August 1, 2011

Tournament Review - Grapplers X - Portland, OR.

"Winners celebrate.  Losers contemplate."  - Obviously written by someone who just lost!

Contemplating a lot of shit right now two days after the Grappling X tournament held at the Cascade Christian College in Portland, OR.   My brother-from-another-mother, Shadow, joined me at 6am for our pilgrimage south to the Rose City.  The drive was uneventful and smooth with no one in their right mind being up on Saturday that frickin' early!

The college was easy to find via the bitch-in-a-box (AKA a GPS), and a quick trip around the parking lot showed no more than 15 parking spots, so we decided to park on the other side of the ball field attached to the college (this will be important a bit later).

Arriving we weighed in immediately (I was 197 in the skivvies) and got checked in.  Ask the promoter Cory how many people are signed up, "Just over 250!"  Cool beans I think!

Then I walk into the gymnasium and to my horror I am greeted by three mats!  I turn and look at Shadow, and say "This is going to be a LONG day!"  And from their on out I was reminded every 10 minutes as to why I do not do local tournaments any longer.  Your ass goes numb, then your mind goes number as the hours pass and you watch your "scheduled" time (1pm for me) go slipping by until fighting 5 hours later!

In defense of Grappling X they had a referee ditch on them last minute.   Which begs other questions like why didn't we have more ref's then that regardless?!?   But overall the tournament was received well by most I overheard talking.  Many were very frustrated with the delays, but unfortunately it seems to be the bane of existence with the smaller ventures tournament wise.

The tournament was a double elimination, but many BJJ tournaments seem to run double elimination with conciliation matches which does not make sense.  I am totally confused by how the brackets were determined, but regardless I had two gi matches and would have had two no gi matches but had to leave a bit early after my first loss.

Overall Grappling X Tournament -
Positives:

  • New organization to the local scene
  • Multiple matches for competitors
  • Solid competition showed up for all levels and divisions.  I am amazed at the talent in the young kids out there.  BJJ is going to be so much fun to watch grow over the next decades!  
  • Friendly staff and ref's
  • Nice, clean dressing rooms and restrooms with showers!  
Negatives:
  • No EMT on hand.  I have been seeing this over and over again... NOT acceptable guys!  Pay the money.  
  • Poor mat management
  • Weigh in's need to be just prior to the matches.  This eliminates unhealthy weight cutting, and it also helps those coming from out of town.   Weigh in's officially stopped at 7:30am.... which means we would have had to leave Seattle by 4am to make weigh ins!  Thankfully I contact Cory prior and he was accommodating, but if we just cut off registration a few days prior (and stick to this!!) the brackets are done by Sat. then we weigh in just before we fight and if we do not make weight we are DQed!  Simple.  Copy the IBJJF's model.   
  • I want to give a special shout out to the douche-waffle groundskeeper at Cascade Christian College who blew all his grass clippings all over the car's of those of us parked on the side of the road because their was not ample parking at the college!  Really thoughtful and Christian like of you!  Left me wondering WWBJJJD (WhatWouldBrazilianJiuJitsuJesusDo)?   No worries though, my atheist ass forgives you!  Dick!  

  Both Brian and Tim (my coaches) forewarned me that competing at purple belt would be a world of difference.  To say they were right is redundant!  I am trying to stay positive as all three of my opponents (2 gi matches, 1 no gi advanced pro match) had a lot of experience, and I have had a purple belt for two weeks, so overall my expectations were not that high, I just wanted to get some good rolls.  I have yet to review the tapes but overall my experience is highlighted as such:

The two purple belts I fought were both from Seaside BJJ under Zach and Nate, who are students of Rafael Lovato Jr.  These guys have done a phenomenal job in developing great fighters!  Both of my opponents were solid, strong as shit, and had no gaps.  

My first opponent was a bit bigger then I was and much stronger.  I spent most of the match trying to pass his open guard, but he ended up scissor sweeping me, mounting, then in a scramble I somehow turned and he got my back, then back into mount with my arm caught across my neck.  He squeezed and I tapped.  Was ugly.  Nothing I did mattered it seemed. 

My second opponent was a bit more my size, and he shot in to get the take down but landed on my hooks with me controlling his right arm, so I worked my hook sweep, and got it, but what happened next I will always remember.   Unlike anyone I have ever competed against he accepted the sweep and immediately went into defensive mode.  Before I could settle into mount he had already built his shield and prevented me from top control.  THIS is what really stood out in this tournament to me!  The level of purple belt fighters is much higher then I anticipated, and this is just some small ass local tourney!  I can't wait to feel the level of fighters at the bigger tournaments!  What a great challenge!  

My third match was no gi and nothing to get excited about.  I have a lot to work on in general, but I was happy that conditioning wise I was great!  I am finally at a level physically where I think I can compete with anyone.  Skill wise is my area of focus as I continue to get stronger.  But at this weight, fighting cat's more my size, it seems I am holding my own.  

I am really going to need to tighten up my game and work harder on my weaknesses!  I look forward to the challenge and the work.  I was hoping to amass a few more wins at blue belt to help bolster my confidence, but alas finances crippled my travel budget this year.  Perhaps I will have more opportunities for sponsorship at purple belt then before.  Either way I embrace the work and sacrifice, as I love to roll! I never thought I would enjoy competing so much, but damn I love this shit!  I am all shades of banged up today, but I went to Brian's first Monday morning class and basically got a private lesson with my bud Karliss!  Can't wait to get back at competing!  

I want to thank my wife for cooking great food for us, and putting up with this silly shit.  Thanks to my coach Brian, I hope to do better by your name and school in the future!  Thanks to my brother Shadow for you always being there!  Big Walker, Scotty S., Amauri, David L., Mike A., Chickenwing, Karliss, Noelle, Denise, Matt W. thank you all for helping me prepare!   Your lessons are never wasted on me and I appreciate the love and respect!  

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