September 20, 2009

The Hammer & The Nail - Abu Dhabi NW Regionals

Several members of the NWJJA , under the tutelage of Brian Johnson, competed in the first NW Abu Dhabi Regional held in Auburn, WA. this past weekend. Everyone fought well and overall Brian was pleased with our performance. Big thanks to those who footed the $15 entry fee and supported us.

The tournament as a whole was very well ran with all aspects being exceptionally professional. Other tournament directors could learn a thing or four from Brett Boyce and his smooth operation of the tournament.

One reason we were done by 1pm is the extremely low attendance. One can only speculate as to the reasoning but a $75 entry fee, coupled with $15 general admission ticket for anyone supporting you, could very well have been an issue in these economic times. I heard a few fighters complain about the absence of a pro seminar on Friday night, which was offered in New Jersey, and Vegas but missing from Auburn, and Grand Rapids. I am willing to bet there were fewer than 80 people competing, including kids!

"Scrappy" Phil Kleffner brought the heat in the intermediate lightweight division. Winning both of his matches via submission Phil took first place!

Mike "Shadow" Robinson brought home the silver in the 180# intermediate division with two heated fights that went the distance. Mike fought a tough fight, but lost on points in his second match.

My "Most Impressive Grappler" award would have to go to Chris "We need to find Chris a nickname" Webb. Though he got edged out of competition, Chris has made the most significant improvement since I first met him at NWJJA. He has stepped up and challenged himself in ways many are fearful of doing, and has improved dramatically because of it! Losing over 40#'s, becoming more focused, and challenging himself by competing in tough tournaments.

Chris and I fought in the intermediate absolute division (it should be noted that Chris got "beat" by a sandbagging asshole wrestler in his first absolute match) and he brought the fight to me like no ones business! He did well and more importantly has improved ten fold since he started! Congrats Chris.

Cash Cab on the other hand played more the part of the nail than anything. I had only one other chap in my division but he was a no show, so they bumped me to the advanced heavyweight division. The two gentleman I fought were awesome sportsmen and solid grapplers, though I walked away feeling I was better. Quite simply I got caught in two submissions. The first guy tapped me with a nutcracker, which for those of you lucky enough to have had done to you lately, McFarland has been doing it for weeks, and it pisses me off that I did not see it coming! Set it up just like John does threatening the key lock!

My second match I simply made a mistake and let him catch my head and arm together. Rookie move. Painful lesson learned.

In the intermediate absolute I rolled against Russian Ivan, whom was previously thought to be one of our members, but at the tournament Ivan rolled under the Ivan Salaverry camp. Ivan showed up late so missed his division, Boyce allowed him to roll in the absolute so he was fresh. I was his first match. Ivan ended up beating me by 8 or 9 points. He simply sat on top of me in side control and pinned me. Ivan even lost a point for passivity, but he was too strong for any of my escapes or sweep attempts. In the final the douche bag sandbagging wrestler mentioned before, beat Ivan 29-0.

All in all it was a very positive experience. Congrats to those who won. Well deserved. Everyone walked away with a checklist of things that need work, and with the pride and valor of those who put it on the line and stepped on the mat!

If you get the opportunity to compete in one of the Abu Dhabi Regionals, do it! Well worth the experience!

Train hard, train smart,

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