Author: Christopher

SJJIF Worlds

Thoughts

Two silver medals at Worlds less than a year into my purple belt is quite the accomplishment in my eyes. I was also proud of how calm and collected I was able to stay throughout the entire event. I didn’t get overwhelmed or a rush of anxiety, I felt at home on the competition mats.

Gi Match #1

Take Aways

I felt like I outclassed this guy when I grabbed him. I came close to submitting him a few times and I dominated the scoreboard with a 22-0 victory.  Overall I was happy with my performance and felt like I was able to maintain control over the pace of the match. When I tied my belt I was extremely tired so I was using that time to recover. After the match was over I was extremely exhausted despite the fact that I won, however I was able to fully recover and be ready to go befor my next match.

Gi Finals Match

Take Aways

This guy was better than me and it showed that day. While in the middle of grappling I was thinking about my strategy to win and decided that the only way I was going to come on top was if I was able to score a sweep or take down then hold a dominant position towards the end of the match. I was losing when he was able to get a good position, but I was proud of how calm and collected I was able to be. He got me with a really nice set up to a Kimura. I was really with my performance.

No Gi Match #1

Take Aways

Despite my opponent’s insistence that I did not have the foot lock, the end where you see him limping tells a different story. Also, I felt this foot popping from the shin lock before I transitioned to the one that put them away. The video cut off before my hand is raised because there is a debate as to whether or not the move I did was legal. My opponent claimed I did a heel hook which would have not been allowed in this division, however I performed a hankle lock also known as the Aoki lock which is legal in this division. I was able to move onto the finals to face the guy who beat me in the Gi.

No Gi Finals #2

Take Aways

I felt like I had some slightly stronger attacks in this match, but he was able to put me away with the same move quicker than the last time. He had a brilliant set up that worked for him two times in a row and it is something I have been studying to try to add to my game / avoid if I ever run into him again. I can’t say I was disappointed with my performance because I went out there and competed to the best of my ability.

Pictures

SJJIF Worlds

Read More

Grapple in the temple

-my second pro match

The lead up to the event

Thoughts

Loved the event and it was cool to compete on a big stage with lights. I wish they paid me (should have tried to sell more tickets). I also got to announce for one of the matches on the main card after I was done competing. Overall it was worth it to go, especially becauseI got to see how these kinds of events run on the back end. Eventually I’m going to put on tournaments and events of my own, all of these are experienced as draw on when I do so.

My Second Pro Match

Read More

NAGA Detroit

Thoughts

This tournament was my biggest win so far in my grappling career. This is for a number of reasons. First, I won both of my divisions in the expert skill bracket. Second in my no gi division I beat two people who have victories over me in a competiton setting. Lastly, I was able to work a game plan in my matches that I had been planning out for a while. Not only was this a good competition for me, but as a team black tie BJJ dominated. We won Gi and No gi adult divisions as a team (points awarded by number of medals) and the kids placed second overall missing first place by a hairline margin of 10 points or one bronze medal. It was super rewarding as a coach to see my students actually winning and executing on the techniques we have been praticing and drilling.

No Gi Match #1

Take Aways

This may have been my best performance of the day. I had lost to this guy in the gi in my first competition as a purple belt. The next time I faced him I was able to win on points, but not get a submission. This time I got the tap to win and it was a good marker of my progress.
 

No Gi Finals Match

Take Aways

Another person who has beaten me before, it was also in no Gi. Going into this match I felt like my opponent thought he was going to win. I ended up putting a pace on him that he wasnt expecting and scored some points early in the match. As the match went on I was getting exhausted, but I didn’t let it show and continued to give my opponent problems that made it super difficult for him to advance and score. This match solidified for me that I am able to compete at this level and win.

Putple belt Gi Finals

Take Aways

Sometimes when you grapple against somebody you grab them and instantly feel like you can outclass them. Not to put any disrespect on my opponent, but this is one of those situations for me. When I grabbed his lapels while we were standing it felt like I could just do what I need to do to get a throw or take down. Most of the match consisted of me hunting for a submission and eventually ending with a rear-naked choke finish.

Pictures

NAGA Detroit

Read More

FUJI Lansing

Thoughts

It was cool to get the rematch against someone who beat me on a questionable ref call last tournament, but I wish there was more people competing in my bracket. 
 

Gi Match #1

Take Aways

This match I felt pretty confident going in because I already faced this guy in the last competition I was in. What I took away was that even though I knew what his game plan was and how he scored all his points last match (sweeps from bottom) I still wasn’t able to shut it down. What allowed me to get the win was to compensate by aggressively attacking my own submissions which lead to lots of points as I moved from position to position.
 

Gi Match #2

Take Aways

I did not want to have to face him again in another match because if I am being honest I was a little tired and wanted to move on with the day. Secondly, I wanted to get a submission on him. I was able to win so I wouldn’t have to face him again, but my submissions attempts were unsuccessful because he had good defense. 

Expert No Gi

Take Aways

This guy was a good Grappler and I probably should have tried to stand back up with him instead of playing bottom. I feel like I could have beaten him or at least made it more competitive if I fought for top position to try and pass or out wrestle him.

Pictures

Fuji Lansing

Read More

Grappling Industries Detroit

My first purple belt competition

Thoughts

This event had serious issues with organization and basic tournament functions. I had tons of fun in spite of the poor management thanks to my teammates.
 
The hints that this tournament was going to have problems started about four days before the event. Someone reached out to me and asked if I wanted to ref in exchange for a paycheck, I said yes. To make a long, boring, overly confusing story short, I wasn’t allowed to compete and ref at the same time so I decided to compete. Upon arriving it was clear that there was very little communication between the event organizers and the people manning the tables. In addition to this there were also technical difficulties with their bracketing system.
 
The biggest issue I had with the event is that it was unable to attract enough competitors in my divisions. The absolute no gi division was easy to fill because the requirements are the largest. The gi absolute division got canceled. My weight class in no gi only had one other person besides me and my teammate from an affiliate school. Lastly, the gi division for my weight class had major issues that I will write about next to the match replay below.
 
These annoyances are things that don’t really impact much in the long run. What I was able to take away from this tournament was a few good grappling matches and a lot of good memories. It was really fun joking around and my teammates on the sidelines and jumping into coach when no one was available because three people were on at different mats at the same time. My favorite part was the car ride home after all the chaos of the day was done and I got to crack jokes with my coach and teammates in the back of a black hummer. It remined me of the bus rides I use to take while playing soccer my freshman year of highschool.

No Gi Absolute

Take Aways

Sometimes you grapple in a big ole boy and you can’t manage to get this submission. I had a couple close attempts and I did my best to try to get him off of me when I was being crushed, but sometimes that is how the chips fall.
 
In retrospect I should have not tried to out wrestle him on the feet and instead gone right into leg locks.
 

Gi Match (questionable bracket)

Take Aways

Leaving up to the refs is never a good option. Sometimes, you can out grapple somebody and you just don’t get the win because the ref is not feeling it that day.
 
The part that is most disappointing is that this was not even the opponent I was supposed to face in my first match. This was a substitute because somebody didn’t show up. The match was tied 8-8 and I did not get the decision. Then because the ref made a bad call they decided to end the division there. It was supposed to be around round robin style bracket, meaning I would have had the chance to grapple against the other person in the division for second place. This didn’t happen, I didn’t care to investigate why and it’s sort of confirmed suspicions about the ability of the event organizers to put on tournament like this.

No Gi Match 1

Take Aways

This guy was a good Grappler and I got swept more times than I would have liked. All in all I tried my best and thats all I could do.

No Gi Match 2

Take Aways

I had a little bit of fun with this because I wasn’t concerned with a win or loss and I was grappling a teammate from an affiliate academy. I hadn’t met my opponent until today, but we chatted and were able to  bond over shared friends and martial arts experiences. I told him ahead of time that I was going to pull guard and apparently the ref was not a fan. Also no one told me that I forgot to take my watch off, so maybe I should have gotten a DQ for that.
 

Pictures

Grappling Industries Detroit

Read More

Fuji 2021

(the full matches are all at the bottom of this post)

Gi Finals

No Gi Finals

Sub highlights

Takedown highlights

Thoughts

This was one of the largest brackets I have competed in so far, with 13 people in the Gi division, probably slightly less in the no Gi division.

My mindset for this competition was to try to make the matches feel as normal as possible. My entire purpose in competing was to bring down the pre-match anxiety to a level equal to what I experience right before training, that is to say no anxiety. I find that the simmering emotions of grapplers waiting to compete will exhaust them before their matches, allowing cooler headed individuals to win in the moments that matter.

Medals

Full matches

Note: I only have one no Gi match (the finals) because I received a buy in for match #1 and my match #2 didn’t show up, so I won by default 

Submission win

Submission win

Submission win

6-15 Win

Fuji Jan 2021

Read More

MSOA 2020

(the full matches are all at the bottom of this post)

Match #1 Win

Match #2: Win

Match #3 Win

Thoughts

Lots of fun.

If I’m being completely honest, the only reason I competed was because I had a free entry and nothing better to do. At this point I was planning on just unwinding from my previous competitions. However, can’t say no to a free tournament. I ended up showing to my first match five minutes before it began with no time to warm up. I made quite the statement with the a under 30 second finish. The rest of the tournament went very well for me.

MSOA 2020

Read More

Baddest Blue Belt Tournament

$1,000 to the winner

Preliminaries

Quarter-Finals

Semi-Finals

True Third

Competition Thoughts

I left it all on the mats.

There was absolutely nothing else I could do to prepare for this tournament beyond what I did. My entire Focus for the past few months leading up to this event was on how I could be at my peak. I fully believe that I showed up and represented myself to the best of my abilities, I was a hair’s breadth away from competing in the finals and I surprised myself with how well I was able to perform. In retrospect, I wish I would have won, but that’s part of the game. However, there are never any regrets when you give it your all.

The Start Droplet Operations

My secret motivation for this tournament was to be the launching point for my entrepreneurial ventures.

This tournament was originally going to be an in-person only event. However, since my coach was the one who was the organizer I was able to suggest that a livestream be set up. I volunteered to do all of the work if I could split the proceeds from the pay-per-view sales 50/50. I wasn’t sure that I was able to figure out all the technical details, but I trusted in my ability to figure it out. Long story short, everything went off without a hitch and we sold 75 pay-per-views. A my eyes this was an outstanding success and soon after I picked up my first web design client sighting this project as previous experience. Droplet operations continues to grow to this day.

LogoDroppletOperations2.1

Baddest Blue Belt Tournament

Read More

My Professional Debut

This match is the most symbolically important fight of my career. This is the first time I got paid to grapple. It wasn’t much money, but it meant a lot to me.

To kick off the start of a black belt tournament that had a substantial cash prize there were two exhibition matches that took place before. Mine was the first match against an opponent who I didn’t know much about, but had heard that he won a large tournament at the blue belt level. I also knew that the winner of my match would get $50. I still have the check framed.

My check for winning

My Professional Debut

Read More

My Second Judo Tournament

Full matches

#1: Ippon Win

#2: Submission Win

Thoughts

Next time I compete, I need to go up in rank.

I had fun competing in this tournament, but I believe my Jiu-Jitsu experience gave me enough of an edge that I need to up my competition level. I’m not technically at the next judo belt rank, but if another tournament comes up I will see if they will let me register in the brown /back belt division. Due to the scattered nature of my Judo training I have never had an instructor stick with me long enough to promote me to higher belt ranks. I believe I can get someone who I know is a judo black belt to sign off on paper to let me compete if need be, but I am not sure when the next competition will be.

Trophy

I believe this tournament gave out medals and I may have it somewhere. If I find it I’ll upload a photo, but trust me I won.

My second Judo tournament

Read More