When you go to a major competition, your eye is not just on that medal, but the title the championship win comes with.
After competing at the British Nationals, I stepped my training up in a big way, clocking up a minimum of 10 hours a week of a mix of technical and sparring classes in jiu jitsu. Attended seminars, visited friends at their gyms and kept up with my strength and conditioning training with Will Wayland.
I run my own company, so being my own boss gives me the freedom to be able to train more than in just the evenings. I was working on being a full time athlete. That’s not bad for someone who turned 39 this year.
My next goal was the World Masters IBJJF championships in Las Vegas, USA. I had won this at blue belt in 2014 and was a change and really great to compete with women in my own age bracket.
My diet was good, my weight was on point well before the fight day. I had trained smart throughout the whole time leading up to the competition. I had a few niggles that I had seen to, but nothing major. Everything was good and I was feeling great.
Two days before my competition, I watched my friend and Brown belt from the UK, Leoni win the world masters in her divison. I was buzzing for her because she has worked so hard for it. On the same day there were upsets from those competing from the UK as well. My team mate and training partner Jez also competed on the first day. He lost by a referee decision as he got stuck in someone’s guard, and if they havea strong guard, it’s always difficult to get out of it.
It’s a tough competition and everyone is there to win. But it’s also a huge learning curve for those who don’t win.
My friend Marie won her division on Friday in blue belt, so that was another female World Champion from the UK. The women were doing great so far.
The Saturday came for me to compete and I was extremely nervous. I had been on the whole lead up to the competition. Any mention of the comp and I got a flutter of butterflies in my stomach.
They tell us to be in the bull pen an hour before out fights are meant to start. I got there 45 minutes before and already my name was being called. I didn’t have a chance to have a decent warm up, and I went on 20 minutes early.
My fight was with a lady from Panama. She was tough and had been training for a long time, longer than me, so I knew that I had to work hard. I pulled guard but she couldn’t pass it. I had a deep DLR guard and the pressure from her leg was hurting mine. I have noticed that the strength of women when they get older is more intense than those who are younger.
She tried to pass, but couldn’t, then I went for a couple of sweeps, but didn’t get them. No points were scored and not even advantages were given. The fight ended 0-0 so it went to a referee decision. My two sweep attempts gave me the feeling that I would get it, but the referee gave it to Jennina from Panama.
I was devastated. I left the mat and wanted to cry, but seeing friends in the seating area stopped me. I went to the toilet after and had a good cry there. Looking back at the fight and getting others opinions, they said that I was robbed. I may have been, but a fight should never be left to the decision of the referee. If you want to win convincingly, score the points or win by submission.
After composing myself, waiting around for my division to finish, I saw that Jennina had won. I went over to give her a hug and she had told me that our fight was the hardest. She had left her children in Panama to come to USA to compete. It was a heartbreaking thing to do as her youngest was only 1 year old.
Our fight was the semi final, so I collected my default Bronze medal. The podium, win or lose is always a nice place to be. It was even better when Jennina’s coach came over and promoted her to brown belt as she stood in the World Champion place. Honestly, my ego felt better when I saw that happen. Then I realized that I couldn’t have won as I have a lot more to do with the purple belt wrapped round my waist. I’m really not ready for Brown belt just yet. I don’t even know how to do a knee bar!
I signed up for the open class and kept an eye on the starting times. I was told that it would start at 5pm, so I watched Annie compete in her fights and win the silver medal, and went over to the bull pen at 4.30pm. As I did, I heard “Jolie Boyle, you have been disqualified!”
I was devastated once again, but they reversed it and let me go through and compete. I walked through and straight on the mat, shook the girl’s hand and started the fight. My girl was heavy. She tripped me and got a takedown. After a little scramble, she ended up in my half guard. She went for a Kimura, but nothing was on and my strength training helped me defend well. The referee stopped us, which I though was weird and didn’t reset us, so completely stopped the fight. He knew I didn’t tap, Rachel knew I didn’t tap, the black belts and Robinho Kimura at the side of the mat knew I didn’t tap, but the referee made the decision that I was in danger, so the fight ended prematurely, and so did my run for an absolute worlds medal. I had been Gringo’d.
This wasn’t the kind of result that I wanted to end the day on, so it upset me even more. This wasn’t my day, this wasn’t my year and this wasn’t my time to be at the Worlds. This competition was a massive learning curve for me. So there is always next year!
Thank you to my coach Lee Catling, Jez Lord, my team mates, training partners, strength coach William Wayland and Scramble for the fight wear.