Sep 16

IBJJF Atlanta Open: Mission Debrief

PinExt IBJJF Atlanta Open: Mission Debrief

Many times, and in many ways, it has been said that in life there will always be things that are outside of your control but what matters is how you choose to respond. The whole Altanta Open experience reinforced this lesson for me.

One of the Cards I Was Dealt

Two weeks ago, I got hit suddenly and unexpectedly with the flu. It knocked me out for one whole day, and I lost count of how many hours I slept.

I will just say that it was a lot, and that might be a understatement.

In two days, the fever had cleared up, but the congestion clung to me, and it just wouldn’t let go. I threw medicine, rest, good wholesome food, and even massive amounts of vitamin C at it, but it was strong.

Even now, I still haven’t destroyed all traces of it , but the benadryl I just took seems to be working. So maybe it’s possible that I got hit with both the flu and allergies at the same time, and I was just trying to address one side of the equation beforehand.

We’ll see.

How I Played the Hand

Right away, let’s say that competing was the only option that I was willing to consider. So the challenge for me was to figure out a way to prepare myself for the Atlanta Open in spite of my condition.

That first week I didn’t roll at all, I dealt with that by thinking about Jiu-jitsu and watching matches as well as instructionals. I tried to visualize myself performing technique over and over again. I also thought about situations that gave me trouble and tried to figure out new solutions.

I actually feel that I got better, but there was also the cardio side of things, eh?

In that area, I increased the work load at home. For example, I added more circuits and kettlebell work. Also in that last week, I went to Primal Skills twice, where Phillip and Master Mike tried to kill me.

Altogether, it was some good work.

Now, one other thing I did was tell me myself over and over again that I am destroyer when I’m sick. The goal was simply reinforce in my own mind the idea that my condition was no liability, and it wasn’t.

How the Game Went Down

The Atlanta Open is the second tournament that I’ve competed at as a brown belt, and I only had one match in my division. It was a match against a guy from Gracie Barra named Gabriel Rial, who I was unfamiliar with. So it was going to be a good experience for me.

In that match, I was able to impose my will. It went like this: Sweep, Pass, Mount, Ezekiel. There is a definite beauty to simplicity.

One thing that I really liked about that match is one of the grips he played in bottom half. I don’t know exactly what he was going for with it, but I saw some possibilities there if I had been a little looser on the shoulder pressure.

After that, I got the call for the open from upper management. It was unexpected, but opportunities are meant to be seized.

I had blown my nose countless times during the day, but I felt good.

The first match was against AJ Agazarm. I went into that match ready to embrace the challenge.

I was not disappointed.

There was almost constant action in that match. Even now, I have some difficulty recalling the exact sequence of events. I also feel that I lost some positions that I shouldn’t have, but it was a unique experience.

I won that match on points, but when I came off the mat I couldn’t breathe. My nose had clogged up, I had a headache, and waves of nausea were starting to hit me.

I’m thankful to the ring coordinator in this situation because he gave me a good amount of time to recover. I was able to go to the bathroom, clear my nose, and do some other stuff that will not be mentioned.

So when I stepped on the mat for the second match against Francisco Iturralde, I was functional. I can honestly say that I lost that match on technique. He played some grips that I was not familiar with, and it put me in the position of thinking during a match.

That’s rarely a good thing, but now I’ll figure them out.

Next on the Agenda

In two weeks, I’ll be heading up north for the No-Gi Pan. I’ve given myself the challenge of dropping down to super heavy for this one. I’ve never cut before, so it will be a learning process.

Given my condition, I am going to have to lose more weight than I had planned to at this point, but I won’t give up. I embrace the challenge, and no matter the outcome, I will be better for it.

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  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px IBJJF Atlanta Open: Mission Debrief
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px IBJJF Atlanta Open: Mission Debrief
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px IBJJF Atlanta Open: Mission Debrief
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px IBJJF Atlanta Open: Mission Debrief
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px IBJJF Atlanta Open: Mission Debrief




  1. Jesse Ingram

    Thanks Ken for sharing your experience w/ us! You are always better off going forward than going backwards! Keep pressing on my friend b/c there is always room at the top!

  2. ze grappler

    good stuff. coming off of sickness and/or injury and the mental questions that result can be draining in and of itself. was there any tension between team traven and team alliance?

  3. Kenneth Brown

    It’s quite possible that there was, but I didn’t see anything. I think the bigger story in the whole team competition at the Atlanta Open is that Team Lloyd Irvin went in with far less competitors and took almost everything at Adult.

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