14 August 2012

Returning to competition

Saturday August 11, 2012 I returned to competing. I don't know how to say it much better than that. The last time I ha competed was at pan ams in 2011, and not long after that I tore my ACL in my left knee had to have surgery, physical therapy and wait a very long time to get back into Bjj. It sucked. I had been looking at possibly competing again but honestly had been afraid and psyched myself out, what of I wasn't really ready, what if I re injured my knee, what If I had just lost it? Finally I gave in and decided to try the UGF tournament here in Washington. I got ready, found out there weren't any female purple belts competing (later I found out one had signed up after I inquired about it) so I decided to try no gi. 3 days before the tournament, I found out there was only one other person in my division, a female named Cindy Hales. Cindy is a black belt, who has competed numerous times in Bjj, and mma. To put it into perspective, she got her black belt in 2006, the year I started training Bjj. I won't lie, i panicked. I seriously debated pulling from the tournament and waiting another few months to compete. Why put myself through that as a first304899_10151170061544314_720269096_n match back? I calmed down said eff it what do I have to lose, stressed for the remaining days leading up to the tournament and prepped the best I could.

Saturday I was again a nervous wreck, I had no clue why I was doing this and could only think about re injuring my knee. So I worked at the tournament trying to keep myself relaxed. I found out there had been another girl in my division, but she decided not to compete. When it got time to compete Cindy shook my hand, and I said thank you for the opportunity, I don't think she understood why until after the match that it wasn't just think you for letting me compete with her, but for the opportunity to learn from an outstanding grappler. The match started and all I did what I had been told to do. Circle, make contact back out, and treat until I found a way to pull guard. Robert my coach, who hates jumping guard, told me to do it. So I did, after that a lot of it is fuzzy, I remember trying to set up an armbar/ sweep, but not being able to get the angle I wanted. I also 426742_10151170066864314_663281745_nremember trying to pass her guard and thinking my hips were too high. A lot of the match is still a blur. I escaped a toe hold and guillotine, also in some awesome moment of muscle memory I pulled deep half. Going against Cindy was A new experience. I had never had an opponent move like her and move with that kind of purpose. I didn't win, in the end she got my back and I couldn't escape. She went for the short choke caught it, and that was it. I don't mind. It was a humbling experience and I'm extremely grateful I got to compete with her. I talked some to Cindy after she overheard something I said about my knee and I told her what had happened. She told me that it was her first time competing in 5 years due to a major amount of injuries (2 ACL tears, herniated discs, and fusing 2 discs in her neck). But when 488206_10151191655755934_795048411_nshe rolled, at least to me, it felt like to her none of those thing mattered or were present in her mind. I again thanked her and told her I appreciated getting my butt kicked by her. Cindy let me know if I Was ever up in Seattle and wanted to roll to let her know.

For me, getting on the mat was the battle. Win or lose the anxiety I had before the tournament was intense and I'm not sure I had ever felt anything like it. But now, I'm not so worried about injury, and actually I look forward to my next competition and seeing how I do. Thank you to my teammates, my friends, and my family who have been so supportive. I love you all and hopefully I can work hard to make all of you proud.

Yes there is video, Cindy's team put them up, and here are the two they posted. I'm in the purple rash guard and braids of course.

from above


from normal eye level


  1. Kaitlin, You did awesome! I'm one of Cindy's students, and she kicks my butt all the time. :) She is one tough opponent! It was a great fight.

    Yes, definitely come in to roll if you're ever in Seattle. Cindy's a great teacher, too!

  2. cliche, but yeah stepping on the mats made you a winner.

  3. Good job. Like someone else mentioned, getting out there is the biggest hurdle.