Competed in my first ever submission wrestling tournament yesterday, and it’s been almost 13 years since I last stepped onto a wrestling mat. I was in a 200+ division, there were nine total people registered, which is pretty big for a heavyweight division.
I was really nervous prior, a lot more than I remember being back in the day. Part of the problem is that you don’t really remember what it’s like to compete. It’s very different than sparring in practice. This event had a lot of spectators also, the place was packed to standing room–probably at least a thousand people.
I was the first to go in our category and I drew the guy I had picked out of the group to likely be the one who could give me the most problems–he looked like the only natural heavyweight of the bunch. However once we got going it became pretty clear he hadn’t wrestled before. I ended up taking him down 4 times and controlling him on the ground. He was too big to finish any submissions on, and he was in too good shape for me to just coast. I ended up winning 12-0 but was pretty gassed by the end. The highlight was a big fireman’s carry followed by a big roar from the crowd. That was pretty cool.
After that I laid down to get my heartrate down and for some reason I fell asleep. I’m still not sure why that happened. Anyway I woke up to hearing my name called for my next match. The next guy up was also pretty big and solid (not as big as the first guy though) but I could tell as soon as we started wrestling that he also didn’t know what to do on his feet. I started thinking about how I wanted to finish him and decided to hit a high crotch, put him on his back, pass the guard and sit there for a while to clear my head as I had been asleep literally 30 seconds before. I took the shot, dumped him exactly as planned on his back and… got caught in a guillotine in full guard. Damn… Yeah I tapped. Stupid.
So that was really retarded. I don’t really mind losing per se but seriously I could have fought this guy 100 times and beat him 99 of those. Here are some lessons I (re)learned from this: (A) DO NOT FALL ASLEEP RIGHT BEFORE YOU ARE ABOUT TO BE CALLED TO FIGHT. (B) If there is only one possible way someone can beat you, DO NOT PUT YOURSELF IN THAT POSITION. Here is what I should have done: (A) right after the first one, walked around and stayed alert, and (B) realized that the only way I’m going to lose to these guys is getting caught in a guillotine with my neck stupidly sticking out from doing something stupid like shooting a high crotch. Stupid.
Anyway. After that I took my own advice and in my next match, which was for the bronze medal, I warmed up properly and my strategy was to clinch with the guy, throw him, sidemount to arm triangle immediately. The guy I went against for bronze was about my size (the first two were quite a bit bigger) who had made it through by being slick on the ground and submitting one of the bigger guys. I clinched with him, threw him, side mounted, transitioned to full mount, arm triangle, tap. Exactly as intended.
Even though I’ve done all this before a thousand times, I made some seriously stupid mistakes. I think they won’t happen again and will be ramping up the competition.