By Elisabeth Clay
So, 2020 has been a hard and different year for everyone in the world. A lot for me changed, so let’s just recap a little bit.
I started the year oﬀ deciding to skip Euros and make Pan ams my first tournament. During training in February I partially tore my hip. I went to Arizona to train with Queixinho for Pan ams, then pans got canceled due to COVID.
I stayed for another week or so and then flew back to Alaska when it became apparent everything was closing down. I Didn’t train BJJ for from around March 15th to May 22nd, but lifted almost every day, ran six miles, did yoga, and was able to sneak in some Muay Thai lessons with a friend and instructor.
When I was about at my emotional and mental breaking point from lack of grind, I searched out places that were open, at least covertly open, to train and flew to Texas to start bouncing around training. During this time of bouncing I had six super fights, two of them being against very high level people: Luiza Monteiro and Gabi Garcia.
I did the subversive tournament, Fight2Win, WNO and others, and got my black belt. I had the privilege of flying over to coach my brother in an Arizona tournament—what a growth opportunity for us both.
The bouncing training went from Alaska to Texas to California and over to Arizona. There were so many growth opportunities and stressors and gains, I can hardly believe how difficult it is to train and try to make money in an uncertain world.
I turned 20 years old and my family moved from Alaska to Arizona (temporarily). I am learning to negotiate super fights, seminars, and deals much better, and not only negotiate, but not get overly stressed by the negotiation.
I got ranked #2 on flo-grappling for the black belt nogi women’s over 60kg while still a brown belt. Seems like every day is a new challenge and there is very little certainty.
These are things that I have never handled well, but for now it seems I am learning to live in the moment. I have been a compulsive goal setter and planner. I have had extreme difficulty when things do not follow a plan, but this year in order to survive and train and work, I had to learn to flow and roll with general goal instead of specific ones.
I feel like this year consisted of forging and hardening by the pressure and fire of the world.
I am so grateful to those who opened their gyms and homes to me. Some were long time family friends and others have become family, beyond my gym family. This year has granted me the opportunity to travel, meet people, and train at more gyms.
I am generally a very happy person when you meet and training with me. Due to this ,and my playful demeanor, a lot of people think I have way more friends than I do. I have a hard time relying on others. This year, especially because of all the travel, I have had to learn to rely on others and ask more when I need help.
I have learned that no matter how much success that you have, you will ultimately always disappoint yourself and likely others. Although this is the case, I have learned to see the positive even amongst the negative, as they seem to go together. Just learning to see the small victories every day, even with big wins or losses and hurting others’ feelings and getting my feelings hurt. See the intent and understand the bigger picture with the daily successes. It can be big successes with little failures or little successes with big failures but, at the end of the day, week, month, and/or year, see the progress and embrace disappointment as part of the road forward.
Thank you to my fans, sponsors, team, association, family—blood and otherwise, the tournament/competition sponsors, my opponents, and my daily support fella. I appreciate you all, because of all of you and I work at helping me become a better me. Become your lion or lioness—forward to 2021!