2013 No Gi Pan Ams

Well that was a whirlwind! I’m going to write about this whole trip in two separate posts.

Part 1: 2013 No Gi Pan Ams

This was my first big tournament as a new blue belt and wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into.

If you read my previous two blog posts, you would know that I have been struggling a lot with anxiety over the last several competitions. It was honestly getting to such a debilitating state where I needed to constantly distract myself in order to keep from hyperventilating.

About a week out from this tournament, I started not even being able to sleep – and hard training on no sleep is NOT a good combo!

Writing out my thoughts in the previous posts really helped a lot. I process things well if I write through them.

The key point that helped in this competition was: remembering how much work I have actually put in – and that I deserve to be competing. The other thing that helped was banishing negative thoughts. Every time a negative thought sneaked into my head, I would shove it out and speak three positives.

The Venue

I felt really good going into my first match! I was a bit sad that I had the by into the semifinals (only 6 in my division!), but figured I could make up for it in the open.

I ended my first match via RNC with a very short time to spare. She tried blitzing me from the start – and man was she strong! I kept her in closed guard because I was concerned she would just smash my open guard – I’m not that confident in my No Gi skills at this point.

She got warned and penalized twice for face palming me – her fingers were up my nose at one point and I ended up with a shiner the next day from that.

I’m going to be working on my omoplata from guard. I had the set up a few times but never went for it. More drilling needed!

That match put me into the finals where I quickly tapped although I’m not entirely sure what happened (my videographer was unable to work my camera). I ended up at the medic corner getting my neck evaluated and iced – along with a recommendation that I abstain from the open. Boo!

All in all, I’m pleased because I handled my nerves well and did not stress out nearly as badly!

On the Podium – my semi-finals opponent didn’t show for her medal ­čśŽ

Making Weight
I’ve got a whole huge essay in my drafts folder on this subject, just haven’t figured out the best time to upload it. So consider this a sneak peek!

Hungry!

For this competition, I got my weight down to the lowest I think it has ever been in my adult life! I ended up weighing in at 135 on the official scale.

Slight spoiler for part 2… But I got some advice that really confirmed what I’ve been feeling (but not wanting to face)… And I’m gonna work my way down to featherweight instead of competing lightweight. The reason mainly being my body frame size – I always feel like a midget when competing.

Coach thinks I could make it down in time for No Gi Pan Ams. He thinks I can do it since I “eat like a fat kid” normally. I can change my division until Oct 26, so I I can get down within 4 lbs by then, I’ll do it. That’s 8 lbs in 3 weeks. Can I do it? Yes. Will it be tough? Probably…

 

 

 

 

Part 2: Lloyd Irvin Mixed Martial Arts Academy – Coming Soon!

The Mental Battle

Before every major tournament, I have my mental battle. I win or lose in my mind every time – before I step into the venue. Here is my open book, mental war I face each time. I don’t think I’m the only one here… If I am, oh well. At least you know I’m human!

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I have straight up, irrational self-doubt. The kind that ignores reality and works to sabotage everything I try to put effort into. It’s one of those “I know better” kind of things – but easier said than done.

I’ve done so much in the very short time that I have been practicing Jiu Jitsu – as a white belt I got up to ranked #1 in my weight division! I took home a second place team award – as a sole competitor! I’ve placed at all but one of the 14-16 competitions I’ve entered in!

Does this make a difference? Nope. Instead of focusing on making excuses for why I “lost”, I make excuses for how I “won”. I just believe that every achievement was a fluke and at any moment people will realize what a poser I am.

Again, I know better…

 

 

I’ve got 4 big tournaments coming up in the next few weeks:
Sept 28 – No Gi Pan Ams
Oct 12 – Chicago Open
Oct 19 -Abu Dhabi Pro Trials
Nov 2,3 – No Gi Worlds

For me, my hardest competitor will be the one inside my head. I always have to fight the “You can’t. You’re a fake. You’re a failure.” I don’t win or lose the battle with my opponent. I win or lose the battle with myself.

I’m flying out on Friday for the No Gi Pan Ams. I’m going to prove the “you can’t” wrong so that, in the future, I can refer back to this point. I’m calling it out now…

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Teaching Jiu Jitsu, and Next Big Goal

I didn’t get too much training in today. We have a fight camp going on for several of my team mates who are fighting next month – and I’m not much help for them I’m afraid. They need someone durable who can make them work hard. I am, however, an excellent time keeper when necessary!

I didn’t take the morning Gi class either… I saw just 4, very large, pretty new, white belts. Told coach “I think I’ll just let the boys play.” He looked, laughed, and agreed. So I just heckled from the sidelines – it’s an important job!

I did roll a bit with two people who showed up at 5. Got the blood flowing and felt better. Odd how my day feels incomplete without choking someone with my foot!

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Coach asked me to teach the 6 pm ladies class and then lock up the gym for him. The position we are working on this week has been side control bottom, so I taught the basic bridge-hip escape-reguard, then an underhook back take. Then we got a little fancy with an inverted triangle from the bottom.

It really feels good that my coach trusts me enough to give me that responsibility! I also love it because I feel like I finally get to give back a bit of what has been poured into me for the last two years!

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Next Goal:
It has been decided that my next big tournament will be the No Gi Pan American Championships. It is on September 28 and is in New York. Thankfully I have an awesome friend who I will get to stay with while I’m there
shameless plug:Visit his website for some amazingly orchestrated musical art!

In preparation for this, I’m going to compete at the IBJJF Chicago Open on August 17 and 18. I will get a chance to compete both in Gi, and No Gi divisions there.

My blue belt goal is to compete at ADCC. It is a major competition held in Abu Dhabi for which you have to win a qualifier at some point during the year. For ladies, they group white and blue belts together in one category, then purple, brown, and black together in another. In order to qualify, I will have to win my category weight division, and also the absolute division (no weight class).

I have a feeling this next year is going to be exciting indeed!

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Off To Worlds!

Well I’m on the plane to L.A. right now. I’ve already had my nap, so now seems a good time to compose something amazing.

I have standby tickets and managed to get the last seat on a non-stop flight. As an added bonus, it’s in business class! Yay leg room!

I’m ready for this. So ready! I’ll be competing on Thursday at about 5:20. Javier will be up at 11:45 Friday morning.

So yea, I’m kinda pumped! And I have 4 dinners planned for Thursday night – no joke, they are mapped out.

That is all I feel like sharing at this time. My next update will likely be results!

Nutrition Nutrition Nutrition

I had an epiphany after the Dallas competition. The last tournament I was in, and actually felt good and energized, was Europe. Since then, at every tournament I have been gassed halfway through my second match. Not winded, just exhausted and weak. I’ve been pushing through all 4 matches out of sheer willpower.

So I sat down to analyze what I did differently for Europe that I have been missing since then. Conclusion: calorie intake the day before.

When preparing for Europe, I spent the 6 months prior doing circuit training, and monitoring my weight. I got on the plane with several pounds to spare – and I was flying Alitalia airlines…

Man those Italians know how to feed you! I had a hot meal/snack every few hours. If I was asleep, I’d wake up with food next to me!

In any case, I had so much fuel in my system that I had plenty of energy for all my matches the next day!

Since Europe, I’m sad to say I have not been paying as close attention to my weight – and have basically been fasting the day before competing in order to make weight. Not so smart eh?

I’m correcting this problem. I’m already down 4 lbs since competing in Dallas. I plan to get onto the plane in two weeks with at least 3 lbs to spare. And I’m gonna EAT!

Right now my diet is consisting of lots of fresh fruit smoothies, kale, legumes, and an awesome protein shake after training. I’ve also added in rice and Ezekiel bread as my primary carb source.

Favorite Smoothie (to date)
2 bananas
1/2 c blueberries
1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 scoop Vega One chocolate protein powder

Prepping for Dallas and Worlds

Well I’m leaving for Dallas on Saturday. I’m making the drive with two of my team mates – we figure it will take between 10 and 12 hours depending on how often we stop.

There are 9 people in my division, so I’ll probably get 3 fights. Feeling good!

Here is a little video with some clips from my competitions. I watch it after I’ve been pounded into a grease spot on the mats – helps re-inflate me!

Worlds is coming up in just a few short weeks and I am psyched! My coach is trying to get sponsors to┬ácover my and 3 of my team mates expenses. I wouldn’t be able to go otherwise! If you’re interested in helping some broke, hard training people, you can shoot him an email at shawnhammonds@hotmail.com !