My arm was abit twingy still but I decided not to give myself any excuses and to man up. So the next day I woke up very early and made my way down to the Roger Gracie Academy in london, on the way meeting Brian "the lionheart" Earle from our club. The comp was a very informal affair and was mostly to give some guys some valuable comp experience, have some fun and to help out a charity. Met Alex Hare who trains at RGA Mill Hill with Nick Brookes, who I have been recently talking to as he is a friend of Matt at Martialfarts.com. Nick G leads all of us throug a group warm up which was a great idea as I dont think the others would of warmed up otherwise.
Im gonna try keep my fight descriptions concise or else this is gonna go on forever.
The organisers give us a little bit of detail on the charity and thank us for the money - Its a Kenyan relief charity for a hospital dealing with terminal care. One of the doctors who worked there who trains at RGA was one of the organisers.
Nick Brookes and Helio are our refs with Daniel Strauss doing the scoring.
First fight is up and its me! vs Dale Jones. This is the 3rd time in a row Ive started my division off. Ive met Dale before who is a tough kid (orange belt) and has more competition experience than me. We get started and he quickly pulls guard on me. Which is where I want to be, but as I start with passing and get to half guard I realise his very comfortable there. And gets a few dangerous looking grips on me. I pass but cant stay there for long as he gets me back in half guard sharpish. He tries for a scissor sweep from a semi open guard but I sprawl well back. I pass a few times but each time he puts me back. Which is very annoying, Im up on points but one good sweep from him and Im over. In the end time runs out and I get the win. I felt like I used to much muscle there and not enough technique, props to Dale for being a constant threat though.
Brian has a fantastic showing in his fight, starting off by getting his back taken he then defends, escapes, takes side and then there back! winning on a bunch of points.
Guy called Gareth, we get to his guard quickly ( I take him down) and seems VERY tense and rigid. A good sign to me that Im gonna wipe the floor with him. He goes after a triangle as I start passing but its gets a little closer than I would like, I get both my arms back in though. I then get myself ready for another go at passing but he flings his hips high and locks in a good armbar. His hips are also blocking me pulling my armback to within a safe range where I can defend, so I have to tap. Good match! and Ill talk abit later on what Ive learnt from it.
I consider bowing out as my arm is hurting abit now but decide not to and just to keep a mental note on tapping very early if anyone goes after it. I wouldnt even be able to defend an armbar on it. I decide its time to have abit of fun as well, since its such an informal comp. I make up my mind to go for a flying triangle. I grab a single sleeve and jump as high as I can but he blocks with his far arm and I end up in guard, I quickly try go for an armbar off it but he defends well. I get back into full guard. He tries to escape but at a risk of sounding like Gandalf - HE COULD NOT PASS. I put an arm underneath his leg, rotate and flings my legs up to get the pendelum sweep. The crowd cheers!. I then establish mount but dont have to defend it hard as he then tries to cross collar choke me.... . Oh dear. I start working for a choke of my own once he realises his wont work, he starts bridging to escape and goes to roll onto his side. But he leaves an arm behind and I spin into an armbar and I get it. I get alot of props for this fight, these guys love sweeps and transitions!
Ollie says its the final for bronze and Im fighting Dale again!. I decide its to dangerous to let him have another go at his game so I decide to take him out of it. I go for the same setup and move again, another failed flying triangle but I get full guard. We tussle for abit as I try go for a situp sweep. An arm comes loose and I jump on it and get a kimura grip, he defends by grabbing his trousers. I work it for a little bit trying to then turn it back into a situp sweep but never give up on the group. I get a little bit more leverage and start to put on the pressure, it suddenly comes on very fast and he turns his arm straight. I carry on with the pressure whilst turning to the side and he taps and I goto let go but a small bit of momentum from turn him over is still there and his arms makes a horrible sound. Like slowly stepping on a pack of Quavers. I instantly apoligised and felt incredibly bad (still do). He says his ok and Nick gets him to move his arm to see if its broken and its not. I keep on saying sorry. Worst win ever. Dale slings it up and ices it, apperantly its also a recurring injury which I dont know is a good thing or bad. But hopefully he will be able to train as normal quickly.
I go against a French guy who is very new but showed some natural skills. Daniel Strauss is looking after my glasses and tells me if I dont win I dont get them back. We start. I grab one armsleeve, throw my legs up but I dont clear his far shoulder. So I end up in guard on the way down, As I go down I transition to an armbar. Its on tight and I go belly down. Helio from the side shouts "stop", but Nick is reffing. I stop...I look at Nick who didnt stay stop. I apply a little bit of extra pressure and whilst he doesnt tap Nick then calls a stop to the match. The guy didnt complain but seemed abit confused. Unless he had rubber elbows the armbar was fully on.
Theres another fight apperantly!
This guy looks big for our weight class (mind you we didnt weigh in!). I go for my new found gameplan and go for the flying triangle. Didnt get it again!. I get full guard and keep on trying to work the pendelum sweep but am having abit of trouble. He stays very far forward and tight to me. Trying to ezekial me!. lol I move my head next to his ear and tell him "you wont ezekial me in my guard". I defend it and start working to make room, in wiggling about he gets my half guard. I shrimp down and take the risk of swapping my controlling legs. I then bridge away and roll him over for the sweep. I then work to pass his half guard. But he makes it hard and I end up in guard. I start trying to break his guard and he is getting very tired. Perhaps a little to loudly and not very sportsmanlike I tell him to dig deep. To his credit he does and suprises me with the sudden energy. He starts a scramble. I get a leg but his on top, I keep on pushing for the takedown and its a long time but I get it. But only to briefly as we scramble again and I get guard. I secure an arm, lift hips, twist, fling my leg over his head and put downward pressure on. I get the armbar! with 6 seconds to go.
Brian is a like a juggernaut and plows through his opposition. Getting to the final without loss. This one falls out of his game plan slightly and the guy gets an armbar from his back in a similar fashion to how I was beaten.
2 Andy roberts fighters - 2 medals. We are happy.
Alex puts in a good showing doing very well, dont get to fight him myself but would be fun.
I talk quite abit to Nick Brookes who Ive seen around a lot but never had the chance to talk to. Which was great as he was a really friendly guy with a great training philosophy that I admired. He tells me he has never seen so many ezekial chokes!, very true. Perhaps an indicator of some sort. He tells me he liked my style which made my day, and offers to roll off Im still around later.
I also noticed alot of attempted subs from within the guard, and some people actually getting them which is even worse and not good for the victor as its gonna teach them bad habits.
DONT TRY TO FUCKING CHOKE SOMEONE IN THEIR GUARD!
Its become a pet pieve of mine recently.
Nic G has a blackbelt super fight against a 8 year old ginger kid!. Very funny and made the kid very happy.
In the end a very enjoyable event and met alot of new friendly faces, thank you to everyone for their kind words!. Great bit of experience and the most amount of fights Ive had in a single tourney. Mauricio was also there but didnt get to say hello.
Me and Brian have to leave so we say our goodbyes.
Right now onto the outcome:
Half guard sweep
Pulling guard (although was always plan B - Plan A = flying triangle)
Transitions into subs
Calm and confident
Need to work on:
Inside guard defense (the big one)
Control and pressure from the top
Breaking open guard
Submission control (to stop injury to opponent)
Avoiding being put back into guard/half guard
Will add photo's and any vids as they appear. Congrats Brian!, Sorry Dale!, Well done Alex!.