Crazy times! Last weekend was the 3rd Grab and Pull tournament held at the King Alfred Leisure centre in Hove, right next door to Brighton. The Eastbourne branch of BTT UK, took up a big team for such a small town, with around 12 of us competing across most of the white belt categories. The last tournament saw only 4 of us taking part, so this was a huge improvement and a good reflection on how BJJ is really taking off, especially in Eastbourne!
The venue was set up with 8 huge matted areas and several cameras, which were used for a pay per view on the event - pretty cool hu? As usual, the competition was running a bit late, but once the rooster and feather weights had weighed in, they started the fights quite quickly. One thing I noticed straight away was the level of BJJ was very high, with almost all the competitors demonstrating alot of skill, strength and technical ability. Usually theres quite a few real beginners competing, but not this time!
While I know I should warm up properly, stretch and drill some technique before getting called up, I'v developed a bad habit of doing some half hearted stretches but nothing else before stepping on the mat. I prefer to sit around and watch everyone else fight and just try to relax and chill out. The first fight always seems to be the hardest for me and it takes me some time before I get into the game plan! This first fight was no different - we started and my opponent pulled guard, which I was very happy about :)! I quickly set up my standing guard pass, stood up and passed top side control, before moving to north/south. Then I set up my favourite choke and finished the fight. The next two fights were pretty much the same with my opponents pulling guard and me using the same guard pass and choke to finish the fights! I almost got stuck in a triangle, but thankfully we have been drilling triangle escapes to death and all the hard work paid off! Its strange, but I have only ever used two submissions in competition - the near naked choke and a particular north/south choke.
The semi final fight went a bit differently :P. After a bit of messing around standing up my opponent got a sweet double leg takedown on me. I managed to get a sweep from half guard, but then I got swept and had my half guard passed. Ended up loosing on points. Ah well! The winner of the lightweight whitebelts was some 16 year old Brazilian kid who came and cleaned up with some pretty sick armbars!
Overall it was a great competition! My one complaint was the cancellation of the white belt absolute division because the tournament was running too far behind schedule. It was great to see many of my team mates compete in their first BJJ tournament, as well as other more experienced friends medalling in their categories! Everyone did really well with Pete killing it in the heavyweight division, getting gold, Rach and Sophie cleaning up the women categories with 2 golds, a silver and a bronxe between them, and myself getting a bronze in the light weight!
Got my Feral Gi today! Its a blue one and an A2. First impression is that it looks ALOT better than it does on the ebay pictures. The shoulder patches are a great black/yellow and look very slick! I tried it on before washing it and it was literally a few centrimeters too big. the trousers are definitely made for slimmer guys and are very fitted, with almost no extra material around the upper leg, leading to a narrow sleeve at the bottom. The jacket has perfect sleeve length for me (I am 5'9/ 177cm and 75kg), with the skirt being on the short side compared to other gis I have seen. To be honest it fit quite perfectly on me - no complaints!
I soaked it in a bath of cold water with a good sprinkling of salt for an hour to help the colour set and let any exccess dye come out (apparently a couple cups of white vinegar sets the colour quite well but I didnt have any). After that I stuck it on a 20 degrees long wash with extra spin cycles to get it semi dry. When I tried it on after, the sleeves had shrunk a very small amount and the trousers were still a good fit. However, I think I am going to have to be careful with this gi as even a semi hot wash or dryer might see it shrink more than I want it to, as right now its perfect!
Overall, this gi seems to be a really good buy. At only 45 pounds (with shipping), it seems to be made of high quality material, good design and an excellent fit for slimmer guys. I had a bad feeling that I was going to end up with a Blitz type of Gi but was plesantly suprised to find it was comparable in feel and fit to my Koral. Give it a few weeks and I will do an update post to see how it is holding up with training and a few more washes to its name! The pictures were taken after it was soaked, washed and air dried.
Todays class was hard! Hard enough to deserve a blog entry anyway. We had a quick warm up, break falls, abs circuit and some stretching before everyone was told to go get their protective gear, water, etc. Then for the next 2 hours we rolled constantly till we got a cumulative 300 rolls! Out of a class of 17 people, that means alot of rolls. We divided up into a lightweight mat (under 65kg), a middleweight (under 85g) and a heavyweight mat (85kg+). As usual, even though I weigh around 74kg, I was told to to go over to the heavyweight mat!
For the first hour, thing were going well and I managed to stay on (winner stays on and no time limit - basically till someone taps or gives up) with 3-4 wins before being beaten and circulating back in to win a few more and eventually get tapped again. However, after 60 minutes we were still at only 80 rolls across all three mats so a two minute time limit was introduced, and then for the last half hour a one minute time limit. While this meant very short rolls, it also meant a maximum of 3 mins between each roll, which was considerably shorter if someone managed a submission in that one minute.
After 2.5 hours we finally got over 300 rolls and held a final on each mat between the two people who managed the most taps throughout the session. I got a good guard choke on, but had my guard broken so I switched to half guard and managed to squeeze out the choke from there! Quite happy that at 74kg I can tap 90kg+ guys! Rach won the lightweights easily, and also got the most taps out of everyone. So all in all, a good training session :)
There are a few videos around of the British Open and I managed to find a couple of my fights! I had 5 fights on the day and am not too sure of the order of the videos but here are two videos:
This fight was a hard one! I tried passing his guard a couple times but got stuck in half guard. Then my opponent got a nice double leg take down and I knew I had to start doing some serious BJJ if I wanted to win. Still, managed to pull off two take downs or one take down and a guard pass - not sure how they awarded the points as the board at the end said 3-2 to me? Not sure what happened there! :)
The second fight video is quite boring to be honest - I was waiting for him to pull guard but it took a while. I nearly got a take down but I didnt have his trouser leg secured properly and he managed to hop his way across the whole matted area and back again! Ended up going straight to side control, then north-south and finally a choke to finish it.
Hopefully a few more of my fights will come up on www.cagefilm.com as its great seeing what mistakes I made and what I need to work on. One obvious areas is takedowns - I really need to work on this!
Hey all my name is Alex Broers and I currently train out of two schools; in the UK I train with BTT under head coach Ze Marcello, while in Bahrain I train at Reza's Martial Arts Academy under Reza Monfaradi, where I started in August 2008. I just finished my degree in Business Management and Marketing at the University of Brighton, but am more interested in my training in Brazilian Jiujitsu :)