on my breathing and stay calm.  Prior to the fight, we were both back stage sat next to each other chatting away, which helped to ease matters and then we were called up to the mat.

Post fight with Eduardo
Once we were called up to fight, all the nerves left me and it's just you and him, man to man; we shook hands and circled about and Eduardo pulled guard first and boy was he strong.  He attacked my arm for an arm bar and I was on survival mode, as I didn't want to be tapped out in a few seconds and made to look a fool.

The fight stayed on the ground and Eduardo carried on attacking and next thing I knew, had the s-mount and side control and was piling on the pressure and I was merely delaying the inevitable, which came by way of a bow and arrow choke, that I knew if defended would lead to an arm bar.  And I was right.  Fair play to Eduardo, although it was in tight, he didn't slap the submission on, so I tried to escape and my hand hovered in the air with a fleeting tap in the air, which the ref took for a submission on my part and mainly for my won safety.  I was trapped.  Good call referee.

Second fight was for the bronze medal, against another black belt, a bearded Vitor Reis, quite a scary looking opponent and on this match I was really really nervous; after we shook hands we circled and Vitor beat me again with the foot in the foot and SHIT this guy was strong.  Freaky strong and I sensed a ten second humiliation was on the cards.

With Vitor Reis
Not quite, but again, it was sheer survival mode once again as Vitor mauled me into mount position and sliding a well muscled forearm into my collar from mount, Vitor switched base and promptly started to choke the living daylights out of me, which led me to tap out once again.

Prior to the event, I gave myself one little goal, that was to try and last at least one minute in my fights and I am pleased to say I lasted ninety seconds in both matches, so at least two positives came from the fights.  In fact, as the old saying goes, you either win or you learn and I learned not to hesitate at the start of a fight; get that foot in the hip FIRST!

With Al Ain team mate Pedro Peres, who took gold in my weight group
After each fight, the guys sat down with me and gave me some tips and pointers and more importantly their respect for me stepping up to fight on the day, as I've only been here not three weeks, so in at the deep end as they say.

Limbs intact, I survived my first competition out here and needless to say it won't be the last event for me out here, far from it.  Swimming with the sharks is mighty dangerous, but swim with them often enough and soon you'll get sharp teeth of your own.


Full results at


Anonymous said...

It's a honor to have you here with us, Carl. Martial Art is a Human Development Tool, and at the end of the day our goal is to build a better world through changing people's life. We are all here to help each other to be better. Ooosss...

TFP said...

Why thank you, I take it this is Eduardo :)Yes, the martial arts are a strong tool for changing people's, for the better :)