by Jason Trott
The story starts 2 1/2 yrs ago in Columbus, Ohio. One of my friends said to me at the gym, “Hey why don’t you try jiu jitsu with me?” He was a blue belt under Relson Gracie South Columbus School! I said I would try it, one thing led to another, and the next night I bought a $150 dollar gi from Koral, I was going 2-3 times a week!
Three months later I did my first tournament. It was a NAGA BJJ tournament and I lost my first match on points! I kept training for an additional 2 months then I got a pretty bad ankle injury playing football. I quit going to heal the ankle and to focus on college. I pick the story back up 8 months ago. I went to the Arnold Fitness expo, and I saw the BJJ tournament and the next day I was back training like a mad man, but still only going 2-3 days a week! I asked one of the higher ranking belts what I was doing wrong, why was my progression not going as fast as I wanted. He said, “Jason you’re not rolling enough.” After that I started going 5-6 days a week! I was ready to do a tournament now, but oh no, I hurt my stupid foot again playing that stupid football! I already payed 50 dollars for the tournament too, and to top it off, Relson Gracie was coming to town to do a seminar. I thought, “This sucks!”
I told my instructor Tracy Hopkins that I would be there but I would not participate! He said “no, no, I need you on the mat Jason.” At that moment I had a sneaky feeling something good was going to happen! The day of the seminar, I am getting text messages from my class mates saying that they think I am getting promoted to blue belt! Well it happened! At that time I was a month and a half out from my tournament!
Fast forward that a month and a half, and I am at the 1ST Ohio Brazilian Jiu jitsu and Submission Grappling Championships, in Pickerington, Ohio! The tournament was run well; the turnout was pretty good as well! If I had to guess, I would guess about 75 competitors, ranging from white belt, to brown belt, it was a very nice turn out of belt diversity. I felt the rules were communicated well, and I did not see anyone intentionally break any of the rules! I was rolling in the light weight division of 150-164 pound division; I weighed in at about 163.4 pounds! All the tables were moving fast, well all except mine. We had the purple belt and up division at our table, and I swear there were like 15-20 competitors in that one alone! I thought we would be there all day, but the ring announcer called us to another table, so we would not have to wait any longer. We were waiting for 2 ½ hours to roll! So I was in the 3rd pairing in my division, we had a good amount of position changes, most of them good for him, but I am used to that! Then it happened he mounted me, but I reversed it real quick into his guard, he tried to choke me, but I thwarted that attempt! I got stuck in his guard, and he won on points! I was not nervous the entire time waiting to roll, but as soon as he touched my gi, I got a little nervous, and then the adrenaline kicked in, and about a minute or two into it I felt winded, but I knew I was in good shape. I would roll for about 2 hours on Saturdays and Sundays! After the roll, I felt great to just do it, I have really bad anxiety too, so this was a huge accomplishment for myself! I will be doing another tournament soon too, so when I do it I will write you again.
All in all, I would recommend this tournament for everyone, it was small enough for a beginner to get their feet wet, but big enough for the higher belt classes to get tested!
p.s. I lost to the guy who won my weight division! That made me feel a little better.
Jason Trott is a blue belt and trains under Tracy Hopkins.
This is an installment in our Tournament Review Tuesdays column, where FightWorks Podcast listeners submit reports about Brazilian jiu-jitsu and grappling competitions that happened the weekend prior. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of The FightWorks Podcast. Through the rest of 2009, if you submit a Tournament Review Tuesday piece, you might win an Isami gi!