There I was, standing there on the third place podium doing my best to hide the embarrassment and humiliation on my face. It has been sometime since I lost a competition. I have not lost since the first year of my blue belt but here, in my second year of having my brown belt, I stood there doing my best to keep my head up and keep the smile on my face.
This past weekend, I competed at the 2017 IBJJF Houston Open. In December, I made the decision to move up to middleweight from lightweight (a 13lb difference) after a successful, albeit accidental, middleweight match in San Antonio. I was only able to gain about 6 pounds of lean muscle, leaving me about 7 pounds light for the division. I felt great. I was in good spirits and all aspects of my life seemed to be nicely balanced and harmonious. Spiritually, mentally and physically, I felt phenomenal and I was ready to take on the challenge ahead. I knew this weekend would be tough but I had no idea just how tough it would be.
During my first match, I got taken down, caught with my pants around my ankles; I was almost completely off-guard. I did my best to recover and even came close to a few submissions throughout the course of the match but I was unable to finish.
My second match was more of the same. I got swept and had my guard passed. I was unable to recover but almost found a couple of submissions but was unable to finish.
As time ran out in both cases, I stood up, immensely disappointed in myself and my performance. I could not believe how outmatched I was. I felt great. Maybe I just felt better than I actually was. Whatever the case, it was a huge blow to whatever ego I still have left. Today, after three days, the losses still burn.
I have been thinking a lot about the loss and I think to myself how easy it would be to go back to lightweight. I know that the right thing for my and my quality of life is to stick to middleweight. I know that I will have to work hard, train harder and hit the weights just a little bit more in order to put on some extra muscle.
I wrote the above a few days before I begin this next section. The last few days have been very challenging but I do not have time to ruminate on it. As a competitor, I do not like to lose, but I realize that wins and losses are all part of the same, never-ending journey. The sun continues to rise and set. What I did not tell people was that the day before my competition, I was invited to compete in the Fight 2 Win Pro 27 here in Austin, Texas. I was excited when I received the news. The tournament takes place March 3rd which leaves me just a little less than three weeks to prepare for it. Immediately, my mindset must shift.
I made the fight announcement official when I was given the green light by the promoter. The outpouring of support I received from my friends and family was enormous. I was incredibly humbled and renewed with such a rejuvenating energy that I had no choice but to switch gears and refocus. As I reflected on my loss this passed weekend, I thought to myself, “The people that matter don’t mind. The people that mind, don’t matter.” I thought about how one competition loss was nothing compared to the love I felt from everyone I share my life with. I am extremely grateful and blessed to know so many good people.
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