jiujitsu fighters at Spainbjjtour 2022 in valencia

My First Brazilian Jiujitsu Competitions 

My first competitions in Brazilian Jiujitsu were amazing. I never predicted that 2022 would be the year I competed in Martial Arts and accepted not only one competition but two! Even though I lost some matches, it was still a great experience and I learnt a lot from it. 

Preparation

I struggle with anxiety and worry, so I was very nervous in the lead-up to the competition. Anxiety can be helpful in preparing for something and getting you ready for it, but it can also be paralyzing and I often panic too much if I don’t feel strong enough to defend myself.  

I train with Matrix Martial Arts and everyone involved is so supportive and encouraging, Professor Steve Newman gave me so much guidance and support, he helped me feel prepared for the competition and gave me tips on how to stay relaxed during my match. You never know what might happen! 

The best way I found to deal with my anxiety was to use the nervous energy as motivation rather than letting it stop me from doing what I want to do (like competing). Instead of feeling scared about what might happen if I didn’t fight hard enough or didn’t defend myself well enough during those five minutes, I focused on giving it my all and just going for it.  

First Comp 

My first competition in October 2022 was with SPAIN BJJ TOUR for the EUROPE CUP BJJ GI & NOGI 2022 held in Valencia. I was excited, but also very scared and nervous that something would go wrong and I would embarrass or hurt myself. I had never been in this environment before as a spectator, let alone competed in one myself. It was an experience like no other! There were five of us competing from Matrix Martial Arts and the strong team spirit made the competition itself such an amazing experience. 

I lost the match but took home a Bronze medal which made it all so worth-while. After the first competition, I was happy with my performance and got my first black eye – I’ve heard battle scars make me really cool! I learnt a lot from my mistakes and saw how much more I could improve by training hard and listening to my Professor. My next competition was on Sunday 18th December and it went better than I could have imagined! 

Second Comp 

The second competition was held in Guadalajara with ASOCIACIÓN ESPAÑOLA DE JIU-JITSU BRASILEÑO for the EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX 2022. This time, I had three fights instead of one which was intense to say the least. Christian joined me with his first competition too and we were ready for war*! 

After a 4.5 hour drive, it is time to fight. Christian is up to fight first and he was much calmer than me, he was focused and did so well (biased opinion warning). He was a dominant fighter and Professor summarised; “It was Christians first ever competition and he did amazing. Dominant performance before getting caught in a submission right near the end. His future is bright.” There is no better feeling than making your Professor and supporting club proud!

For me, I had three matches and I lost the first one by submission. I was ready to fight, but my opponent was very good at attacking and after what felt like a lifetime of fighting off a cross choke, I couldn’t recover my breath and I tapped out. My second match however I won on points, and the third match was a rematch which I lost by submission again. I caught my toes in the Gi at one point and after a few minutes the blood did start to come back…  

In the end, I took home a silver medal for my weight category and Christian took home bronze. The ultimate prize for winning a medal is that you get to be able to wear it around your neck for the rest of your life. The fact that I got silver in this tournament is not as important as what it means to me: that I could do it!  

After 

Since the competitions, I am so inspired to get better at Brazilian Jiujitsu and I want to compete again. This is not just about winning or losing – although the big shiny medals are really nice too – it’s about tackling and overcoming your fears, challenging yourself and enjoying every part of it. It’s important to embrace challenges even though you might be scared or anxious. For me, my anxiety needs to be kept in check and putting myself in anxious situations to overcome it and thrive is such a good feeling.  

Come and have a look at Matrix Martial Arts here and let’s see what you’re made of! 

*Pooping our pants.

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