by Kylie Belcher (@tinymma)
March 2, 2019
The first time I stepped on the mat at my Jiu Jitsu academy, I fell hopelessly and irrevocably in love with the sport. Two plus years after beginning my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey, I finally stepped on the mat as a competitor for the very first time. In my first competition, I was unsure what to expect, or how to feel.
I have never had a day with so many ups and downs. It was terrifying and exhilarating and everything I had dreamed that it would be and more. Warming up did little to calm my nerves. I tried to think about my game and how I imagined my fights going, visualizing and focusing on what I needed to do. This only managed to stress me out further.
Before my first fight, I was terrified. Standing by my mat, I had convinced myself that I couldn’t do it. Thankfully, I didn’t have much time to dwell on the fact that I was utterly petrified. My name was called and I stepped on the mat for my first match.
Stepping onto the mat for the first time felt surreal. The nerves from before were gone, I just felt calm. I could only focus on the task at hand, on listening to my coaches and executing my game. I won my first match by submission, and the feeling was indescribable! My day was not all sunshine and rainbows though. I lost my second fight miserably. After that, I rallied back to win in my third fight before losing my last two of the tournament.
It was a day of adversity, a day that challenged me physically and mentally, a day that showed me what I was made of.
I was standing on the podium and I thought to myself about my two-year journey. All of the blood, sweat and tears that had led up to this moment. I thought about my amazing teammates and coaches, people who have become my family. I thought about how blessed I was to share this experience with people who meant so much to me. At the end of the day, I couldn’t have done it without them or their support. This journey has been hard, and this was the hardest day, but by far the most fulfilling day.
I cannot wait to see where I go from here.