• sarahdraht

Masters Worlds 2019

It is very interesting because every single tournament brings a different type of challenge, different type of learning, different type of growing with it.

In this tournament it was all mental.

Now, in my mind I know the concept of competing being mental. This tournament I had the opportunity to understand it on deeper levels.

These last two months we moved the Academy, renovated the Academy, ran in-house tournament and in the midst of all this got pneumonia so I couldn't train. Couldn't get my weight down...The list goes on. I have every excuse to take the easy way out, to potentially not compete at all.

But the thing is, if I'm hoping for best case scenario I'm not ready.

The truth is, there will never be a best case scenario, nothing will ever be perfect.

If I couldn't physically be ready I had to figure out a way to be ready.

What did I have?

My mind.

I knew I had to be strategic.

Choosing every single grip carefully and with purpose.

Being present and sensitive to my opponents weight distribution so I could find the perfect second to move her to execute what I needed to execute.

I didn't play it safe, when I saw opportunity to take something I took it. That was a promise I made to myself this tournament. In the past I would let opportunities pass because I wasn't sure, I would second guess myself, I would stay safe. The harsh realization is playing it safe only goes so far. It certainly robbed me of many gold medals. Not today. Not this time.

Lazer focus.

I hadn't had a real meal in four days, just chicken and fats to get my weight down, even dehydrated myself to get those extra couple pounds down (I hate doing that before competing but had no choice due to the aforementioned obstacles). When I finally weighed in and looked at the scale the relief passed over me that my first battle had passed. It was only me against myself, being disciplined to get this weight down.

I knew I didn't have a lot of time in my division in terms of cardio and strength, I have to be present, focused, and everything had to have a purpose to it. I couldn't waste an ounce of energy.

But what I was really after was the open. After winning my division the second battle came against me in my mind.

After the adrenaline rush drops from my division I have 3 hours to eat, quick nap, coffee and then get back in there to compete again. It is very hard to explain the pure exhaustion that comes after my division. This is why only the hardcores register for the open, and only the savages win.

But I know better. What my mind focuses on are the results I will get.

I get back in the bullpen, pull out my notes from my mental prep and read them. Focus on them. Process them. If I am tired, then the other girls are tired too. This is a tool, this is an opportunity. I need to use them being tired to win.

Because I'm not tired.

I had to keep bringing my mind back to where I needed to be.

In the final of the open division I lost against a beast, to points. She simply had better tools than me, she had better Jiu-Jitsu. I wasn't upset I lost, because I left absolutely everything I had on the mat. I didn't let her mentally beat me, I keep coming back and countering her again and again and again.

The fact that she was stronger doesn't mean anything.

The fact that she had counters to my techniques doesn't mean anything.

Because I am not going to use those as excuses to make the loss okay.

Because that excuse means there is nothing I can do.

Now, I know the puzzles I need to solve. What I need to work through, what I need to do. Because it is not the first time and certainly not the last I will meet a beast in the open division final.

Today I simply did not have the tools.

As I was in the changing room shaking from nerves and tying up my gi pants in my obsessive way to make sure it doesn't come undone in the match, then tying and re-tying my belt 49 times because I can't decide what type of knot I want, which leads me to checking my ID 78 times to make sure I didn't lose it...

I always think to myself, I still think to myself 'why do I do this'.

It's so F***** hard. From the training camp to the competing.

Because, these are my goals.

Because the training is hard, the nutrition is hard, the competing is hard. All of this is incredibly hard. Most of the time I don't even like it.

But I think it's incredibly important to set goals that demand me to become a better version of myself. If my goals don't scare me they aren't big enough. These tournaments still scare me every time.

But if I don't do them.

How will I find out what I am capable of?

If I had given up after my losses at the first couple international tournaments, I wouldn't have accomplished what I did today.

It's about the journey and who we become on the way.

And it has to be hard, because that is where we grow and evolve.

That's where we find out what we are capable of, and rise to the occasion.

Far from easy.

More than worth it.

Everyone knows by this point it takes a team to build wins like this.

My black belts. First people I will have to thank are my black belts in a big way. It's my black belts that have helped me with countless hours of work to create breakthroughs using the breakdowns.

To Jorden who is my big brother and best friend. For our conversation weeks back with pure honesty about why I lose. How mentally I make excuses and get into my own head. How damaging these excuses are and how important it to recognize them right away. The work I was able to do around this realization because it was recognized was a big part as to why I won today. I didn't even realize a couple weeks ago how much I needed that conversation.

For his support and excitement today, being my voice in the matches. He knows the strategy that Superdave and I are working on, and for enforcing it and reminding me of all the details I forget in the heat of the moment. For livestreaming all my matches so everyone important in my life could see them. Thank you for being here for me today.

To Superdave for the strategic work we have been doing in the game plan. It's been over a year now. For always challenging me and adding more to my game to keep me ahead of my opponents. Not in an overwhelming way but in a powerful way. I can't stress how incredibly important it is to study the divisions, and stay one step ahead. We knew exactly what the girls were going to do, and how they were going to do it. Each match wasn't a fluke win, it was months of strategy, hard work, and investment. Today just made it all worth it. We were never strategizing for wins at brown, those came along the way. We are getting ready for black belt. Because I've only just started.

To my team who train with me and give me battles day in and day out so the battles in the tournaments are nothing new.

Jason. My personal trainer and nutritionist who is a blue belt on the mats, but a black belt in what he does. Nothing short of a science. I began kettlebells with the purpose of keeping everything strong to prevent injury. Now through the incredible work that Jason does, I am a completely different version of myself than two years ago. I am shocked at what I can do. It has been one of the best investments I have ever made.

He puts into me as much work as I put into the plan. And I put a lot of f**** work in.

Is it always easy to eat strictly the plans he lays out for me? No.

Is it always easy to lift the weights he puts in front me of? No.

But days like today is what makes it so worth it. This is why I do this.

This is why he does what he does.

To my wonderful boyfriend Corey who does what no one sees. In the last few months I was so busy and so exhausted he not only got all the groceries, but also did all my meal prep for me every single week, helps me wash all my gi's and laundry when I am too tired to do so, and does anything and everything he can to help me succeed. He tells me every day that my job is to 'be a World Champion'. I'm beginning to think he's right (although I would never admit it!)

To BC Kimonos for creating a product that I am proud to wear.I always say thank you for gearing me up with the best armour for battle because it's true. Always passing inspection, never tearing, comfortable and strong. I do turn down sponsorships because I don't believe in the product. I proudly display BC Kimonos because I believe in what they do and why. From the hoodies to the Gi's - I feel when I walk into the tournaments I need to perform to the prestigious quality that this gear is made of.

To Joel Kryczka my physiotherapist. Not only is he phenomenal at what he does through experience and understanding of the human body, but he also trains. Which allows him an even deeper understanding of our athletes, injuries and how to treat them. I don't hesitate to send any of my students or friends to him because I know they will be taken care of.

Yoga for BJJ. Everyone says they need to do yoga. I said it for years. This online program has given me the tools to do it. Every day. From 10 minute videos to 60 minute videos. The crazy part is, I have learnt more from moving through their programs in a year than I have in years of attending yoga studios. In the videos Sebastian explains what we are doing and why, then throws some humour in there to keep it engaging and entertaining. I have also had the opportunity to be a sponsored athlete for them which led to me doing some work for them. The team is just as amazing as anyone would think they are. They stay true to their mission in a big way, to train smart, fight forever.