What It's Like Under The Lights

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What it's like under the lights.

Finally Backstage warming up trying to get loose hoping that you warmed up enough. Time to get my thoughts together and go over the game plan.

I always think about my little sister Jane before matches. She passed away when she was 34 years old. I always feel closest to her in the quiet moments before a fight. Her life was cut short so I want to do enough living for the both of us. I want to do what scares me and become better than I ever thought I could be.

Right about now the nerves start to kick in and you know why so many people drop out of matches. You start wondering did I do enough, am I ready for this. Then they call your name to the on deck spot backstage and now it's time to get ready to go.

At this point you're just ready go out there and do it. I was pretty nervous because we sold so many tickets. I had so many friends and students there and I don't want to go out there not perform and do a horrible job. Brian went out first.

Now it's my turn. My music comes up and its time to take the walk all by yourself. Now I am really amped up. I can hear my friends and students yelling, it was pretty loud.

Going down the ramp to the mat its a crazy mix of emotions! Everything is pumping and you are ready to go. You really feel alive at this point. Its just going to be you and another guy trying your hardest to submit each other.

I get to my corner and see my wife, son, friends and students. Its a pretty awesome feeling to have so much support. Pretty much all senses are at a 10 right now. Have to make sure to breathe!

The match starts and I get his lapels out and then I just waited. Not sure why, I felt really flat. I knew Brian was a tough guy and I had to get my game going first and I didn't.

He went first pulling guard and damn near swept me.  In his guard I was still frozen. WTF is going on, do something.  I could hear Travis yelling don't let him get your lapel and I did just that.

He slapped on a tight choke and a bit of panic set in, you can't get tapped out in front of all these people.  Find a way out or they will be waking me up I decided.  He almost swept me but I got back on top and escaped the choke.  Now I knew it was go time.

I got past the knee shield and flattened him out but my cross face sucked.  I wasn't putting enough pressure down and he recovered knee shield.  I got past that again and finally got a good grip on his collar.

I knew time was running out and I had to do something.  I went for a Sao Paulo pass and almost got my position but I bailed on it too early. Seriously pissed at myself now.

The crowd was getting into it.  I can hear Brad and Travis yelling 30 seconds to pass, oh damn I have to go.  I finally stand up and get my grips, ok here we go lets pass and attack the far arm.  Just commit to the pass, you can do this but my body didn't agree and Brian countered and we went back to closed guard. I knew it was over.

I was pretty frustrated with myself for not executing my game plan against a tough opponent.  I was playing catch up all night.

The good thing about competing is you always learn so much about yourself and you improve yourself.   In that choke I could have tapped and the match would have been over, the thought crossed my mind.  But instead I chose to find a way out.

Just like in life, you can tap out and quit or you can find solutions when things get hard.  Everyday we are faced with pressure and self doubt.  But when we face them life becomes so much better.

I lost the match but I feel like I going to take my game to another level. Competing under that much pressure is just going to make me better.

For me the big battle is always been my weight in the way cutting and as I get older it's tougher. When I won my first World Championship I didn't cut weight so I'm officially done cutting weight....LOL.

So I can have a better performance this will require a few changes in my life one which will be adding in running. I pretty much hate running but I used to like it when I was a kid so maybe I can like it again.

I can't run just to run though.  I always have to compete in things or to me there's just no damn point.   So the new goal will be to figure out what 40+ year olds run a 5K at and make sure to beat those times. LOL.

All in all it was a really good experience, a great fight and a lot of fun. I can't wait to do it again but for now it's time to get in better shape and find some more tournaments to compete in to get ready to win another World Championship

Paul Halme

Peak Performance

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