Easton Open Fall 2023: Conquering Fears, Testing Yourself and Getting In The Zone
Easton Open Fall 2023: Conquering Fears, Testing Yourself and Getting In The Zone recap:
Since August 2022, we’ve combined two of our biggest semi-annual events at Easton – our Muay Thai Scrimmage and our BJJ In-House Tournament – into one, grand two-day event: the Easton Open.
The weekend of October 14th marked our third Easton Open as we continue to push the envelope of what competition and community at Easton can look like!
We first started holding tournaments in the early 2000s, back at the old Boulder academy with less than 60 people in attendance. Over the years, our In-House BJJ tournament grew to be enormous as it extended to more and more students. Eventually we realized we needed a facility larger than what even Easton Denver could accommodate.
Designed to give exclusively Easton students a chance to explore competition and test themselves against others in their division, we create a healthy, competitive environment to facilitate a safe and fun experience whether it’s your first competition or fifteenth.
No matter who you are, our Easton Open provides a supportive and fun space for you to get the most out of your experience.
This year, we had 367 registrants for our Jiu Jitsu competition. That’s 80 more than we had last year! We also had roughly 80 Muay Thai students competing in Sunday’s Scrimmage, with 40 matches on the docket.
Putting yourself to the test
For many students, this was their first competition. As a practice-round for outside tournaments, these BJJ tournaments and Muay Thai scrimmages are a great opportunity for students to test themselves in a high-pressure environment compared to class time, and see how their techniques hold up.
No matter how their match went, nearly everyone came off the mat feeling good – whether it was from their adrenaline dump subsiding to smooth calm or the thrill of winning.
For those who experienced their first Muay Thai bout or Jiu Jitsu match, they were pleasantly surprised to find it not as intimidating as they had expected, thanks to the supportive and encouraging environment of all their coaches and teammates surrounding them.
For Muay Thai competitors experiencing their first Fight Camp, many found the training camp itself more rigorous than the day of competition. Sticking to a strict diet and training schedule becomes the first bout of mental challenge that the athlete must learn to endure and transform.
While much of the battle happens within oneself, fighting doubts, insecurities and physical exhaustion, the actual camaraderie of a Muay Thai scrimmage brings a sense of unity, discipline and mutual respect for the art and for each other. Some of the biggest feedback we got this weekend was how kind and respectful opponents were before and after fighting each other.
How Fighters Prepare
For some who have never competed before, it’s common to experience an adrenaline dump when you get on the mats.
For those who had competed before, this teaches them to moderate their energy and not use up all their resources on their first round. These folks told us that in this competition, they were better at managing their resources and not letting the adrenaline control the outcome.
In fact, seasoned fighters have developed methods for centering themselves before a fight and getting into a flow state. Many listen to music beforehand to calm down, or talk to themselves in an affirmative, positive way.
Some take time out to meditate and sit in stillness to bring down their heart rates and enter a fluid state of being. We will always have space set up away from the competition mats for students to get in the zone, stretch, warm up and unwind afterwards.
But not everyone has found a way to manage their pre-competition jitters. Some people told us they just try not to think about the upcoming match, and distract themselves or talk to their friends. That’s okay too! There is no “right way” to compete.
Outside of preparing yourself as best as you can physically with cardio, weights and mobility alongside your martial arts training, the rest is all mental. So whether your pre-game technique involves grounding yourself or trying to forget it all, everyone has to find what works for them, and sometimes that means over time this changes.
Whether you’re 45 doing your first competition or 12 doing your eighth, there will always be things that get into your head to try to trip you up. Don’t listen to those voices, and remember: the fact that you’re out here, putting yourself into an uncomfortable situation in order to grow says everything. Win or lose, you come out a winner.
No matter how scary something may seem, sometimes pulling back the covers and looking that monster under your bed dead in the eyes is the only way we can dissolve and transmute that fear into a superpower.