So I have been rather busy and my mind has been out of place lately. There are a lot of reasons for it and I think you will understand why as you read this blog, but it’s been affecting my writing output and I want to apologize. I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately but I feel good now and I’m ready to finish up my time in with a bang! But before I do all that, lets discuss what I’ve been up to lately!
I have wanting to visit different gyms in the area while I was here and one of the main ones is De La Riva. I was upset because I had thought I wouldn’t get the chance to make it buuuuuut…. Some of the guys at the house were heading there and I decided to tag along! We hopped on the bus to Copacabana and arrived at the legendary De La Riva. It’s funny though…. I go to these world renowned gyms in Rio and they are tiny little rooms in corners of random buildings. They aren’t big and beautiful. There is no glamour. But it better that way for me. It makes it all about jiu jitsu.
Anyways, De La Riva was an amazing guy. Very welcoming and smiley. He remembered all of our names without us having to repeat and he introduced us to his top competitors. I love how nice everybody is. It’s quite hard to describe because I continue to say it about every gym I’ve visited but in reality they have all been THAT nice. I feel like family and a respected guest everywhere I go. Anyways, the training was top notch and I was able to get some good rolls with with upper belts. Here is a picture of me with De La Riva after the session.
Ok so onto what’s been on my mind. I have come to terms with jiu jitsu being more than a hobby for me. I will be investing time and energy to establish a career involved in it in some way. It’s a thought that has been bouncing around my head but now it’s solid and in some ways has added a whole lot of stress to my life. It’s risky and can be very difficult to make money from choosing. I don’t fancy myself a man interested in being rich but I do love security and honestly, there isn’t much in this path. I have been anxious about this. I have been questioning if I am good enough or if I am worthy of pursuing. On top of these fears, I signed up to do a competition in Barra which marks my first large purple belt competition ever and my first competition in Brazil. This brought both excitement and, as usual, more anxiety. I had been in a bad place in my head. My training wasn’t as good because of it and I didn’t feel like my cheery self. Eventually it turned into me coping by shutting off emotions at times.
Well the internal battle had gone on for a few weeks and finally I felt it break the day of my competition. Before we had left, I felt happy and excited. There was nothing to really worry about and I was ready. The tournament was the Copa Alphabarra and several people from the house were competing. Turns out there were 13 people signed up for my division which means there were going to be some killers! I had also made it to a weight class I had never imagined making; middle weight. I weighed 80 kg with a gi on which is about 176 lbs.
My first match was tough. The guy pulled guard early on and my knee slice pass wasn’t scoring because he was quick to turtle. After standing back up, I was able to pull guard and sweep him. From there I slowed down my knee slice and kept the pressure. I won the match 8-0 and was happy with my performance. First match in Brazil a success!
The second went a bit differently. I tried playing knee slice again but the guy I was competing against was a monster. He was able to get underneath and sweep me. I only have half the video because my camera ran out of space but I was eventually triangled. Though I lost, I feel happy with my performance. I was still able to get a nice sweep from side control and worked some other techniques. The guy who beat me subbed everybody in the division and took gold without much struggle. Some of the guys from the house knew who he was and told me he is competitive with black belt competitors so, again, I don’t feel too bad lol. I ended up with the bronze medal somehow even only making it through one round. I don’t think I could have performed better and that’s all I can ask for.
The main thing is I had fun and I learned a ton from the competition. There are certainly some things I need to work on but I also feel confident in my abilities. I don’t question if I’m good enough now and I don’t think I’m out of place. The others from the house performed well too. Some golds and silver medals were brought back. It was a great experience for sure. My mind is at ease and I’m ready to push forward.
Now that I’ve competed here, I feel my trip is coming to it’s final chapters. That was really the last thing I needed to accomplish while I was here. I still have time to focus and train but if the trip were to end now, I would be fully satisfied. I will take some time to tie loose ends and check out new areas in the city. Hopefully I will have some great stories to share in my last few weeks. That’s it for now! OSSSSS!!