This weekend was a bit emotional for me. Two things I felt were out of my grasp came to me. I won a match at a tournament due to my own actions, and I was promoted to purple!

I'm a purple belt now!

I’m a purple belt now! Diego Bispo on the left, and my brown belt coach Brandon on the right.

MY TOURNAMENT

I was at Naga this weekend in Virginia. I signed up for one category: older female blue belts between 139.9 – 159.8 lbs.

I had prepared so hard for this tournament. Last year, I was a fairly lazy grappler. I’d MAYBE show up to two classes per week, I’d pick easy or new partners, and I’d just have fun. After I decided to sign up, I set goals. I developed a game plan. I started getting very selfish in choosing my partners. I put in the time and effort.

That last number should be 11, not 10.

That last number should be 11, not 10.

I did my best to go to every class at my gym, and in June, I made it a point to drive all the way to Virginia Beach to train. My regular gym – only 15 minutes away. VB – between 45 minutes and 2 hours, depending on traffic. The two weeks leading up to the tournament – I trained in VB 5 times. I was a teeeeeensy bit exhausted, but I was determined.

My official weight was 154. I had one match. I was a few years older and about 15 lbs heavier. Our match was 4 minutes. (I’m the one in black)

https://youtu.be/oLkgbh2cy9Y

I felt myself get put in the cross collar choke. I’ve tapped to that before in a tournament, and I had a horrible flashback, but I decided NO! I held on and she let go. I won! Then I cried like my cat died.

A very long wait, and an emotional end - I won!

A very long wait, and an emotional end – I won! That “stunned grief” look is my victory face.

It was the first time I’d literally had someone in my corner. No one had really pushed me in this way before – to sign up for a competition, to work for it, and then sit in my corner and watch me and help me. It was the first time I won of my own accord. It was the first time I was emotionally wrapped up in the outcome. It was a huge emotional relief afterward.

MY PROMOTION

Our team promotions were the following day. I wondered if I was getting promoted. I didn’t want to want it too hard in case it didn’t happen, and I also knew that if it didn’t happen that day, it would be another 2 years until it did happen, so I was hoping.

“This person has been training for like 12 years, and she didn’t care about competing, she just wanted to make friends.” My instructor introduced me that way. I knew it was me. He said how proud he was of me – he said he got me to sign up, and he didn’t care how I did – win or lose, but I won and he was so proud. Then he pulled out the purple belt.

My purple belt promotion! July 2, 2017.

My purple belt promotion! July 2, 2017.

I started doing jiu jitsu in June 2010. I was a white belt one year, and a blue belt for 6 years. I feel like I’ve clawed and scratched my way to where I am through really hard work, not innate ability. I’m really proud to have my purple belt be connected with Diego – he is such a caring and wonderful coach, and exactly what I needed when I needed it. Heck, I’m tearing up writing this.

THE FUTURE

This is my last month in Virginia. We are moving to Colorado Springs. I’m going to go back to school to become a respiratory therapist. This means that right now it’s uncertain where I’ll train and how often. I’ve never walked into a new gym as a purple belt, so I’m also excited and nervous about that.

This has been a very emotional month so far. Thank you for sharing my journey!

Jiu Jiu’s Question: What is something exciting and emotional that’s happened to you recently? Please share an accomplishment of your own as well! Let’s all celebrate together! Bonus question: if you are in Colorado (Colorado Springs or Denver), let me know where you train!