June 3, 2010 – Once the Dust Settled
I spend the remainder of June 3 watching Team Lloyd Irvin’s amazing list of white belt, lighter-weight blue belt, and female competitors. As the divisions were called, and the hands around the sacred arena were raised, it was quite clear that Team Lloyd Irvin (may as well be called Team America) was making a serious mark. The infamous TLI chant reverberated across the sloped ceilings as if was intended by design. Never had I been more proud to be part of our team. The blood, sweat, and tears we all shed in the months before had absolutely paid off, just as our coaches assured us it would.
There is one last thing worth mentioning about June 3, 2010. That was the rush of energy I received from having my first real/hot meal in four weeks. I will never forget the rush of energy that surged through my veins after gorging myself that evening. Galo/Rooster means 126 lbs with a GI on. Thus, my pre-tournament diet (four weeks long) was strict and consisted of approximately five proprietary items. During the two weeks before June 3, never was I full. I embraced the agitation it caused and used the hunger pangs as constant reminder of what I was preparing for. Once the dust settled from my final match, I had my first real bowl of the famed Sambazon Acai (since the US Open), which was followed by another, and another, and one more. That night we all met at a local Long Beach Thai/Japanese restaurant. I believe it was a table for 14. After a large plate of beef pad-Thai, a dozen soft-shell crab sushi rolls, and a plate of mango sticky-rice, the first phase of my Mundial experience had come to a very pleasant gut-busting end. We retreated back to the rooms to rest and prepare for the next days series of events.
June 4, 2010
One might think that once his or her fights are over at the Mundials that the experience would be over as well. However, at least for me, the days I spent in the pyramid after my fight day were equal in value to my time on the mats. The heavier blue-belts were up on the second day, as well as our purple-belts. After an early morning trip to the buffet for another intense feeding we headed back to the venue. As each of our teammates was called, we would move in packs to his or her particular mat/ring. At the slightest positive movement from our teammate, we would bellow the reassuring, and probably patented, team yell. I lost my voice by 1:00 p.m. – more Acai was ingested to soothe my vocal cords.
Mid-way through day two it became abundantly clear just how large of a hurdle our American team had to jump to make an impact on the team score-board. However, time and time again on day two, our teammates hands were raised. The stands began to fill and the holy trinity of BJJ teams began to take their places in the stands (more on this to come in part 4).
Later in the day we came up with a plan whereby each fighter from Crazy 88 Jiu Jitsu preparing for a fight would be assigned an assistant who had fought the day before, to make sure they had everything they needed. It was an honor to be able to assist, in what little way I could, in a teammates’ preparations. SEVEN (7) Lloyd Irvin competitors became World Champions on June 4, 2010 and, at least four others medaled – two of them coming from Crazy 88.
Results aside, everyone fought their hearts out and left everything on those blue and yellow mats. I spent a full day at the venue on day 2, coaching, screaming, yelling, cheering, nail-biting, and laughing. But most importantly, I spent my day absorbing the sights, sounds, styles, and techniques of world class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I have heard time and time again that one fierce tournament can be the equivalent of months of training. What then would a full twenty-four hour immersion into BJJ-land bring me? I was not quite sure at the time, maybe still not 100% clear, but I knew one thing – this day had improved my BJJ and my life immeasurably. Not since Law School have I learned so much in such a short period of time. And with that, we headed out for another celebratory meal with our teammates and friends.