The Championship Fight
Diego, Age 10, Panama City, Panama

I placed a hard stare at my opponent, just like a lion does before it catches its prey. Then my heart started pounding inside my chest like a hammer, my hands were frozen, but my mind was ready to fight. I had been told that my opponent was not as easy as he looked and that he was completely undefeated. I'd lost two times, but I was glad I had lost already: if there is no losing, you don't learn from your mistakes. I walked toward the mat as quickly as possible, meeting the ref, the judges, and my opponent, then slowly to the center of the mat. I glared at the referee as his hand went up and then down like a lumberjack cutting wood saying, "Ready…….fight!!!"

When the fight began, I froze to see my opponent's reaction and immediately looked for a counterattack, but he was way too fast and with lightning speed he grabbed my kimono as if it were the last day of his life. The boy then grabbed one of my legs, leaving me with only one leg to balance and stand on. He tripped the other leg, and I fell to the ground with a loud "thump!" Instantly that was two points for him.

I was struggling to catch my breath from the fall, and without me even noticing he put an outstanding amount of weight in my right thigh with his left knee and passed my guard; my heart stared to pound in my chest from all the weight in my thigh's pressure points. I tried to scoop my way back into the guard, but he somehow was able to get ahold of my back without me noticing. I knew I had to be careful with him because he was a really sneaky, fast, and strong - but I had my mind. I was sort of letting him do this, but I have to admit he wasn't easy, but now I knew his style of fighting. Again I fell in another of his sneaky traps. I tried to move but his arms were locked around my neck with a choke known as the rear naked choke, and he squeezed with all his might; then my vision went blurry from the choke.

I was way too distracted by my thoughts. I finally decided in my mind that I had to surprise him. I planted my feet to the ground raising my hips and doing a back roll. I got in a turtle position, and did a front roll, so I could spring into action from an open guard, as no one gets past my guard. Then my curiosity made me find my way to know how much time was left. There were exactly two minutes remaining, and for me it was a whole life time.

I rolled forward and he fell off my back and I quickly put him in my closed guard. I controlled him for a few moments so I could breathe in and out to preserve my energy and think. After thirty seconds he was tired of trying to pass my guard, so I took advantage, grabbed the tip of his lapel, and passed it over his neck, forming a baseball bat choke. Now I had to let him pass my guard and turn to the side and choke him, and so I did. I tricked him into passing my guard then turned my hips so my head was lined up with his hips and with all my might and anxiousness for revenge and to come back from behind, I held onto the kimono for my life. The choke started to work; it slowly got tighter and tighter. I could see it in his eyes: he was going to tap. Tap, tap, I felt on my back. I had come from behind to succeed.

Thirty minutes later...

I got called to the podiums for pictures and medals. I felt the thick silk pass over my head and onto my neck; it was soft and it reminded me of my bed and that I could still go and rest after the fight. I was so happy; I just raised my hands up high showing that I was champion once again.

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