The Battle of H-Town is officially over. I had hoped to keep you updated on my training for the tournament. Then I actually started training. Until now, I didn’t notice my mental training. I apparently systematically eliminate things in my life that aren’t necessary, even Facebook (is that a crime?). The closer I got to the tournament, the more internal I became. The day of the tournament, I hardly spoke to anyone. I just sat and kept my head quiet. I feel guilty about not providing support for my team.
Our instructor Jeff Messina was the first to fight. It was a super fight that was supposed to last ten minutes… Twenty-three seconds in his opponent submitted! So right off the bat, our instructor set the bar pretty high.
My first fight… where do I start… I had a pretty solid game plan… Who was it that said no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy? I had four takedowns in mind, but the girl kept sticking her head under my right arm. I finally realized, “Oh she wants me to choke her! It’s not in the game plan but I can do that!” I set up an anaconda choke, (it was pretty) dropped to my knees and pulled her down with me. Then my brain froze. No points for a take down, but I did get advantage points for the submission attempt. Then she pulled guard on me and got a death grip on my lapels. I felt like I had an alien attached to me! I couldn’t get her off of me. She was able to break my posture down enough to set up for a triangle, which I read. I quickly pushed forward and rolled over her. This broke her guard and grip. Then we scrambled. I got side control and she quickly transitioned to half guard. My game plan was from side control, but it could work from half guard. As planned, I set up an americana. I couldn’t get her flat on her back, so I couldn’t finnish it, but I still got advantage points. She tried to power out of the americana by straightening her arm out. Johnny had taught me a submission for that, a straight-arm lock. I was going for that when she almost swept me. I had to abandon the submission to maintain my top position. Then she lifted her head up as if to say, “Choke me again, please.” So I went for my old standby, the Ezekiel choke. She tapped. Afterward, Jeff asked me, “Wasn’t that how you finished your previous two fights?” All I could say was, “Yeah, I guess I’m a one trick pony.”
The second fight… One of my coaches pulled me aside and said, “What ever you do don’t get stuck in her guard!” I had watched her fight the girl I had just beat. She jumped to guard. I realized that I had never had anybody jump guard on me. So I asked him what I should do in that scenario. He told me and it’s a good thing I can learn on the fly!. Because that is what she did, and I blocked her guard but still ended up in an arm bar. I did some squirrely ninja rolling, and ended up in some weird north south position with my right leg across her waist. At that point she quickly abandoned the arm and backed off. Then she dove into my guard and where unbeknownst to me I had a triangle setup. The referee stopped us at this point… “Don’t move, you guys are off the mat, we have to move you back onto the mat.” We were so small that the ref and one of the coaches literally picked us up in that position and carried us back to the center. They were laughing, my opponent and I were laughing, and come to find out, my guys in the bleachers were laughing. I have the video to prove it.
Back to the triangle. My nemesis submission. I have until this point, never been able to set one up much less finnish one. My legs are just sooo short. This is the point where I realized what a great instructor / coach Jeff Messina is. He kept saying things like. “Don’t let go.” “You’ve got this.” “You can do it.” and scattered in between he was able to give me step by step instructions, to get into a better position and tighter choke. His voice was calm, smooth, and encouraging. At one point, I thought he was right in my ear. Later, I was watching the video and he was actually laying on the mat as close to us as he could get. It took over a minute to get the submission just right. Near the end, my opponent stopped moving, and I was afraid, that she had passed out. I think the referee was too, because he moved in real close at that point. Then I saw her head move, just a little, and then her right hand came up to my left knee and tapped three times. First Place for me. My BJJ record is now 4 -0, still undefeated.
So, I’m a one trick pony no more, and I conquered my nemesis the no longer dreaded triangle. After the fight, one of the guys pulled me aside and said, “Jodi, you just beat the girl who always beats everybody else.” Personally, I think my coach Jeff, just beat the girl who always beats everybody else. He’s that good of a coach, and I’m fortunate to train at Revolution with him and the other guys. All of my coaches and training partners at the gym were very supportive and helped me to train for this tournament. I would like to take this opportunity to tell each and every one of them thank you.