Not everyday is a sunny day with birds singing, which is especially true here in Beijing, lol!
I woke up on Sunday with one purpose in mind – to do work in the Absolute division. I had the same breakfast, did the same warm up, and repeated the same breathing exercises I did the day before. The only difference was going to be my strategy. I wanted to pressure more and be more aggressive with my techniques.
The Absolute Division begins once all the divisions are completed, and you have to wait to see who gets invited. I was optimistic I would be accepted, but you never know for sure. After being in the back room for 6 hours, I got the nod that I was in, and my first match would be against Joao Gabriel Rocha, the silver medalist in the heavy weight division.
Match started, and I worked a bit on the clinch game to feel out his wrestling. He gave me a head snap that sent me straight to my knees – man he was strong like an ogre! He got on my back quickly, and left me defending to prevent the hooks. I didn’t want him on my back where he could kill a lot of time, so I made the decision to try and go to half guard. He ended up in the mount, which was fine because there was no points yet. I wanted to pop him up and set up a heel hook, but he was putting good hip pressure to defend. I eventually rolled him over and we scrambled to our feet.
Points then begun, and I went to work for the take down. I saw an opening for a blast double leg and went all-in. As he was back pedaling , he turned over and hit me with an uchi-mata that sent me to my back. I rolled through for the knee bar, but he already scored for the take down. I hung on to his leg for a bit, but I couldn’t pry his legs apart. I then ended up in an inverted half guard.
I felt that his legs were open to attack, but I just didn’t seem to get a good angle on them. I kept hunting for the submission, giving up a couple passes in the process. In the end, I lost 8-0.
Obviously, I did not get the results that I wanted. That means I still have an opportunity to learn. For me, there are several things I need to work on. Mainly, my wrestling has suffered a lot. My timing is not where it should be, my commitment to take downs, and my technique need to be re-tuned. This is a big problem, because my best techniques come from me being on top of my opponents, in which I had no time on top of any of my opponents.
I want my wrestling to be on a world class level so that even an Olympic level wrestler would have a hard time going at it with me. At the moment, I have lost the wrestler edge I used to have in BJJ tournaments. I am going to reclaim that power back, so that no one in their right mind would try to wrestle me and just concede and work from their back. That is the type of dominance I want from my wrestling.
On the BJJ side, I still need to work defending hooks more, as I lost my match to Pablo Popovitch because of it. I hanged out too much on my fours, and I needed to move faster to avoid getting caught there.
I did learn that my conditioning was fantastic. Training smarter and not harder clearly paid off. My diet was also on point, as my weight was completely under control, and energy levels were high. I feel I can be stronger though, and have some more explosiveness as well, so I will have to make adjustments in my training regimen to put some more focus on those areas.
Finally, I need to compete more. Competing once every year is not going to cut it. Even though I feel fine mentally, it is clear that I still have some rust on me. I am going to compete at least 4 times a year. I made the decision that I will be competing in the 2013 No-GI worlds on November 2nd and 3rd. I am not coming back to Miami without a world title (I changed my flight from Beijing to go straight to Los Angeles and will be there from October 23rd until November 4th)!
This will be the beginning of a new era for me. I will be keeping myself in great shape all year round. I want to compete in all the big events and start making a name for myself once again. By the time ADCC 2015 comes around, I want everyone in the world to already know that it will be my time to win it all. I am going to out-wrestle everyone, out hustle them in every scramble, and finish them on the ground.
Finally, I want to wish my friend Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu congratulations on winning the ADCC Absolute division. It couldn’t go to a more deserving champion, and such a humble person. Parabens!
Thank you everyone for your support! I will continue to push myself and make myself a better person for my experiences. I hope that my experiences have useful insights for you so that you can learn from my mistakes and not repeat them.