Monday, April 13, 2009

Tourney Recap

So I went to this litle tournament saturday. It was the Mid Michigan Grappling Open in Jackson, MI. I left Grand Rapids about 6:25am and I got there at about 8:15am. I paid, then weighed in at 189. Later I would find there was little point to weighing in, but hey; it's all good. The tournament took place in this GIANT middle school gym. It was bigger then most high school gyms. It was also FREEZING cold. I made my weigh to the stands and set up base camp. I didn't figure anyone else from our gym would show up, so I put on my walkman and laid down for a little bit. They had a giant mat area of like 4 full wrestling mats pushed together. They had set up 7 rings with tables and chairs and scoring things on them. This was hilarious as there was like 15 entire people in the gym with one hour to go until tournament time.

We were supposed to get going at 10am, but Leo the director made an announcement that people were "stuck in traffic" and they would be delayed one hour. Errrr ok. I got to watch like 10 middle school kids that were playing basketball run all over the mats in their dirty tennis shoes while I was waiting. Then I got to watch the obligatory people walking to the bathroom with bare feet, then walking back on the mat. It floors me how gross that is. Even if you didn't grapple in your life..who goes to the bathroom in a public place with bare feet? Freaks. I'm getting itchy skin just thinking about the "mat aids" I came acrossed.

Mike Spears showed up from class. He's a noob, but has a wrestling background so holds his own in class. I also met up with Chris from the Saulo Ribeiro school in Detroit. He had come out and trained at GRBJJ a couple times while he was working in the west side of the state. He is a very fun, outgoing guy and a hell of a jiu jitsu player.

At 11am the tournament started. I signed up for all the First was no-gi teens and beginners. Despite having 7 mats set up, they only used 2 at the most at any given time. There were maybe 40-50 competitors total, many who were teens and beginners. It took a couple hours to get through these divisions. They then decided that they were going to do blue/purple gi. I signed up for the divsion, because I'm a crazy bastard. And I would rather lose to someone better then me and learn then steamroll through some novice division. There were 6 guys including myself in this division. Me (4 stripe white belt), 4 blue belts, and 1 purple belt. It was open weight and I was the heaviest in the division. They ran it round robin style where everyone would fight everyone. I tried to get Leo the director to just run this as the absolute, as it would be silly to do this round robin division with 5 fights, then run it again with the same people all over again (plus like 2 other white belts signed up for absolute). That's not what Leo wanted to do, and's his tournament. PS. They never did absolute gi because everyone left after this division. I was right...sigh.

My first match was against a blue belt. He was a little smaller then me but lanky, younger, and built much better (he had muscles where I have fat). I wanted to play half guard this tournament, so I pulled half guard in just about every match, including this one. I swept him immediately and pinned his leg preparing to pass his guard. For some reason I let go of his leg (which I know not to do) and let him triangle me. I posture up nice and he can't secure it. He breaks me down and secures it better, and I try to stand up (which I know not to do). He gets a better angle and finishes. I wish I could have this match over as it was 2 STUPID mistakes. I know I could beat this guy. This sucked.

My second match was against Chris from the Saulo Ribeiro school in Detroit. He was the smallest guy in the group, and I had like 25+ lbs on him. I get half guard, but he does well to control me and moves to mount. The kid had a very good mount. I would find this out first hand, but also saw him finish a couple other guys from the mount. I go to do the elbow knee escape, and he tries to take my back and work a bow and arrow collar choke. I immediately transition to the back escape we have been working on and successfully reverse the position. I work some crappy half guard, and let him get his guard back. I try to pass for a bit and come close but don't quite get there. I still leave too much space. He ends up in half guard and sweeps me. I am totally gassed at this point. I don't know if I am in worse shape then before the Arnolds, or if I adrenaline dumped, or if it was the 2 hour ride early in the morning...I don't know but I was gassed hard. He waits it out on top and wins. Hats of to Chris who got 2nd in the division, only losing to the purple belt. He beat me fair and square, despite a weight difference. I would love a rematch sometime, as I think I can do a lot better then I showed here.

The 3rd match was against the division winner, who is a 5 year purple belt with a stripe under Sean Bansfield in Ann Arbor. He lives in the Flint area, but commutes the hour journey to train with Sean several times a week. This guy had a great controlling top game, and was very good at controlling with his knee on belly (and knee on random other body parts). I thought I rolled pretty good against him. My goal was to keep it close and stay in control against him but to go for it if I had an opening for any submission. I did keep it close for a while, but his experience eventually got to me.

The fourth match was my best showing, and unfortunately was the only one I didn't get on video. It was a blue belt, but I'm not sure what school he was from. He looked like he had good judo or wrestling (or something...he threw the purple belt flat on his back). I decided not to let him throw me, so I avoided the tie up and shot a really deep single leg. I was deep under him but he sprawled out pretty hard, so I just pulled my deep half guard again. I got into position for the Tozi pendulum sweep, and the guy immediately went for a kneebar (kneebars were legal because they decided to go under purple belt rules, since there was a purple belt in the division). He may have done this as the purple belt tried the same thing when I had him in the deep half guard. I was prepared this time, and as soon as he turned for the knee bar, I grapped the back of his gi, pulling him towards me to take his back. It turned into a little bit of a scramble, but I ended up on his back with one hook in. I secured the second hook to get my points and then quickly moved to a collar choke. I grabbed the guys knee to sit back into a bow and arrow choke. He didn't like it, but it wasn't tight enough, so I let go of the knee grip and pushed the back of his head into the collar choke to get the tap.

My fifth and final match was against another blue belt. He was a really nice guy, despite his lazy eye and the fact that he was seriously considering wearing wrestling shoes before the meet. He pulls guard on me. I get a crappy knee lead base. I pass his guard. I then work the mystical rolling Crampton gi tail choke for the tap. It may look a little exotic, but Chris has taught me this move several times and it's actually pretty safe and high percentage if you can set it up. According to Jeff Wenstrom, I didn't have the most graceful I will have to work on that for next time.

I ended up 2 wins and 3 losses for 4th place. I got the tinyest medal was pretty funny. I could have easily been 3-2 or even possibly 4-1. I will definitely learn from my mistakes, and I did have a great time. Tournaments are on of the best times you can have. Everyone needs to do them. I wish some more people showed up to this one. Pretty much everyone left after the gi division, so they canceled the absolute gi tournament (should have listed to the Dutch Assassin!). They did take my advice and combine the advanced no-gi into the absolute, but I was tired and had to drive to Bay City for Easter so I took off.

Mike Spears went 5-0 in the beginner gi division. I cornered him for his last couple matches and got his last one on tape. He was tapping everyone with this cross choke from side control.

I can't wait for Naga Milwaukee =)

1 comment:

Caleb said...

I hate it too when guys go to the bathrooms at tourneys barefoot then get back on the mats. Foul.

And kids playing basketball on the mats before the tourney? In shoes? Errrr...