Chapter 22:

Tournament Training: Cole

Insurmountable Odds


“Well, Mr. Miles, is there anything else bothering you or any questions you would like to ask before we conclude this session?” My doctor asked nicely, “I know this must be hard for you and your family but please know that our staff, myself included, will always be here for you every step of the way.”

“Thank you sir, but I’m alright for now.” I gave a slight smile as I stood up to leave.

“Watch your ste-“ My doctor’s warning was cut off as I tripped over my own feet, catching myself on the doorframe.

“I’m fine!” I exclaimed, not turning around.

It was already getting late and I needed to get back to my dorm as soon as possible if I wanted to be on time for the jiujitsu class.

One short Ubrr ride later and I was back to my room, showering and getting dressed for MMA. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I left, causing my already low spirits to plummet.

Despite the past couple of months of working hard, the tight clothing that I wore before I quit years ago still hung loosely off my figure. It became increasingly more obvious as time passed that I wasn’t going to be able to grow back into it.

Nonetheless, I continued forward, my stubbornness not allowing for me to stop simply because I was physically weaker than before.

I won’t stop fighting.

Even with my rushing, by the time I arrived at the clubroom, I was still the last one there. Right as I opened the door, I was face-to-face with Lucas.

“Nice outfit.” I casually remarked seeing him in the new gear the club got him.

“Thanks!” He smiled brightly before brushing past me and patting my back.

After entering the room, I scanned across the people as usual to check who was there and how everyone was doing. Halfway across the room, I froze. There’s someone new.

Rather than introducing myself to them first, I instead settled in like normal and began my stretches.

“Oh, hey Cole!” The vice-captain called from the opposite end of the room. “Have you met Rebecca yet?”

As she spoke, I stood up and headed over to the group of girls.

“No, I can’t say I have.” I looked over Rebecca as I continued. “Hello, as you probably heard, my name is Cole.”

“Hi, I’m Rebecca.” She spoke softly, her body positioned slightly behind the vice-captain. “Nice to meet you.”

Noticing her discomfort, I kept my reply short and walked back to my spot.

“Likewise.”

As we all prepped to begin class, the Captain gave an announcement.

“Now that everyone is here, I’d like to say a few things about the tournament coming up on the fourteenth.”

We all formed a small semicircle around him as he spoke.

“In the next couple of weeks, we will be doing more serious and competitive drills with the focus on competition rules.” He scanned the crowd for questions before continuing. “I know that this is the first tournament for a fair number of you so we’ll trying to match your paces, so-to-speak.”

After another moment of silence, he continued.

“We will be pairing everyone off in order to help focus on everyone’s specialties and ensure it is as efficient as possible. Over the course of the class, we’ll be switching between pairs up until the last thirty minutes or so where we’ll all gather up and host a miniature tournament of our own.”

Once he said his piece, we were all paired off based on our sizes and skill differences. As expected, my first and main partner was Lucas.

As we separated and sat down, I began helping him work.

“So, what do you feel you need to work on?” I asked Lucas, hoping for an idea of what to do.

“Everything.”

“That’s not helpful…” I sighed as I changed the question. “Your style has a lot of guard play with arm submissions, right?”

“Yeah, what about it?”

“Well, is there any aspect of your fighting style that feels lacking in sparring matches?”

After giving it a moment of thought, he responded quickly.

“When I fight Andrew or Quinn who are near my skill level, I’m usually able to play my game pretty well, but against the vice-captain or you, I get completely overwhelmed.”

“In what way are you getting overwhelmed?”

“Well, I can never lock any of you down and, no matter what I try, you guys always seem to pass my guard within the first minute of the match.”

There ya go!

“Now that’s something I can help you with.”

For the rest of our allotted time, as Lucas requested, I helped teach him tricks with varying his guards as well as a few flashier moves known as inversions.

After a couple more private sessions with Andrew, where I went over similar techniques to Lucas, and Quinn, who I showed so more explosive passes and gave a few tips on control, I grabbed some water on the sidelines as the Captain prepared for our mock tournament.

As we all headed back to the center of the mats, I noticed that Madison had spent the entire class helping Rebecca with a lot of the basics. Although nice of her, I couldn’t help but be worried over the tournament if she continued doing so.

“Hey Madison,” I approached her as she separated from the new girl. “With the tournament coming up, I was wondering if you wanted my help training Rebecca while you focus on your own training.”

For a moment, she had a happily surprised look on her face before visibly drooping.

“I really appreciate the offer, but I don’t that would be such a good idea.” The vice-captain came closer and began to whisper. “She’s not super comfortable being that physical with guys yet…”

Although I wanted to counter with any number of reasons why it wasn’t a big deal in jiujitsu, from Madison’s tone, I knew it wasn’t my place to argue.

“I understand to an extent.” I replied, reciprocating the whispers. “Let me know if there’s anything else I can do. I know how much you all want to do well in the tournament.”

With a slight smile as her only response, we both regrouped with the rest of the class for the practice tournament to begin.

Miao Miao
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