The Frequency of Fighting

Taekwondo, gold medal, adam meyers, taekwondo academy

Myself and Coach Alan after I won the Victorian Championship last weekend.

Last weekend I fought in two competitions. The first was on Saturday, it was the Grappling Industries Melbourne Tournament. It was my first ever BJJ competition and I wasn’t nervous at all. I have had so many years of competition prep that I didn’t feel any kind of pressure to perform. The problem was that during the match I was calmer than I should have been against inexperienced opponents.

My opponents were more experienced than me at BJJ but not at fighting. When you watch a lower ranked fight in Taekwondo, it is almost complete chaos, no one  is calm, both athletes are kicking like crazy and points are coming up out of nowhere. I forgot that lower ranked fights are crazy. White belt BJJ competitors are very aggressive. Way more aggressive than the higher ranked guys that I’m used to training with. Its more calm when more knowledge is involved. The same mentality applies in Black Belt Taekwondo competitions. I can be calm, pick my points, attack and counter when necessary.

I felt almost surprised when the BJJ guys were attacking me so aggressively. It put me into some bad spots and I felt a little overwhelmed. I fought 5 times in that competition, I won 2 fights, one via arm bar and lost three, one by arm bar, one my rear naked choke and one by points. In every fight I was bum rushed and attacked straight away. I felt like I was being bullied, it felt like the first time I fought in the Senior divisions in Taekwondo. I was 18 and I fought a 29-year-old. Even though I won the match, the strength and maturity advantage was clear.

As I move up the ranks in BJJ the fights will become calmer and more suited to my style. However, I cannot ignore this new weakness I have found in my game. In BJJ I don’t deal well with aggression. I have looked around for wrestling schools and MMA Sparring opportunities so I can adapt to more aggressive opponents when submissions can come so quickly. You can lose a fight in 30 seconds and walk off the mat with no injuries.

On the Sunday I fought in the Victorian Taekwondo Championships. I had a quick 20 minute warm up and was the third fight of the day. My first fight was against a relatively inexperienced, yet strong player from Team Taekwondo that I haven’t fought before. He landed a soft back kick on me at the end of the first round so he was winning 4-1 but in my head I knew that I would regain control at my first chance. In the second and third rounds I controlled the ring, kicked him in the head, landed a back kick of my own and proceeded to play a smart counter game until time ran out and I won on points. I had a bye in the Semi and fought the final against a taller, very experienced player from OTC. OTC is a very competitive club, with a lot of aggressive players. I expected that it wouldn’t be as simple as the first fight.

As the fight starts I tried to figure out his game and in about 30 seconds I had picked his techniques. He was doing a cut kick into the clinch in the hopes to hit a crescent kick from in close due to his height and leg length. So to counter this I jumped over/punched through his cut depending on its height and in the clinch blocked his crescent and popped him on the flank on the other side. This worked about 5 times throughout the fight. Afterwards in the third round there was about 20 seconds left and he got through my block with a crescent, I moved my head out-of-the-way anyway but the points came up. Luckily I was still up 9-4. the clock ran down to about 5 seconds and his onslaught came. I blocked and avoided until time ran out. Winning the Gold Medal at the Vic’s for the 13th time.

After the weekend I have competed in 8 matches this year. Well on my way to my 30 fight target. Only 1 away from matching last years injury plagued 9 fight total. The frequency of fighting is very important when trying to raise your game to a higher level. I can’t wait for the next comp.

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New Routines

This month I have been working out my new routine. I am at a new Taekwondo club this year, I train BJJ more than I did last year and I am training in MMA. For the first time in my career as an athlete I am working 40 hours a week. I know a lot of other athletes have been doing this for a long time so I know it’s possible. What I am trying to find out is if it’s ideal.

I am, if anything, a pragmatist. I will happily eliminate something from my life if it doesn’t suit the end goal. However this philosophy is not always realistic. I have bills. I need to work. I am not fighting professionally yet. I guess at this point I am hoping that next year I will be winning an amount of prize money that would allow me to reduce my hours to 20 or so and then the year after to reduce them further depending on my success.

The more time I can focus on fighting the better. Because at this point I cannot afford to train full time I have to focus on fighting more frequently than the average athlete. Last year I only had 9 matches. This year I want to compete in at least 30 fights. It all starts this weekend.

On Saturday I am fighting the Gi -185lbs and Gi Absolute divisions at the Grappling Industries Melbourne Tournament. It is a round robin format so in my -185lbs division I will have at least 3 fights. The Absolute is single elimination so a minimum of 1. Same goes for Sundays Victorian Taekwondo Championships in which I will be fighting in the -87kg division. If I make the finals of each division by the end of the weekend I will have fought in 11 matches. 2 more than I had all last year.

I am looking forward to the challenge and win or lose I will have had a lot of fights and gained a lot of experience. Don’t take that thinking as a sign of weakness though, when I step into a fight, I step in to win.