I’m now a blue belt.

I got a gold at the Ground Impact Amateur Grappling games. Won two fights, first was an absolute war (it felt like it, anyway) and I won on points. Second was a very lucky choke, which the boys at the gym have since nicknamed the Matt Choke.

Videos below.

Fight Report!

Well, it all came together well in the end.

My mangy toe got better. My knee almost got healed, and the weight just dropped off… I ended up weighing in at 68 kilos with the gi on (I had been aiming for 70!)

You can see some photos here, and I am uploading a couple of videos at the moment. Will update this post when they are done.

My friend Carl, who is somewhat of an amateur photographer, took some cool snaps so I will put those up when he gives them to me.

I came third, same as last year. Last year, though, I had three fights, and lost the last. This year I got seeded past the first round, so I only had to win once to get third place. I lost the next fight. As a result, I am not nearly so excited as I was last year. I really felt I could win last year. Unfortunately the level of competition was extremely high (except for my first opponent.)

You’ll see in the second video, the guy just mauled me. It was just a matter of time.

So, what happened? First fight went according to plan. I watched my opponent’s fight before mine (as I was seeded) and to be honest, they didn’t worry me at all. In fact, my nerves disappeared… I knew for a fact I could beat whoever won from that fight. So when the fight came around, I was in a good mood. As you can see in the video, I shot for a weak takedown but basically pulled guard. I tried to sweep him immediately but didn’t set it up properly so I gave up. I closed my guard, then went for the situp sweep, which missed. But a good follow up to the situp sweep is the kimura, which I went for. He sat up to defend it, lost his balance, and I could finish the sweep to mount. Got a few points there. I basically cruised around in the mount for a while. To be honest with you, he really didn’t feel very good, so I am not that happy with the win. Anyway, he squirmed around a bit and I ended up shifting to side control and then knee-on-belly. I looked at the ref waiting for the points for my sweeeeet knee-riding skills, but he didn’t give me any. Bastard. I later found out that it was because I had left a good position (the mount) and moved to a slightly inferior position (knee-ride) and so got the points for the mount but not for the knee. Something to remember! So the guy underneath squirmed around for a while, and I’m winning 10-0, and I can hear my teacher and team-mates sarcastically saying “Quit screwing around with points, you have enough. Now submit him.” Like it’s that easy! So after a couple of attempts I spin onto my back for the armbar. He tapped very quickly, I think I caught his arm and shoulder in some dodgy angle and he didn’t want to get injured. Fair enough.

So I moved onto the third round. Then I find out that my opponent is a fellow foreigner who just choked out his first opponent in about 4.5 seconds. Whoopdedoo. You can see him in the photo album linked to above. I was in the toilet taking my 500th whizz of the day when an American-sounding voice says “Hey, are you Matt?” It’s my opponent and, damn it all to hell, he’s an incredibly nice guy. I ask him if he has any terribly debilitating injuries. He informs me that he does but it’s a secret where. We wish each other luck and I notice that he is built like a shit brickhouse and crap in my pants a little. Later we get out on the mat to fight and my guts figuratively drop out my belly as I realise I don’t really have a gameplan. We start fighting and circle each other. He isn’t attacking at all, so I imagine he is up to something sneaky. When I reach out to grab his lapel and he doesn’t try to stop me, I know I’ve made a mistake, but too late as he leaps and drags me down into a flying armbar. Surprising myself, I manage to escape and posture up… sweet! And then I absent-mindedly put my arm under his leg. Big mistake, that was the beginning of the end. I don’t know what the fuck I was thinking. Some kind of guard pass. I believe it’s known as the Gracie Gift… guaranteed to get yourself fucking triangled. Sure enough he capitalised on it. I thought for a second someone had replaced his legs with two giant iron mechanical vices, but no, he was just mega strong. He clamped everything on so tight I almost wanted to tap right there, but I held on. I managed to posture up a few times but he was so persistent. When I let my arm flap out, he grabbed it and started wrenching it up for a shoulder lock. I almost tapped, but rolled to my back as a last-ditch attempt to ease the pressure. It worked, but he got the mount and just changed his angle of attack to a straight armbar. Mega-ouchy, me tappy, me day over.

But damn, he was such a nice guy, it really didn’t feel bad to lose. Plus, he was way, way better than me. I could feel it. He went through to the finals and won a really close match which I don’t think I would have survived in. I was meant to lose this tournament. I don’t have enough experience yet. I have only competed twice in two years, nowhere near enough. Most of these guys are doing three or four a year. So this comp was a wake-up call, with a bronze medal as a bonus.

It was a really great day. There was a good atmosphere within our team. Three or four guys came from the dojo who weren’t even fighting, just to give us support. They even brought their uniforms and rolled around with us or worked techniques. When everyone was warming up, we were the only group (out of about 80 people) to warm up as a team, in a circle. That felt good, it gave us a feeling of family, of being in it together.

All in all it was a great day. The next comp is the All Japans in Tokyo, I think I will skip that. Then G.I. (Ground Impact) Grappling Games or something in July. If all goes well I will do that and hopefully work my way up the medal table!


First Fight:

Second Fight: