Returning to BJJ- Rollapalooza 2013

Last weekend, I competed at the Rollapalooza 2013 BJJ tournament. It was my first tournament in almost two years, and I couldn’t be any happier with the results, having won the gold medal in my division.

The Rollapalooza is an annual tournament put together by members of Atos JJ Philippines and is a highly anticipated event. This year, the competition was made even more exciting due to the move to a bigger venue, the Blue Eagle Gym in Ateneo De Manila, and the bevy of raffle prizes to be given out by the organizers. But it goes without saying that I was excited for the event simply because I knew it would be a great opportunity to test my grappling skills.

I took this competition very seriously in terms of preparation. I trained hard for a little over 4 weeks for the event. I put in the mat time at Project Lifestyle Manila even if I was tired from my day job. I knew that I needed to get familiar with being exhausted and with being put in bad spots on the ground; and that’s exactly what I got in training. And if I wasn’t grappling, I was sweating it out at the gym or working out at home to make sure I had the cardio to last several matches.

In addition to that, I also followed a very strict diet, which was high in vegetables and meat, as advised by USPC Sports Performance Centre trainer Paolo Encarnacion. And in the last week leading up to the event, I enlisted the help of Jose Gemora and 360 Fitness Club to help me with the final weight cut. After several exhausting days of exercising with the sauna suit on, I had lost 15 pounds in 4 weeks and successfully made weight. It wasn’t easy, but I got my weight, my body, and my mind right for the tournament.

Lo and behold, come competition day, all that hard work paid off, and I won gold in the cruiserweight division. This was my first gold medal in BJJ, and hopefully it won’t be my last. I’m really enjoying the journey (as team mate Andrew Laxa advised me to do), and I’m really just taking everything in. I know that I’ve got a long way to go, but as long as I have great people around me and good health, then the sky’s the limit.

I want to take this opportunity to that everyone who helped me out in preparing for Rollapalooza 2013. Of course, there’s my team Project Lifestyle Manila and Deftac Pilipinas who really trained me and pushed me to do my best. I owe a great deal to all our coaches and all  of my team mates. Thank you also to USPC Sports Performance Centre and 360 Fitness Club for helping me with the weight cut. I’d also like to give a shout out to my friends and family who never failed to give me some positive reinforcement. And of course, thank you to my wife for being patient and supportive throughout my preparation for the event.

And last but not least, thank you to the organizers of the event and congratulations to them as well!

Gab Pangalangan

Gab Pangalangan is a former collegiate national Judo champ and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of You can find his other works in the Philippines' leading magazines and websites.
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