Patrick James - silver Medalist
Debut as a Black Belt at the European Championship Gi 2017
Back here in Lisbon once again but this time as a black belt, feeling extremely anxious and nervous, but ready for the challenge ahead. My preparation was not as thorough as I would have liked but I knew I would give it my all.
My first fight was against against a well established black belt from the Unites States, who had been at black belt level for the last four years. I started, as I always do, getting a feel for my opponent who went to ground straight away, I pounced into 'half guard' but then my opponent had a 'lapel choke' on me, I took a deep breath and gathered myself. After a minute I got my head out and maneuvered into 'side control' but the referee did not award me any points, which confused me, to say the least.
As the fight progressed, I made attempts to 'take the back' and then a 'bow and arrow choke', with 40 seconds left and a point each, I decided to hold out and control my opponent.
The referee raised my hand, I was overjoyed!
On the final fight, I was up against a Brazilian who held a black belt for 6 years, so probably the toughest opponent I have ever fought in a competition, he started by 'pulling guard' then 'sweeping me', I managed to get back on top but eventually 'swept me' again and attempted an 'ezekiel choke' which was tight. I battled through but lost the fight on points.
After the fight numerous people acknowledged my achievement which only sunk in the next day, I am extremely proud.
Next stop Rome, Italy - European Championships No Gi 2017