What better way to spend Valentines day, than competing at a high level and prestigeous tournament.
The tournament was at the Westcroft Leisure Centre in Sutton, Surrey. It was the British leg of the Abu Dhabi pro national trials. Each event had divisions, then an absolute. The big prize came when the competitior won the open class division, and a ticket to Abu Dhabi to compete in the Worlds in April.
The last time I competed at this event was 3 years ago when it was at the Dartford Judo centre. It was my first blue belt competition, and I didn't expect much. It was just another competition, and again this year it was pretty much the same, but this year I competed at purple belt, and would probably be the oldest woman on the mats.
Every competition is experience, and this was just another one of those. I was impressed at the number of purple belt women competing. There were 9 of us in total over 3 weight divisions. It was great to see women from other countries coming to compete, so it makes a change from the regular faces we see at IBJJF or local competitions.
In the first round I was in the bracket with Nina Navid, my friend from Roger Gracie in London. As soon as I saw Nina at the venue, she gave me a huge hug, and then we went off to get in our zone ready to compete. I had woke up that morning feeling like I had a hang over and wanting to sleep more, but there wasn't enough time, and I had to find the energy through my coffee and bee pollen.
The atmosphere in the venue was very intense. There was a lot at stake and the competitors were so serious. Competitions are fun and the atmosphere is buzzing with excitement. With money and a big ticket up for grabs, no one was doing much smiling. There were only around 100 competitiors, and a lot of regular faces too.
My name was called to fight Nina first. In IBJJF rules, if one has a blue gi and the other a white Gi, the blue Gi competitor becomes the coloured side, and they over rule the black Gi competitors too. In UAEBJJ, the right side of the Refferee wears the red belt, and the left is plain. I wore the red belt at first.
We started our match, and through sparring with Nina, I know that she's very strong. So am I usually, but I had no power. With a minute to go until the end of the match, Nina was up on points and I made a mistake and couldn't rectify it. I lost by arm bar.
I was a little upset, but not too bothered as I didn't feel great, and felt a bit worse after the match.
My next fight was with a Hungarian lady, in what seemed like a few minutes later. Again I made a mistake and I got choked. I had no energy and strength in me to get out of the mistake I made.
As i walked off the mat, I decided then and there that there was no point in going any further. I took my default bronze medal, and went home. Chasing something when you aren't feeling great is only going to cause more upset and disapointment.
My arms felt burnt out, my hands were shaking for at least an hour after the matches and my head was still fuzzy. I don't believe in excuses, but something triggered this off in me and it hasn't been the first time.
Looking back on the run up to the competition, I had a really busy week at work, I got a stomach ache from drinking a smoothie laced with Chia seeds (which I'm allergic to) and brought be out in hot sweats, and two days after the competition I got my period.
The only good thing about this competition is that I went back to training and had the feeling I get after all competitions, win or lose, was that I felt better than I was before, and that's what it's all about.