My Joslin’s Canadian Open Experience

Sunday, November 9th was the Joslin’s tourny. If you were there, you’d have experienced one of Canada’s largest grappling tournaments.

I participated in the 155-169.9 lbs Beginner’s (0-1 years experience) gi division. I’ve been grappling for about 4 months now and have just under 30 classes under my white belt.

This was my first tournament and it was a really eye-opening experience. The thing that really took me by surprise was how my nerves affected me in my first and subsequent fights. After my first fight I felt like I’d been in an all-out war – but in reality I was just too ramped up and was not relaxed (or breathing?) for 5 minutes straight. In class I’ve grappled hard for 15 minutes straight and didn’t feel nearly as exhausted, but it wasn’t my muscular or cardiovascular system, it was my nervous system. Luckily I had my good friend and coach Youssef Dimassi in my corner all day – he helped me a ton with good advice, having been in the same place ayear ago.

I’d never felt this way before in training or any athletic event in my life. There must be something about facing off against an opponent knowing that you have 1 chance to move on or go home.

Plus, the stakes were high for me. Back in April of this year, I was talking about goal setting to a group at a nutrition workshop that I was running and I told everybody (about 25 people) that a goal of mine was to win Joslin’s Canadian Open this year. I didn’t say that I wanted to compete, I said I wanted to win.

This was a pretty big goal, considering I wasn’t training at the time. Even then, I only started to roll in July, and from July to September I went 1-2 times a week to class. I still wasn’t really committed.

But one thing that I’ve learned is that if you want to make a goal happen, just tell a bunch of people that you know, and once you do, that’s instant accountability. Now, I either work towards it, or look like a fool.

Well, I didn’t win. But I came 4th in a field of 52 competitors, and I’m very happy with my performance. I got everything on video, and I can clearly see where I could have improved, but hindsight is 20/20. Here are some highlights:


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