March 19, 2012

Revolution BJJ Tournament - Review (St. Paddy's Day Edition 2012)

Careful who you let in to these events!
Just over four years ago I entered my first BJJ tournament, The Revolution, ran by Jeff Bourgeois and his crew of merry pranksters.  A lot has changed in those precious few years.  Jeff is running one hell of a smooth show from top to bottom.  Just like any major event it has it's hiccups and issues, but overall The Revolution is a great tournament for grapplers of all ages.

Weaving through the snow flurries on our way out to Bonney Lake, most of the NWJJA fight team were at the high school already so I quickly changed and got on the mat to warm up.  It is nice being at the weight you want to be so you do not have to worry about what you are eating too much the night before.  I am trying more and more to stay relaxed and as "normal" as I ever get prior to competing.  The last two tournaments I have been able to eat a normal meal and stay hydrated the night before fighting.  Weighing in wearing my 4# 1914 Gi, with 1/2 pound to spare told me I was balancing perfectly.

Thanks to 1914 Gi's for their sponsorship!
They got the black, brown and purple belt matches going fairly quickly so a short warm up roll with Taho and I was feeling loose and ready.  I was using the Revolution to illuminate any holes that need immediate tightening up for the Pan Am's, and some of those problems certainly shone forth such as: establishing pressure on top; following through more thoroughly; work my stand up!

I will analyze my match with Kasey (I think he is from Impact, but don't quote me on that) in another post with video.  But overall Kasey is a tough dude who had the balls to wrestle up a weight category.  I basically played guard the whole match going into the 6th minute tied 0-0.  I was working him in my 1/2 guard, but I felt him stretching me out and I knew I would not be able to hold it until the end of the match, so I started to set up my Ballard Bridge sweep.  (nice try... not going to share HOW I set it up!)

My thinking, dare I call it a strategy, was that when he passed my guard and came into side control I would sweep him immediately, nailing the the sweep points with literally seconds left (7 minute long matches).  Well my strategy damn near worked.... but he maintained his balance and I was not able to sweep him.  He settled tight into side control gaining his passing points and won!  Kudos to Kasey he played a very patient, tight game shutting down my guard game.

We had 10 fighters representing NWJJA at the Revolution making it one of the largest teams we have ever assembled.  EVERYONE fought hard and gained some invaluable experience on the mat.  For Ryan, Omar, and Kamau this was their first BJJ tournament.  Ryan got a north-south choke and fought real hard, but got caught in a choke himself in his second fight.  Omar gave a solid showing but got fucked by absolutely terrible reffing losing by one point.  Otherwise Omar did solid in his first tourney.  Kamau is a beast!  Ending his first grappling match in 53 seconds with a kimura (kid will be doing wristlocks next!).  Kamau has been a real positive addition to our gym and trust me when I tell say that you will be hearing much more about him in the future!

Connor stepped up to his second tournament experience.  A little nervous at first he settled down and fought a great first fight scrambling back and forth, but finally submitted with a choke.  The Kool Aid Kid did great in his second showing.  Connor too is going to be a force to reckon with!

   Spider was on the receiving end of one of a handful of terrible reffing.  I am not sure who the ref was, but he was not counting any hold time for positional changes and the score was quickly run up on Chris by his tough opponent.  Literally the guy would put a knee on belly and immediately the ref would signal points regardless of control.  This was one of a handful of terrible jobs I saw with ref's this Revolution.

Two of the best training partners one can ask for!
  I am going to call it as I see it... but it seems to me that with a handful of Brazilian ref's, they seem indifferent as to what they are supposed to be doing.  I saw on numerous occasions ref's chatting with others while a match was happening, often looking away from the fight.  On a few occasions I caught ref's literally starring into space, and one was checking his pocket (looking at something in his pocket which I assume was a phone, but could not see so do not want to speculate).  I don't understand... if you do not want to ref, then why sign up to do it?  If you are going to do it, do it right and with 100% attention to the fighters.  

In the end we should never leave it to the judges, but lets have the best reffing we can for the times we do need the point system.

This tournament was markedly different then the Arnolds I competed in a couple weeks ago in that there was such a lack of machismo and bravado at the Arnolds back in Ohio.

I saw a lot of this machismo and ego being passed on from teacher to student.  It saddens me, but my lesson here is that I can do nothing about it, only try to better myself and be a better role model myself.

Mike fought the young guns, entering the same division as me we also got weights combined.  Mike fought a solid fight as this was his first time stepping up to compete at purple belt.  He held his own with the younger, bigger kids.

Eric Montenegro had two hard battles with 1914 Sponsored fighter Nate Adamson of Seaside JJ.  Nate is SUPER strong and plays a wicked good open guard game which lends itself nicely to fighting Eric who is much the same.  A back and forth battle, Nate took the gold in the end with a gi choke (I believe).

Randy Bacon was the star of NWJJA Saturday taking silver in the purple lightweight division.  Talk about some killer battles back and forth, Randy managed a killer bow and arrow choke on one opponent, winning on points with another before succumbing to a tight purple belt from SBG Montana.

All in all I think the tournament was a great experience.  As with any fight we have to analyze our matches and go back to the drawing board to clean up our game.  I felt the academy did great as a whole.  No one got blown out.  We lost by just a few points in our losses, and nothing from nothing... the quality of fighters at these local events has skyrocketed in the past 2 years!

Coach Foster presenting Jeff with his plaque.
With that said it was nice of all the local coaches to present Jeff with an outstanding achievement award on Saturday as well.  Jeff has put his blood, sweat and tears into the Revolution over the past 10 years and it has become pretty much the one and only quality grappling tournament locally.  Cheers Jeff for the great times!  Keep up the hard work and we will keep supporting your efforts.

Check out for upcoming tournaments here in the Seattle, WA. area.

I want to thank my sponsor 1914 Gi's (website is launching in a week) whose help is really appreciated, and no BS... these gi's are some of the lightest, nicest products on the market!  Check them out!
Also wanted to thank my coach for his guidance.  I cherish our time on the mat and look forward to working out the kinks in my game.
Thanks to all the training partners who show up day in, day out, and help me prepare to fight.  The last two tournaments I have done I have not felt gassed at all, and I owe a debt of gratitude to those of you pushing every night on the mat!  It is appreciated!
The first known pic of the Ballard Bridge sweep being


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