Choking on Cannabis: Grappling Loss With Perspective
Seibo Shen, our friend and founder of VapeXhale, is back from his jiu jitsu competition at Gracie Regionals and shares with us his invaluable experience.
We’re catching up with Seibo Shen, our friend and founder of a premier piece of cannabis hardware, the VapeXhale Evo. Last time Seibo gave us a peek into his second life — when he isn’t busy running one of the leading vape companies — competing as a jiu jitsu athlete. He left us before Gracie Regionals, a large nationwide submission grappling tournament, and now he’s back with updates on his experience.
While Seibo may not have gotten the results he was hoping for, what he took away from the event was invaluable and something we can all relate to. Growth is never comfortable, and oftentimes comes in the form of loss — fortunately, as Seibo found, there’s cannabis to help you see through the disappointment.
Enjoy this heartfelt recount. We look forward to Seibo’s comeback in his next contest!
After months of physical and mental training, the Gracie Regionals was finally here. As the event got closer, I could feel my confidence building, but at the same time, I was restless and having trouble sleeping. There was so much excitement the night before the event, it was similar to the feeling I got when my parents took me to Disneyland for the first time. I could not wait for the event.
The Gracie Regionals officially started at 11am and I was up at 5am. I had hoped to sleep a little longer but there was just too much excitement so I decided to get up and feed the baby so my wife could sleep in. After I fed our daughter, I blended 64 oz of kale, bananas, apples, and pineapples to get the day started. After downing it, the grogginess instantly disappeared and I was starting to get really focused for the competition. I gave the wife and daughters each a kiss and left for the event.
When I arrived at the San Jose Convention Center, I signed my waiver and weighed in. I came in at 135 pounds — perfect for the weight class (I didn’t have to cut too much weight other than going easy on desserts for a week). Now I had nothing to worry about other than my opponent. I looked at the brackets and figured out who my opponent was and decided to observe his warm-up routine and what techniques he was drilling with his teammates. As he warmed up, I noticed how flexible and limber he was, but what I noticed most was his build — like a miniature version of the Rock. How he made the 135 pound limit is beyond me, but I was still confident that my technique could compensate for the size differential.
When it was our turn to compete, I noticed that he seemed to have a much more intense look on his face. While I take jiu jitsu seriously, my primary job is to run a vaporizer company and this guy’s full-time job was to be a mixed martial arts fighter. Immediately, I noticed that I was not in the right mental state that I wanted to be, questioning my ability against his ability — I wanted to be in the moment, not overthinking everything that was going on. I was definitely not in the flow state and all the training I did suddenly seemed very foreign to me. In an instant, I noticed an opening and immediately went for one of my favorite moves, the Japanese Necktie. But then I made a split second decision to abandon the necktie and go for another submission called ‘the darce’ — and that was the beginning of the end.
The night before the event, I was doing my homework and listening to jiu jitsu strategy. During one of the videos, Marcelo Garcia (the Michael Jordan of jiu jitsu) said that the darce is a much better (and higher percentage) way to finish your opponent than the Japanese necktie. This is why I decided to abandon my bread-and-butter submission and try a move that I was not quite confident in. I ended up squeezing, burning out my arms and ultimately not getting the choke — I was submitted a few minutes later.
After the loss, I was emotionally and physically distressed. I felt that I didn’t manage my emotions well before the fight and made a huge tactical mistake that cost me the match. On top of that, I had to go to the hospital due to dehydration and got a very deep bruise on my shoulder. I was struggling coming to grips with the loss, replaying the scenario a million times in my mind. I decided to put some Cannatonic (high CBD strain) into the EVO to help with the inflammation, followed that up with a dab of Durban Poison live resin and closed my eyes. After the CBD and THC entered my body, I began to look at the fight less as competition and more as a learning experience. Physically, I have to become a better overall athlete for more endurance and explosiveness. Mentally, it has been more than 10 years since I last competed and I vastly underrated the mental fortitude necessary when competing against another person trained to strangle you. I always tell people to learn from their mistakes and this is something I had to remind myself. As my coach says, “There is no losing, only learning.”