Last weekend, I competed in the 2013 IBJJF Melbourne International Open. I entered the Women’s Adult Light Featherweight Division. There were 3 girls in the division including myself and I got to take home the Silver Medal.
First battle of the day was making weight! My division was on at 2.10pm but we got to the venue, which was the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre at around 10.30am. And from then, it was a stressful 4 hours of wondering if I would make weight.
This is how paranoid I was about making weight: the day before, I went down to the venue just to check my weight! I found out that there were 2 scales set up, one was the official scales and one was a ‘test’ one that anyone could jump on. The ‘test’ scale was 400g higher than the official scale and I was exactly at the weight limit on the official scale.
So I was still worried. I tried to weigh in on the official scale on the morning of my fight but the officials weren’t letting me near the official scale. One told me that the test scale would give me the exact same reading while another said it was 200g higher. For someone who was right on, it was very worrying. And I had cut back on water and food quite a lot the day before so I wasn’t sure I even had anything left in me to cut in the last few hours.
Turns out I just made it, weighing it at 53.4kg with my gi on (the cut off was 53.5kg!) Phew!
My first fight was against Kayte Hel from Checkmat. I backed off too much at the start and she took me down with an ankle pick. I closed up my guard right away and she stood up to break my guard. I went up with her and nearly got a collar choke on but we were on the side of the mat at the time and the ref stopped the fight to reset us back in the middle. Frustrating but oh well. So we started with Kayte in my guard back on the ground but of course, she wasn’t going to let me have the collar again nor stand up.
She had a real solid base and managed to break my guard into half guard. But I couldn’t retain it for long, she had a really sweet knee slide into side control. It felt like I kept getting my half guard back and she’d knee slide right out of it and her points kept piling up lol.
In the end she won by points, it was something insane like 17 – 2 I think? I got 2 points for a mount sweep but I couldn’t keep up with her repeated guard passes. That knee slide, wow!
My second fight was with Lucy Morris from Maromba, whom I’ve fought before in the AGIG competition. She got me into guard straight away, she was really fast! I managed to pass her guard but it was tough, her leg hooks were really active. I was a good deal heavier than Lucy but she had really good technique, it was hard getting to positions where I could apply a good cross face or flatten her out.
Our fight got reset to the middle half way through and this time, I decided to jump guard in case I get stuck in her guard again.
I managed to work myself to mount and got an ezekiel choke and she tapped so I got to fight in the Finals.
My final fight was once again with Kayte. This time around I didn’t want her in my guard due to her awesome guard passing so I decided I’d try to go for a takedown. I think it was the right strategy but very poor execution on my part. I wasn’t really thinking about how to shoot, I was just focused on shooting right from the start and ended up shooting for her back leg, which allowed her to get onto my back straight away. Damn! Oh well, lesson learnt.
Managed to reverse the position but once again she was in my guard and we started the same game of her passing my guard with her knee slides, lol!
At some point, she had mount and went for an arm bar. I was ready for it and turned in time and drove my elbow down to the ground but accidentally left my other arm hanging so she got an omoplata on. I tried to defend the omoplata which went on for a while but she managed to work her arm in for a collar choke at the same time and finally I felt my shoulder was pretty locked up and tapped.
Of course, I’d have liked to get the Gold for my team and I was a little sad right after the competition. But after thinking about it, I realised I wasn’t actually all that disappointed with how I went. I definitely felt a whole lot more disappointment at the Vics and the GTA.
I think Kayte definitely out-skilled me in every way. After reviewing videos of my fights, I don’t think I was doing anything wrong. Well, no that’s not the right way to say it. Obviously I was doing some things wrong else I would have been able to defend her techniques. Rather, I think I was doing everything right to the best of my current knowledge and skill level.
As an example, at the GTA when I was fighting in the Open Weights, I felt so helpless and that really disappointed me because actually I did know techniques to overcome just being stuck in the position I was. But I didn’t do those techniques because I was too cautious about opening my guard or disengaging.
This time around, I didn’t feel like I didn’t do something that I should have done. I answered each problem with a solution that I knew to the best of my ability at this point in time.
That said, there were still things that I could have done. Not so much in terms of techniques but more mental type things. I could have been a little more aggressive, I could have been a little faster and mentally I could have been more ‘on’.
I got a little gassed towards the end in my third round. I’m guessing it’s a combo of having already fought 2 rounds prior plus not having eaten or drank very much for the past 24 hours.
At the end of the day, my main goal for entering Melbourne Opens was to drop a weight class and prove to myself that I had the discipline, dedication and mental strength to do so. I made weight and I’m really happy about fulfilling my goal.
As for my losses, well I’ve come away with a list of things to work on and learn. I’ve found more holes in my game and its a whole lot easier plugging up holes when you know where they are! 🙂