Woke up bright and early at 6:13am, wide awake and ready to go. I weighed myself one last time, 196lbs even (good, I can drink some water) so I was set. I contemplated trying to sweat my way to the event, but decided against it since I had already cut 11lbs (and this was my first time doing it).
My beautiful and very supportive fiancee and I got in the car and hit the road. But we needed to make one pit stop, since Old Navy had some $2 tank top sail starting at 7am... In my appreciation of her support, of course I made the stop and with her 5 shirt limit fulfilled we ACTUALLY hit the road this time :-)
The drive was very easy and pleasant, only about 2hrs to Morristown from Lancaster, PA. We arrived in time for a very quick check in and weigh in and settled down in the bleachers for the day. After a great National Anthem and opening announcements we started watching the kids matches.
These kids were TOUGH! I can't believe the level of skill displayed by the tiny little warriors out there. I feel so far behind their skill! Very impressive and a testament to their dedication and their schools. Oh, if only someone had put me in a BJJ class at that age, haha!
After an hour or so I went out to the parking lot to warm up a little with some sprints/jogs. Frantically my fiancee came outside, my division was starting early on a different ring! This was great news, no more time to worry, to stress. And since many other events have run so slowly, I was very impressed with the efficiency of this tournament.
I had my first match in Exec: Wht BJJ. Two matches went before mine. I try not to watch my opponent's matches in advance, because if I see a really high skill level I may psyche myself out, conversely if I think someone is less skilled I may become overconfident! Neither are good options, and from my self defense background I try to push myself by adapting and flowing with what IS, instead of what MAY BE.
My opponent was quite a big larger than me (a common theme for me I'm afraid) and WAY more skilled. I felt very clumsy and slow on the mat, although my strength and thankfully my lungs held up. My lack of recent training due to a number of factors REALLY showed on the mat. I was not submitted but lost 12-0 on points. More on that below.
After about an hour I was called to speak to one of the coordinators; my next division (Exec: No-Gi: <199.9lbs) had no other competitors. They moved me up to 200+lbs (dammit I lost that weight for nothing!) but when they called me to my ring I was told that no one was in that division either. I was offered the first place medal, which of course I declined respectfully.
My day ended abruptly with this turn of events! However, I did learn a lot and immediately set upon plans to change my training so I may excel next time around!
Despite my bad match this was a great GQ and I couldn't have asked for a smoother-run event. Matches were held in multiple rings, there was a minimum of waiting and just overall everyone was on their game! I met with Mr. Cimins and he provided the additional prize of a GQ rashguard and shorts, which were great. I am looking forward to future GQ's, and I hope to come back stronger and better than ever!