Was talking to Dave the other day chatting about the recent Vics. I mentioned that on the day its usually the guys with the most match practice under thier belt that perfom well. There is no replacement for competitive experience. Since then I have given this idea alot of thought. I am convinced that the more competitve situations you experience with scorecards, time keepers, bad referees etc. the more likely you are to execute to your ability on the day. One thing I know that helps me in BJJ tournaments is my years of sport karate training and competing. Its a completely different skill but tournament day is exactly the same. Long waits, warm up, cool down, eyeing the competition, staying focused, playing mind games, anxiety and the like. I noticed with Rick that he never switched off until it was mission accomplished. Now I’m sure cubic inches helps but that mind set to stay foucsed until the very end was there long before he ever stepped onto a grappling mat. Same with Nial, most guys had gone home without competing, complaining of a sore arse from sitting for so long, but Nial stayed focused and got to work when finally called. So I guess the moral of the story is get some matches under your belt, win, lose or draw. Get competitive. And its not always about getting the “W”. I learnt alot from losing the first match of the open on the weekend. I now know I can hang with these guys in a scramble and that has given me confidence going into the next tournament. Watching Angry Al in the final was another example, he competed against a judo player who obviously had some competitive experience. The judo guy threw Al sky high with a firemans carry, but on some level that was enough for him, because Al pounced straight onto this guys back and finished him with a RNC. For the judo man a completed throw is mission accomplished but in BJJ the match is just getting interesting at this point. Mat time is good but match practice is better.