Going out and competing in the IBJJF No-Gi Worlds was a last-minute decision. I hadn’t competed in no-gi in almost a year, and I only train no-gi once a week. I like gi competition a lot more because you have the ability to grab your opponent, and no-gi feels a lot more like wrestling in that you have to rely more on speed. We initially thought the competition was held in New York so we were planning on driving, but when found out it was in Los Angeles, we were able to find some cheap tickets and decided to go.
I lost in the finals match of my weight class by a takedown in the last couple of seconds. I was up by an advantage towards the end, and if I pulled guard I would’ve won. I felt like I missed my opportunity to bring a world championship to KnuckleUp and The Union Team. In the light absolute division (anyone in lightweight and under) I had three matches and won all of them. I felt like I made the right adjustments and really dominated all three of my opponents. In the finals I beat a guy from 10th Planet (a team that only trains no-gi), which I thought was pretty cool.
Winning didn’t feel like a life-changing moment for me, but I was proud to win a title for my team. I try to treat every tournament the same, no matter how big or prestigious, that way each tournament feels like just another tournament to me. That keeps me from getting overwhelmed and keeps me from putting extra pressure on myself. It allows me to focus on my matches and what I need to do. I’m lucky to have a great team with great instructors and teammates at KnuckleUp.
Master Ricardo Murgel is my main Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor, I have been with him for about eight years and he has always been up to date with new moves and positions. He has really taken me under his wing and become an important person in my life. Quentin Rosenzweig is a BJJ black belt under Master Murgel and is also a great instructor who also teaches a lot of modern techniques and is very technical. I also have great teammates in Sandy Springs and Alpharetta who push me and force me to get better every day. I couldn’t have done it without KnuckleUp and my instructors and teammates who have been there every day, pushing me and making me better.