Category: Grappling

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

MSOA 2019

My First Blue Belt Competition

Match #1 Loss

Match #2 Win

Match #3 Loss

Thoughts

My official rank for jiu jitsu at this point in time was a white belt with two or three stripes. I wanted to compete at blue belt however, because I had a good amount of previous experience training at another Jiu-Jitsu gym and at the CMU Judo Club. It was a big accomplishment for me just to see that I could hang with this level of competitor. My first match was not a win, but I was happy that it wasn’t a shutout. The fact that I was able to get at least one victory was really amazing. My final match, I’m just happy my ankle didn’t get hurt and I tapped in time. Having gone on to other competitions since the time of this one I can say that this was a huge milestone for raising the bar that I hold myself too.

MSOA 2019

Read More

My First Judo Tournament

Full matches

#1: Submission win

#2: Ippon Win

#3 Ippon Win

#4 Ippon Win

#1: Submission win

#2: Ippon Win

#3 Ippon Win

#4 Ippon Win

Thoughts

This was my first time competing in a judo competition. This was a different and exciting experience because I was competing with my friends from the judo club.

While it is true that I will never forget the matches in the competition, what I will remember more is the camaraderie and bonding we had traveling down to MSU and back. It was very snowy out and we almost didn’t make it back home because of some car problems. After all was said and done it was a very fun and valuable experience that I’m sure no one who went will forget.

Trophy

trophy

My first Judo tournament

Read More