PROFESSOR TOM AND STAFF AT PMA KNOW HOW TO PREPARE THEIR STUDENTS FOR BJJ TOURNAMENT COMPETITION.
Very early in my BJJ career I made the decision that I wanted to compete in tournaments. It was my innate competitive nature that motivated me to want to test my grappling skills. I remember Professor Tom asking me if I was certain I wanted to compete in BJJ– did I realize the hard work and effort that would be required of me – was I prepared to push myself to my physical and mental limits. Professor Tom at no time pressured me to compete. However, he made it very clear that he would do all he could to get me “BJJ tournament ready”.
At that time, there were very few local BJJ tournaments so I made the decision to make an adventure of my first competition and travel to New York City and compete in one of the very first Grappler’s Quests. My thought was I might as well “go big or not at all”.
PLAN ON COMPETING IN BJJ TOURNAMENTS? PREPARE TO TRAIN HARDER THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE.
Professor Tom lived up to his words of pushing me to my physical and mental limits. I recall sparring classes and private lessons of an intensity level that I had never before experienced. I knew I was being tested – would I be able to handle the tough training or would I break? I did not realize it at the time, but Professor Tom was making sure that my pre-tournament training was going to be tougher than my competition at the actual BJJ tournament.
MY FIRST BJJ TOURNAMENT COMPETITION – GRAPPLERS QUEST IN NEW YORK CITY – A HUMBLING EXPERIENCE.
When it came time to make the trip to NYC, I felt completely prepared being in the best cardio and physical shape of my life. The day of the BJJ tournament I was confident – but yet a little uncertain of what lay ahead of me. When it finally came time for my first match, I viewed my opponent and made one of the biggest mistakes possible. I thought I would have no problem winning. Instead of an easy win I experienced a very humbling finish being on the receiving end of a rear naked choke. I tapped.
VALUABLE LESSON LEARNED FROM MY FIRST BJJ TOURNAMENT
After my match I remember Professor Tom coming up to me and asking if I was OK. I know to his surprise I had a smile on my face. No – I was not smiling at defeat – but I was smiling in terms of what I had learned about BJJ – competing – and more importantly – what I had learned about myself.
PROFESSOR TOM NEVER STOPPED BELIEVING IN ME!!!!
It may have been to my long term advantage that my first tournament match ended as it did. I did not give up nor get discouraged and more importantly Professor Tom did not give up on me. I came back to Houston with a greater determination and will to succeed. My BJJ training continued with a new realization of what I personally needed to do for success. Much credit goes to Professor Tom for continuing to believe in me and to work me very hard. As a result, future BJJ tournaments brought greater success and allowed me to grow not only in my BJJ and grappling skills but also to gain a greater understanding of myself and what I was capable of doing – especially with discovering how to overcome adversity and to LEARN – always LEARN from my experiences.
I am still learning BJJ today.