The Saturday before the tournament, Academia Gorila was having an open mat training. I was hoping Marcin would come, but he was missing in action and not returning messages on Facebook. Not a big deal, as I assumed there would be other people there training and I could get some good rolls in. Przemyslaw was going to go to do some Muay Thai bag work during the same period.
When we arrived at the gym, Przemyslaw introduced to me to a friend of his that did solely “MMA”. The guy seemed pretty nice and asked if I would like to roll, saying that Przemyslaw wanted him to roll with me. I thought it was a bit odd, but went along with it anyways. I heard the ever ominous “we can roll light” and knew what would be coming my way.
The guy was about my height, maybe a few kilos below my weight, but was in pretty good shape. He immediately came after me aggressively, so much for going light. I should also mention that I was wearing the gi and he was in a t-shirt and shorts. I mention this because every opportunity he had he would get grips on my gi. This was a little irritating as it’s pretty much an unspoken rule everywhere else that you don’t grab nogi clothing, and if you’re in nogi attire going against someone in a gi you don’t grab the gi. So I was at a bit of a disadvantage, but i rolled with it anyways.
I knew that it would be a matter of time before my opponent gassed himself out. I could hear his breathing, there was not a good rhythm to it and the speed that he was going at was that of a sprinter. So the plan was to keep the guy as close to me as possible while making him expend as much energy as possible, then move in for the kill. After about 8-9 minutes, his breathing was very labored. Just as I was about to start attacking full on, he said that he needed to go. I don’t know if he really had to go, it felt like a move to save face on his part.
I was able to get some more rolls in with a couple of white and blue belts. I mainly focused on experimenting with arm drags and other aggressive actions on my end. Finally I had enough for the day and grabbed Przemyslaw to let him know I was ready to go.
The rest of the day Przemyslaw and I wandered around to different areas that he wanted to show me. During which he would point out specific war memorials and tell me stories about how things unfolded through the city in different areas during the war. It was a lot of fun.
I had to be up and at the gym pretty early the next morning to hit the tournament, it was about a 2.5 to 3 hour drive outside of Warsaw. I forgot to mention that during this time in Warsaw I developed some sort of an ear infection in my left ear. I lost a lot of the hearing in the ear, only being able to hear very deep sounds and even those were very distorted. That side of my head felt very stuffy, but my sinuses felt fine. Przemyslaw took me to the pharmacy to grab some solution that would maybe help clean the ear out.
Out doing some sight seeing with Przemyslaw