For the 5th time I have visited the worldchampionship BJJ. I created a fantastic trip to prepare for biggest BJJ Championship. The cities which I crossed during my journey were Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, San Diego and Long Beach, all as known as BJJ hotspots :) The whole year I was looking forward and working for this trip, it would be a summary of all the trips I have made the past few years for the sport.
Getting ready for the Mundials
I tried to organize to go with a bunch of fighters from Holland, but this time the fightcrew were only my new friend AJ and me. I planned the trip around the Brasileiro CBJJ, Brasileiros CBJJE and the Mundials IBJJF. That means in practice: 2,5 week Rio, 2 weeks Sampa and 2,5 weeks California. However, how sweet this sounds for a traveler, I was on a mission.. The mission of kicking ass at the tournaments. The preparation included: training BJJ twice a day, cutting weight and rest..but yes, after the competition i calculated a little time for celebration and recovery. Well, the last word took a new place in my dictionary this time, unfortunately related to another new word: injury. Yes, i've been through many injuries, but this time it was a very bad timing though. I had a lowerback injury which just started about a week for my BJJ trip. I was ANGRY and I caught myself of not appreciating my health and even expected more of my body. I would do anything to get my 'old' back BACK! Lucky me, my sister is a physical therapist ( yes, we have a great balance in our family) and gave me a set of exercises and also knowledge for recovery. But one thing i couldnt control: the FLIGHT. Hmm, this might have been my longest flight ever, both literally and physical. It took me from Amsterdam to Atlanta, from Atlanta to Sao Paulo and from Sao Paulo to Rio, 24 hours total before i would feel any kind of relief. But my sacrifices would be awarded later!
RIO DE JANEIRO
Once I arrived in Rio with Anne Jean, Felipe Costa visited our apartment earlier the day and left a welcome message and gift for us. Thank you Felipe! I met Felipe 5 years ago when I was a white belt at his seminar in Holland. Since then I stayed in touch with felipe but never visited him in Rio. That would change for sure this time! I would meet him later in the week on the beach with his family and bb Michelle Mata but also go to his seminar in San Diego a month later.
Our appartment was located in the center of Copacabana just one block from the beach between Check Mat and Delariva Acedemy. I have been training for a few months in the past with Ricardo Delariva but the last time i was there was in July 2006. There is something about Brasil, and when i dropped by at the delariva acacedemy i remember very clearly what it was. it was that very warm hospitality energy they have! Serious, i didn't visited the gym for 3 years, but the woman of the administration said 'ola yasmin!' They even remembered my name! Also later in the class it felt like a never left brasil at all..
For the morningclasses I spent my time at Check Mat with Ricardo Vieira and his team. Ricardinho also took the time to explain techniques in English which was very kind of him. The competition team contained only topfighters, Iwas one of the few lower belts with my purple belt..I was very proud of my big, strong and careca friend AJ who is a white belt but who trained as a warrior! He received some great complements from Ricardinho and the other fighters. For if you need to know who Ricardo Vieira is watch
It was also lovely to see mestre De la Riva again, an extremely technical and funny man. One of the best questions during my trip was Delariva asking me if i wanted to pass his guard during sparring. I did my best. I don't think it's necessary to explain how the roll was. If you ever consider to master his game, be aware of his legs and compare it with your own legs.., i dont think i ever met somebody with these kind of flexibility from his hips till in the ankles.
Another absolutely great fighter is Felipe Costa. It's amazing to see how this little man (55 kg) fights. He competes in the rooster division which is a small division, and sometimes I think people underestimate how good these small fighters actually are. When they are ranked in the mundials, believe me, they can give bigger blackbelts serious trouble. I also was very impressed after my visit of Brasa's social project in Urca. Felipe, Joao and Michelle are helping blind kids with BJJ. They learn by feeling, imagine! It's interesting that BJJ might be the only martial art which is safe for them to learn, that's how beautiful this sport is! It was great fun to roll with them and being their guest.
Furthermore i visited Joao Carneiro in Barra de Tuijica who is a blackbelt under Gordo. He use to teach in Amsterdam, but since a few months he is back in Rio.
I competed after a week at the Brasileiros. I lost in a short period a few kilo's (which I don't recommend). I didn't sign in for the open class because i just recovered from my lowerback injury and i had another injury in my forearm. Ricardo coached and AJ supported me with my fights which I really appreciated: muito obrigada guys! I lost in the semifinal on an armbar on my already injured arm. It felt as huge lost..losing itself is a lost, but also the consequense of this armbar on my injured elbow. My ego, my mind and my body hurted tremendous, I had to go through an enormous mood swing. Not so pleasant, but no matter what, I had to deal with this 'challenge'. My boyfriend tried to gave me a bit of peace with his email, but it wasn't that easy. I considered not competing in Sao Paulo, but after a lot of icing and anti flammatory I would still compete. It was nice to be in Rio in the Tenis Clube Tuijica. It wasn't packed like it use to be 'back in the days' with the worlds, but the atmosphere was good. And ofcourse, a very high selection of blackbelts competed since this is the biggest Brazilian championship.
After 2,5 week I took the bus to Sao Paulo. In 2007 I trained for 2 months with Marco Barbosa and Murilo Santana and here I was again, back on Barba's Mat. Since the mundials was close I felt that my mind was getting in competion mode, hmm, let me explain: a strong energy which kicked in pretty much every morning before training (it might have been strong coffee on a almost empty stomach though..) which was stuck in my small body, and my mind knew why. It isn't a comfortable feeling, knowing that we (the energy, my body and my mind) had to perform 200% soon. Almost time to show what we got (yes, still the united three). Fortunately, the best thing of training, is while you are doing it, you forget everything what's around you, so training it self was a good solution to manage this force.
Marco Barbosa is one of those fighters who is at another level. This lightweight is well known for his top and compact game trains some of the best fighters from Sao Paulo like Tiago Alves and Augusto Ferrari (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0C81NC2Cu8
), but also Adriano Silva and last but not least yamasaki blackbelt Murilo Santana.
Warriorspirit pur sang and extremely humble! These people really make me happy :)
In the finals of the Brasileiros CBJJE 2 weeks before the Mundials I fought Marcella Thomaz . It would be the third time I would face her. It was kind of a strange match because the ref. made a confusing mistake. see for yourself here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLdZCE0afQA.
I tried a different way of passing and the ref give me points for that BUT once you get points for passing it cant be like i have to start again with passing. Anyway, my armbarred injured arm hurted intens after the fight because my elbowjoint had to suffer from the pressure she put with her shin when she controlled my arm. What can I say, my right arm is being abused big time before Worlds, over and over again. I can't make a grip without having cramps spread through my whole forearm. I would say: 'What is BJJ without a good grip', but my new vision would be for the next coming two weeks: 'a fighter without injuries doesnt excist. Well', I promised myself to take care of the damage after 2 more weeks.
California.. my final destintion! The weekend when the AirFrance plane disapeared i flew from Sampa to LA. Waiting for ages to check in. It happened that the economic class was full, no seat was left for me. But yeee, they solved the problem with number 4c called: businessclas haha. Hmm, almost the whole flight i was thinking, is this for real?? YES, it felt special, a chair which you can transform to a bed, a 3 course meal and all the space you needed. But more happy i would be when i finally hit San Diego and seeing my teacher Cadu after a year. True, it's very sad that he is not the whole year around, but serious, it's so nice to visit him in San Diego. I don't think I could wish more as a BJJfighter: being with my teacher in a big house full of other nice Brazilian BJJfighters with their lovely girlfriends and my teammate Ana, mats, a strong dog to wrestle with in the beautiful city of San Diego. Just a few days left to fix my game before the mundials in this BJJ paradise.
My diet the last two months payed off: 50kg lean. One of the stressfactors i hate before a tournament is making weight in a day before a competition, so I worked hard to cut that one out. My two female teammates won both their division in blue, i was very happy for them, i remembered how it that day felt for me when i won in blue in 2007. The pressure was on. Could I do it again in purple? Unfortunatel the answer is no, I lost to the worldchamp in the semifinals. She was a quicker and I had to fight in my defense, i was a step behind. I had to start with her controlling my back, but I was able to go halfguard from there, but too bad. No sweep.
My only way to truly perform was now in the hands of the open class which was scheduled right after. With the words of my coach cadu "solto bixo'' i entered the open class. I faced a Jennifer Weintz and I think this one of those example where 7 minutes of your life can be 7 remarkable minutes of your life (also a great philosopy topic). Our games where challenged to eachother to open up a good fight. She submitted 1 match before Sofia Amarante, the worldchamp of my weightdivision (who i lost to in the semi's) so this would be a great challenge. And it was. Eventhough i managed to come on top from the half guard, it wasnt the safest position being in her slick spiderguard, but I won. And just the few techniques which I applied in the fight made my day eventhough i would lose to strong Bia in the semi 20 minutes later. And with that in my mind, i know that not giving up after losing and continue for the love of learning and improving of the art is the true core of my passion for BJJ (and few things more ;)).
Ta mais!!! yasmin
Special thanks to my boyfriend Stephen who supported me with his emails, my parents&sister, my trainers Cadu Francis, Mathieu Peters, Remco van Baardewijk and all the BJJ-Dutchies, Fernando Yamasaki, my friend Anne Jean who travelled with me in Brasil, Ana Lowry, Gabi Bermudez, Felipe Costa, team Check Mat, team Dela Riva and team Barbosa:
Dank je wel, I really appreaciate your support!!
Chillin' after the mundials in San Diego with my trainer and friends