“Embrace the War, there is no greater feeling than entering battle.”
The 2012 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championships are over, and with it, so is the 2011-2012 competition season. This season has seen many ups and downs, but team Crazy 88 persevered and is still standing. Crazy 88 brought back three medals this year, and plan on getting more at the 2013 World’s.
The week before we left for California everyone from Team Lloyd Irvin that was going to compete met at Camp Springs for a special “Practice”. After a long warm up, Master Lloyd told everyone to sit on the bleachers in the training room. He started talking about the Iowa wrestling mentality and how successful that program became because of it. He told us to get our sparring stuff on, but right before we all scattered to get geared up he said, “But first, 3 time National Wrestling Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist, and Coach of the Iowa State Hawkeyes, Tom Brands!” I was ecstatic to see such a legend in combat sports in person.
For the next three hours Tom Brands gave us motivation and insight into the mindset of an elite competitor. There were many gems of information given out that day but two will stick with me forever: 1.) No separation and 2.)Embrace the War. Coach Brands said that when you are trying to be great at something there must be no separation between your passion and your everyday life. Then I asked Tom Brands how he dealt with the pressure of trying to win everything. He told us, “We are doing what we do because we love it. I have talked to guys that are Special Forces, and see combat on the regular, they love it. There is nowhere else they’d rather be. The same thing with athletes, we want to be on the mat, in the center of everything. Embrace the war, there is no greater feeling than entering battle.” I don’t remember much about the rest of that day, but I took embracing the war to heart. Tom Brands’ visit put us in the right state of mind for the World’s.
A little less than a week later the Crazy 88 crew was in California ready for War. We went to the pyramid with one goal in mind: Smash Everybody! The first day was white and blue belts time to lay it on the line. Tarie Miles, Devon Delbrugge, Eric Desmarais, Matt Rihani, Alfonso Washington, and John Connelly all went into battle and fought valiantly. The highlight of the day belonged to Tarie Miles, who in one of his first tournaments became a World’s medalist taking home the Bronze.
The next day was for women’s blue belts and men’s purple belts. Cathy Tran-Zwanetz, Dave Zwanetz, Jon Delbrugge, Tye Ryan Murphy, Myself, and Kenny Brown were set to do battle. Everyone had tough matches throughout the day especially Kathy, and Dave, who lost very close matches. Jon Delbrugge also had a very close match this year, coming down to one advantage point and in my opinion, a terrible refereeing error. Tye Ryan Murphy had a very important mission this year. As a member of the B-team he was on the same side of the Middleweight Bracket as Keenan “King Cobra” Cornelius. It was up to Tye to close out his page with Keenan and make his day shorter. Tye completed his mission with ease, demolishing his three opponents of the day.
Kenny Brown is our Ultra Heavyweight hammer, but unlike most people in his division he uses smooth technique rather than brute force. He had a great run which had him getting the bronze medal.
This World’s was my fourth, and I had never made it to the medal round. Last year I lost in the round of 16. I trained the hardest I have ever trained in my life. I pushed myself to the limits of what I thought was possible. I worked my game plan and left it all on the mat. I spent the whole tournament reciting to myself “Embrace the War!” This year I finally medaled, taking 3rd in my weight class and 3rd in the open. Our teammate and up-and-coming jiu-jitsu star Keenan Cornelius was the man of the day. Keenan became the first competitor at any belt to get double gold at every Grand Slam tournament: European Open, Pan Ams, Brazilian Nationals, and the World’s.
As an association, Team Lloyd Irvin was 8 points away from taking 3rd in the team standings at World’s this year. This year was groundbreaking for the team. We had a lot of Grand Slam Medalists, more than ever. And we look forward to this upcoming season so that we can win even more.