This is the second installment of My Journey to the Hawaii Triple Crown. For those that haven't seen the first one from last week please read it here.
I'm giving a breakdown of the lead-up to the tournament being held this Saturday on Oahu.
The real work is done. I feel great. I've managed to stay injury free despite 6 days a week of hard training, running stairs, and traveling to other schools for increased competition. My legs are rubber. I've never been this sore. I'm going to the local stadium almost daily to run the bleachers. My training partner and I go the highest point of the bleachers and run up and back down 25 DAMN TIMES. It's brutal. I feel like I'm going to throw up and I can hardly walk afterward. This is before the regular bjj training which, again, is in tournament mode meaning we end class with the "bull ring" where the competitors stay in while fresh guys rotate in to roll with us. Glad that's over.
This last week I am focusing on technique only. The hard sparring is mostly done (I'll probably have my last "hard rolls" tonight and maybe tomorrow depending on how tonight goes). My coaches are now taking the competitors to the side and pointing out very specific holes in our game. I'm hearing "Brandon, when you pass to side control your positioning is good, but you feel light. Drop those hips; pinch their hips between your elbow and knee tighter; breathe; stay light in your transition, yet heavy in completing it.". My mind is full of these little items that need to be remedied in a mere 5 days.
We don't like to train takedowns too often at our school. The problem is the injuries. We stress safety, technique, and carefulness in every takedown; yet, inevitably, someone gets injured almost every time. The funny thing is, it usually isn't the white belts getting hurt; it's the white belts hurting the higher belts with their lack of control. We've been taken to the side to specifically address takedowns for tournaments where I have to offer a lot of insight as I'm the only person coming from a wrestling background.
I'd be lying if I said I was 100%, but that's the nature of jiu jitsu. The guys that are 100% are the guys that aren't training. Jason Scully, a jiu jitsu brown belt (maybe black by now) that does a lot of instructional videos on YouTube, posted some info online about prepping for tournaments and one thing he mentioned was to not put out there that you're concerned about "this injury" or "that illness". You'll be fighting an uphill battle against yourself and you'll be excusing your loss in your own mind. I'm injured, that's a fact. But my injuries will have NO effect on my competition. If I lose it will be because that was one hell of a bjj blue belt, not because my finger hurts or that bruise on my thigh is sore.
MY DIET/WEIGHT CUT:
I hate cutting weight. It used to be that jiu jitsu was all about competing naturally (i.e. your "walk around" weight) because it was technique that would be the difference maker; a small man was supposed to be able to leverage and maneuver a bigger guy around. That's just not the case anymore. In my opinion, sport jiu jitsu is behind this. The problem is that a strong, lean grappler can go in with the gameplan of "takedown, get my two points, hold that position with everything that I have". Victory. Victory by two points, but still victory. You move on, the other guy does not. Sure, there are escapes from every position, but most are setup through movement by the other person. This changes significantly when the goal by the other guy is to not submit you, but to stall you for a points victory.
The solution is to not be muscled around by larger guys. You do this by being that larger guy in your weight class. If I entered my normal division I would be going against guys cutting from the 190-200 pound range. Guys that have not one ounce of fat and are monster, physical specimens. When they're moving around I can get the sweep consistently. When the goal is to hold me down, there isn't much I can do. Thus, the weight cut.
As I mentioned in the first post, I'm down from 189 pounds competing in the 162 pound class. I managed to easily shed most of the weight through strict diet control. I still have 7 pounds to go. Based on my experience and extensive research I've completed a very safe cut in the most efficient way possible. I've cut weight more times than I care to remember, and I've done so in many different ways. Some are definitely more effective than others.
Now, for the last 7 pounds..... I don't have the luxury of weighing in the day before. This is usually the case in tournaments but sometimes they will allow you to weigh in the night before for a large tournament as some people will already be fighting jet lag if they are flying from the mainland. If I had the day before to weigh in, I would likely maintain a slightly higher weight leading up to the tournament and do a more drastic cut. This is dangerous on same day weigh-ins.
Again, based on research, I will be maintaining this weight until Thursday. I am drinking a gallon of water a day until then. Doing this tricks your body into speeding up how fast it gets rid of excess water in your body. Therefore, when you stop drinking fluids the day before, your body is still in that mode and it clears the fluid out very quickly. This will usually get you a good 4-6 pounds in 24 hours. As of dinner on Thursday I will be done eating and drinking until weigh ins on Saturday morning. I will have the remainder of that gallon of water sitting in my system for part of the day on Friday but it will leave my system and it should be far more than enough to not have to do anything physical to cut the weight. This will give me about 1.5 days to cut the last 5-7 pounds of mostly water. I've done 12 pounds in 24 hours for wrestling so this should be extremely easy.
The morning of the tournament, I fly from Maui to Oahu at 8 a.m. and weigh ins are at 10. The tournament begins at 12 so I will have about 2 hours to get my body to the best condition I can. I will be bringing granola, bananas, and a preworkout supplement called MAX ATP. Yes, it is made by one of those Amway type companies but it's actually very effective and I've used it for a couple years now. Hopefully I can get back to feeling "normal" by the time I step onto the mat.
I'm in full beast mode right now. I'm frustrated, I'm hungry, I'm slightly nervous, but more than anything I just want to get on that mat and make my opponents pay for what I've gone through the past two months. I'm ready to just be checked in and waiting for my first match to start. I want to have those headphones on while I'm warming up to go out there and put it on my opponents. The website lists people that have pre-registered so I have a rough estimate of the number of matches/guys I'll be facing. I've actually rolled with one of them a few times and I should be able to handle that one should he end up in my bracket. Looks like a small turnout so far (based on pre-registration which ended yesterday) so I might get out of there with only two or three matches to take the gold.
I was going to put a paragraph here about how disappointed I'll be if I go in there and lose my first match because of how hard I've worked.....but you know what? I'm not going to lose so that paragraph would be a waste of time. I'm going to go out there and play my game, get the subs, grab my medal and head to Dave & Busters.