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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.

As always, thank you for reading. If you have any feedback, please use the contact form below. Also, if you have not already, please sign up for the mailing list. I will be sending much more personal posts via email and also, I have since started writing for Jiu-jitsu magazine and am taking requests for columns. If you have anything you would like to read about, please comment below.

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