So as some of you know I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for self defense purposes about 2 years ago. BJJ has become a very important part of my life. Its a great stress reliever,workout and I have met some awesome people. Although not my primary concern over the last few years the thought of competition crossed my mind. Eventually I felt it was necessary to give it a shot. I set my sights on the IBJJF Summer Open in Chicago. A good number of fellow Academy members would be going. My problem was I am still considered a novice as BJJ takes years if not decades to master and I started later in life than the average student. So decisions needed to be made. If I was to compete at my skill level I would need to compete against guys half my age. To compete in my age division I would have to register at a higher level of skill. After talking with our head instructor I followed his advice and went up a skill level to grapple with those close to my age.
I won't go into the match details but suffice to say I was nervous until I got on the mat. I hadn't competed in a grappling event in 36 years. It turned out to be a very positive experience. I took second in my weight/age group as well as second in the open division in my age group. Both of my losses came to the number one ranked competitor in the world. Even in losing I felt I was competitive and found things to work on going forward. The other competitors were gracious and friendly, and my teammates were supportive and encouraging. All and all it was a great experience and I will be competing again in the future.