Professor had long ago taught us about the four opponents in a fight. But about the actual experience of fighting he only said "ees verry different than school". He never talked about it more than that. He just wanted us to jump in and see for ourselves.
Another friend, someone who has competed many, many times, told me to just not worry about how good I am. "The universe gives you the opponent you need to face." The only thing that I needed to do was manage the adrenaline rush: she said it's quite powerful.
Little did I know it was much, much more than powerful. It was like a nuclear bomb of adrenaline. It was a tsunami. Not only did I have no control, but I was very disoriented for several minutes of my first fight. I still killed the guy, 12-2, using sweep after breakdance sweep, and one awesome forward takedown I've been playing in my head for about four months now. I was the first of the white belt fights, and everyone said I did really well. When the called time, and the referee raised my arm, I felt like someone who had been in a shipwreck, an airplane crash, and had somehow made it out alive. Fortunate, but I'd survived by my instincts, not this incredible deployment of skill.
We love to fight him because we know that we’re going to become better if we fight him. I think that when you fight somebody at that caliber you become him a little bit, you steal a little bit of his toughness and his skills. That’s why the best have to fight against each other, have to train against each other, because we want to see the best jiu-jitsu in the world.
The other sensation I did not expect was that I thought the fight would feel more like a personal dance. But ees verry different than school. It is true, there was nothing out there for me except the opponent. He was so spazzed that I daren't let my guard down for a second lest he spazz all over me. But it was more than that. It was as if every person in the room was crammed into the conversation between us, as if all the voices were talking at once. Not externally; I was able to sort out the dozen friends and Professor's voice and his dozen friends voices all out, and to handily include my Professor's advice when I needed it to reach my brain. It was not that there were a lot of people shouting. It was as if all those people were on the mat with us, their energy, their life, their power, like one big fission reactor of jiu jitsu had been plugged into my body. At first it felt like panic, but then I got used to it.