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I'm back from a busy weekend, working Scottish Grappling and then going off to York to learn about Social Investment. Not only has it been a busy weekend, it's been a weekend of eating junk food.

The West of Scotland tournament was great. Well organised, went mostly without a hitch, and some great jiu jitsu on display. I learned a thing or two about back control that I can't wait to apply too!

In the run-up to the tournament, and at the tournament, I did a lot of eating out. I've never had to worry about my weight, even with this sort of eating. I just know that if I am planning to compete and if I eat 'sensibly' for a week or so beforehand my weight is always just under Rooster when it needs to be. Cutting weight will be an interesting experiment!

I'm a bit worried about doing the experiment 'for real' in May given that the BJJ British Open is then, so I've tasked myself with doing a mini cut over the next couple of weeks to see how I perform. If I feel OK and see the scale moving down between now and the end of the month then I'll sign up to the British Open even though I'll be 'mid cut' for the real experiment then. If I feel terrible, I'll skip the British this year.

Fully fed, hydrated, and having just ate I'm 3kg over my 'cut target'. Let's see how different that looks first thing in the morning!

The IBJJF London Open would have been today. I’m still pretty devastated about not being able to do it. One of my team mates went, and he had a good day. He should have been in a round robin, but one of his opponents pulled out (Rayron Gracie, whose mother was attacked a few days ago, so it’s completely understandable that he wouldn’t have wanted to travel to the UK to compete) but he still had one other opponent, and he won that match to take Gold. As I’m writing this he’s waiting to do the absolutes.

I wish I could have been there, but I suppose it’s good that I wasn’t competing, because I’m working Scottish Grappling tomorrow. I’m on the train to go there now, and I am pretty tired as it is! I’m still looking for my next target, though, and one of my other team mates reminded me that the UAEJJF does a few tournaments in the UK now, and that I should probably keep an eye on those.

It turns out I’d have a division at UAEJJF on the March 10, so I think I might try and do that. I’ve been in lazy mode for the last few weeks, fooling around in the gym and not really eating sensibly, so it’s important that I get back on track.

Doubly so because one of the guys at the gym is doing a Sports Science degree and wants to track the effects of weight cutting on performance athletes. He needs several people at different weights, and was hoping that I’d be up for being the ‘light person’. I don’t normally need to manipulate my weight to be on point to compete, but he’s asked me if I could try and maintain a loss of 500g a week for a few weeks just ‘for science’.

I’m curious, and I’ll get to have some fancy lab tests done if I agree, so of course I’ve said yes!

I’m going to start tracking my weight this week. I’ve downloaded Libra for my phone, which is a weight tracking scale that helps you track trends rather than freaking out because your weight fluctuates with water retention, hormones, etc. Libra – Weight Manager is a free tool, and it’s really easy to use. I’ll be weighing myself every day, and on Tuesday I’ll start a 500 calorie deficit (I can’t start Sun/Mon because I’m away from home and have no idea what foods will be offered at catering at the tournament or at the SSE course on Monday).

I suspect that following a calorie deficit will impair my performance so I’m going to try to meal plan a little bit. Lots of protein and lots of vegetables. Oats, limited fruits, and cutting down on bread. I give it two weeks and I’ll be screaming for pizza! I will, of course, post any results I’m allowed to share on here.

Since my attempts to find a traditional competition to enter in February have failed rather pathetically and frustratingly, and I still want to make sure that I get as many BJJ competitions in as possible this year, I decided that I'd do anything that cropped up. Fortunately for me, I got wind of an Interclub at Gracie Barra Long Eaton.

I had the chance to do some gi and no-gi matches, and I took everything that was offered. This wasn't a competition with medals, it was a comp where people earned points for their team instead, and there was a team trophy. As the only entrant from Origin BJJ Newcastle I didn't expect to get far up the leaderboard, but I wanted to try and achieve something.

I had two gi matches, one against a blue belt u55kg, one against a blue belt u60kg. I also had a no-gi match against a blue belt super-heavy. I didn't realise at the time, but the Interclub was sub-only rules, and starting from the knees.

My first match was against the u60kg, and it went to a draw. She got my back but couldn't finish, and I eventually escaped but then got stuck in her closed guard for the remainder of the (5 minute) round. I didn't have much rest before facing the 55kg girl, and because we were starting from the knees I wasn't assertive enough at the start of the match. She got me with one of my own favourite chokes from side control!

My third match was no-gi and I accounted for myself a lot better. My opponent was much, much bigger than me. She went for a footlock and I escaped. I went for an armbar and she escaped. It was another draw, but I'm pleased because of the size difference.

A Draw isn't a Win but It's Something

I have a lot to work on. The opponents I faced at this interclub were pretty high quality (one was on the podium at the Euros, one won the Hereford Masters last year), so I'm glad to have represented myself decently well, and it was nice to put some points on the leaderboard.

I know I have a cautious game and I need to be more assertive. I'm looking forward to getting back at it next month!

On the train home I got a message from the organisers of the Adult National Championships. They're rescheduling their event. My options for March now are Kleos, which is UKBJJA Ranked so worth doing just for that, All Stars Europeans, and the Southend Open. Hopefully I'll be able to do two of them, so that I can take some time off in April!

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My plan this year is to compete at least 12 times. Really, an average of one a month but I want some 'in the bank' for the quiet months.

I had planned on doing Manchester BJJ 24/7 on February 17th.

I was going to work Scotland on February 24th, and I hate working a tournament and competing in it as well. It's just too much stress. Also, the day after Scotland I will be in York for an SSE learning day, where I'll be studying some social enterprise stuff for the gym. I don't really want to be doing that much running around AND competing.

Things aren't looking great for February, though. My prospective opponent for Manchester pulled out before I got around to signing up, and I didn't want to go down in age and up two weight categories. That's just a waste of money!

I looked at other tournaments, and discovered that IBJJF London was on February 23rd, and there's someone who is in my category! That would be ideal, except that blue belts have to be IBJJF members to be allowed to compete.

I spoke to my coach about signing up, and he told me to go ahead and try. The problem is, my coach can't sign off IBJJF memberships, it has to be the head of the organisation that does that. In typical BJJ politics, my coach has to speak to his coach, who then has to speak to the head coach. Attempt number one at doing that failed, and I decided that it probably wasn't worth the stress of trying again, and forking out for the membership and late registration fee, and worrying about photo ID, etc. So no IBJJF London Winter Open for me!

I still want to compete in February, though. Unfortunately, my best matches for Scotland have pulled out as well. Good news, however, is that there's an interclub in Long Eaton with some women signed up at some diverse weight categories, so I'll do that just to get the mat time in.

Over the next few weeks I need to get my finances sorted out and get more organised so that I can get my name down for future tournaments a little bit earlier. I'm already stressed and frustrated and we're only really a month into the new year!