Friday, 27 December 2013

Tournament Draw Systems Explained - Part 2 Double Elimination

Welcome back to this series on tournament draw systems.  Part one introduced the series and talked about the single elimination system.  This is part 2 and we shall talk about Double Elimination.

There are 3 main variations of Double Elimination:

  1. Modified Double
  2. True Double
  3. Double with Repechage.
Modified double is the simplest, true double is a bit more complicated and the repechage is where things get a little crazy.   Most events that use a double elimination system tend to use the modified double elimination, but the Repechage system is what is used at very high level sport events such as the Olympics.  The repechage system itself has a lot of variations, but we will get to that when we get to that.

The basic concept of double elimination is similar to single elimination, where you have rounds, and the winners move down the tree.  The difference is, once you lose, you move down to the losers bracket and have an opportunity to fight for 3rd at the very least, and in some cases, silver, or even a shot at gold.

Let's start with Modified Double Elimination. In this system,  The person who doesn't lose any gets gold, the person who loses in the final gets silver, and the winner of the losers bracket gets bronze.  Sometimes you will have the two people who got to the end of the losers bracket get bronze, but usually, in modified double, there is only 1 bronze.  Confused yet?  Let's look at a picture.  We will start with a simple 8 person division, just like we did for single elimination.

8 person modified double no fight for silver
As you can see, the concept of rounds / quarters / semis/finals gets a little muddled, because of the dual bracket, but once you follow the Ws and Ls it's pretty clear how it all works.   The losers of the first round of the top bracket fill in the first round of the bottom bracket.  The winners of the first round of the bottom bracket move on to the second round of the bottom bracket, where they are joined by the losers of the 2nd round of the top bracket. 

The losers of the 1st round of the bottom bracket have now lost twice, and are out, they place 7th.   The losers of the 2nd round of the bottom bracket have no lost twice as well, and place 5th.  The winners of the 2nd round of the bottom bracket move on to the "final" of the bottom bracket, this is the fight for third place.  The winner gets bronze/third, and the loser gets 4th.   At the top bracket,  the third round is the final, the winner gets gold, the losers gets silver.  

In this example,  the gold medal winner has zero losses, silver has 1 loss, and bronze also has one loss. This is where one sometimes,  the loser of the final, will drop down to the bottom bracket, and fight for silver/bronze.  Like this:
8 person modified double w/ fight for silver
 Here, Alasdair loses in the final, drops down to the bottom bracket, and beats Bruce, to win the silver, and Bruce gets bronze.  

There is one other detail to keep in mind with double elimination.  In the second round of the bottom bracket, the losers switch sides.  L7 goes to the bottom half, while L8 goes to the top. This is so that they don't fight someone they have already fought.  Fighting someone you have already fought becomes unavoidable at the very end in the fight for silver/bronze sometimes. As you can see Alasdair and Bruce fought in the 2nd round of the top bracket, and then they fought again in the last fight of the bottom bracket. 

13 person modified double elimination bracket
As you can see, once you start having divisions with weird numbers, the byes complicate matters, as do the extra rounds, but the concept is still the same.  When you lose at the top, you move down to the bottom, and when you lose in the bottom, you are out,  keep winning, and you can work your way back to medal contention.   Like in the 8 person division, some events may chose to have the loser of the last fight on the top bracket drop down to face the last fight of the bottom bracket for silver, this way gold has 0 losses, silver has 1, and bronze has 2.

True double works almost the same as either of these modified doubles, except that the winner of the bottom bracket gets a chance at the winner of the top bracket.  In this case,  they need to beat the winner of the top bracket TWICE to get the gold, while the winner of the top bracket needs to beat the winner of the bottom bracket just once.  Thus everyone except the Gold medal winner has lost twice, in true DOUBLE elimination style.   This isn't a super common way of running the sheets, but it does happen, and it's kind of interesting to see if the underdog can take the cake. 

There are 3 ways that a true double elimination draw can end.  #1, the winner of the top brackets defeats the winner of the bottom bracket the first time. In this case, it's over, top winner gets gold, bottom winner gets silver.
True double, the shortest ending.

The second option is, the winner of the bottom bracket wins the first fight against the winner of the top bracket, setting them each to 1 loss each. Then the winner of the top bracket wins the 2nd fight, for gold, while the loser gets silver.
True double, top bracket winner still wins
Finally, the winner of the bottom bracket gets the upset, defeating the winner of the bottom bracket twice in a row, and taking gold, while the loser gets silver.
The ultimate upset, true double, with the bottom bracket winner taking the gold

So, this leaves us with the final, most complicated version of double elimination, the repechage.  Like all the others, there are a couple ways that this can work, but the general idea is,  if you lose, then the person that beat you has to win in order or you to get to the losers bracket.  

In they Olympics, for judo, this only applies if you lose to the four athletes in the semi(they split the athletes into 2 pools and do a repechage for each side, this picture shows how it would work with only 1 pool), lose to anyone else, and your out.  It sounds kind of complicated, but once you see it, it's not to bad.  

This system is used when divisions are large(ish), so I will use a 16 person division to illustrate it.  Sometimes, only the people who lose in the quarter finals get a second chance, which makes for a much smaller repechage bracket.   All the times I have seen repechage in action, the winner of the repechage gets bronze, while the finalists get gold/silver respectively.

You see that Matt and Alex are the finalists, so everyone who lost to them, goes into the repechage. The people who lost in the first and second round face each other, then the winner of that faces the person who lost in the third round. Then the two people left in the repechage fight each other for bronze, and the finalists of the top bracket fight for gold/silver.

So that pretty much covers the basics of the double elimination style.  Modified double is probably my favourite of all styles. It's efficient, and slightly more accurate at determining the podium then single elimination can be. I can't say whether I like the version where the final loser gets silver or if there is a fight for silver best, either is good. In theory, true double is the most accurate style, but to have to beat the top guy twice seems inefficient, and takes a long time, especially when you factor in the rest times between matches and whatnot.  

The third and final post in this series will be on the round robin system.  like single and double elimination, there are different ways of doing the draws in a round robin format.  

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Tournament Draw Systems Explained - Part 1 (Single Elimination)

The idea for this post came to me this morning, in that half awake / half asleep phase of waking up in the morning.  With more and more tournaments popping up, each with there own little ways of doing things I thought it would be good to do a post on the various draw systems that exist out there.

There are three main draw systems that are are used in competitions (and not just jiu jitsu, all sorts of sports and games use these systems).
  1. Single Elimination
  2. Double Elimination
  3. Round Robin
There are all sorts of variations on these three, and systems that combine them as well.  

Let's start with the simplest system:  Single Elimination.  This is what the IBJJF uses, and so does the OJA (for adults), and many other tournament organizers around the world.  The name says it all, if you lose once, you are out.  There are potentially 2 cases where there is an exception to the "single" part.  
  1. If it is a division of 3.  These are done in a weird way.
  2. Some tournaments will give 2 bronze medal, and some will have a fight to determine the third place.  This is often referred to as having a fight for "true third".

So, what does a standard single elimination bracket look like?  Let's start with the simplest case possible, an 8 person division.  Here is a sample of a standard, complete 8 person division.  As you can see, there are 7 matches in an 8 person division, with the winner of each match moving along the tree towards the final line. 

In all my sample draws, the red number will indicate the match number,  the blue is for the competitor names,  the green indicates who goes on that line, and the pink represents what that "round" is typically called.  

Sample Standard 8 complete 8 person draw sheet

So, in this case, the quarter finals are the first round, and the first fight is Mike Vs Ahmed and Mike wins.   The second fight is Adam vs Mandie, and Mandie wins. The third fight is Alasdair vs Matt and Alasdair wins, and the fourth fight is Stanlee vs Bruce and Bruce wins. The winners go to the next round and the losers are done.  Technically, if you lose in the quarter finals, you are part of a 4 way tie for 5th, while the winners move on to the semi finals.

In the first fight of the  semis(match number 5),  Mike faces Mandie, and Mandie wins again, moving on to the final.  The second fight of the semis Alasdair faces Bruce and Alasdair wins, moving on to the final.  Now, Mike and Bruce are out, tying for 3rd place.  

The final between Mandie an Alasdair is the 7th match.  Mandie wins, so is 1st, and Alasdair gets 2nd.

Here is a slightly modified case, for the tournaments that have only 1 third place.   As you can see,  there is an extra match.  The fight for 3rd usually happens before the final, so it is now match #7, and the final becomes match #8.   The losers of match #5 and Match #6 fight for third. The winner will be awarded the "true third".
I mentioned earlier that 3 person divisions were a little wacky.  There are 2 ways that a three person division can play out.   

Here is the first way:

It looks almost like a standard 4 person division, except that the fourth competitors place is filled in with the loser of the first match.  This is the way it works always.  The difference in how it plays out is determined by who wins the second match.   In this case,  Adam, who hasn't fought Ahmed yet,  won, so Adam moves on to face Ahmed in the final and Mike gets third place. Then, Adam, who wins the final,  gets first, while Ahmed, who lost the final, gets second place.

So, what happens if Mike wins the second match instead of Adam?  In this case,  the final does not happen, because Ahmed has already beat Mike (in the first match), So, Ahmed gets first, Mike gets second, and Adam gets third.
For single elimination, the more competitors you have, the more rounds there are,  so if there is between 9 and 16, there will be a round of 16 (which will have 8 or less fights in it), If there is between 17 and 32, there will be a round of 32.  For tournaments like the worlds, where there are divisions of 100+ the same system still applies, It is just broken down onto different pages, but the exact same process as a 8 person division is still followed.  There are just a lot more rounds. 

The complex part of single elimination comes when there are divisions sizes that don't end up perfect. The ideal sizes are: 2,4,8,16,32,64, 128, ect.  When a division doesn't have this number, then you end up with "byes" in the first round of matches.  A bye is when some competitors do not have to compete in the first round.  This is done so that the division can be narrowed down to a size that will work out nicely after that first round. 

Here is an example for a division of 13.  I've added a new colour, yellowish green, for Byes.  The byes fill in the blanks for fighters that don't exist.  Different tournaments / draw systems will represent this differently on their sheets, but the end result is the same.  Not everyone has a fight in the round of 16.  

The byes will be as evenly distributed as possible.  We don't put 3 byes at the top of the sheet and none at the bottom, or else the sheet will be lopsided. I do not know the exact formula for where the byes go, just that they are evenly spread out.   In this case, It kind of looks like I have 3 at the bottom, but Matt's bye is in the top half of the bracket while the other two are in the bottom half of the bracket.
Sample 13 person division to illustrate byes
As you can see, Matt, Dave, and Alex do not have to fight anyone in the first round, and automatically advanced to the Quarter Finals. Sometimes this will be represented by their name not appearing in the draw until the 2nd round,  and sometimes it is represented by the line for their first opponent just being blank.  I choose to illustrate it this way, so that you can see how the general structure o the sheet is still the same.

In this case, the people who lose in the "Quarter Finals" are a 4 way tie for 5th, and the guys who lose in the "Round of 16" are tied for 9th.

This is long enough for 1 post,   part 2 will be on double elimination and the various version of that system.  It starts off very similar to single elimination, but gets a little crazy depending on which variation is being used.  It's also my favourite base style.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

OJA Provincials Nov 30th 2013 Report

There is so much to talk about for this tournament!  It was my first competition back since the whole shoulder incident back in early may,  we had a really great team turnout, I refereed, I competed, I was in a gymnasium for 14 hours straight.  Good times.

I guess I will talk a little bit about the tournament itself first.  It was held at Brock University, in St. Catherines.  At first, I thought this was a pretty terrible idea, it's I didn't think anyone was going to bother making the trip out there, It's a long ass drive for anyone east of the GTA.  I think the location did affect who turned out, but a huge crew from Ottawa made the trek, which pretty much makes anyone elses excuse for distance invalid.

The distribution of competitors was not the norm, but there was a LOT of them there. I believe the had over 700 registrations (if someone does gi and nogi they count as 2).  There was a LOT of kids, and it seemed like more masters and seniors then a lot of other local events.  Some of the blue belt divisions were pretty sparse, but some of the purples had more then others.  On the ladies side of things, the distribution was even stranger.  There were 4 of us in a single weight class in purple and up.  Tiffany did move up from medium heavy, but still.  4.  in one weight class.  Even 3 would have been something worth mentioning.  The blue belts were also clumped together pretty well.

 The gym was very large, but had very little seating room.  It worked out ok, because there was a lot of room around the competition area to stand, but without bleachers, there wasn't really good place to store your gear and be able to sit to watch the matches.  This venue would be pretty ideal, if they had a way to bring in some bleachers along the one wall.  It was very bright, which was great for photos/videos  and the bathrooms were kept clean, and were very close to the gym which is also very nice.

The parking, in the cheap lot, was $7 for the day, not unreasonable, but it wasn't advertised. There also wasn't signs pointing towards the lot, until you got off the main entry road to the gym and were right on top of it.  I know a bunch of people ended up in the expensive lot, and paid $2.50 an hour to park!  When you are there from 8:30 am till 10:30 pm, that adds a pretty significant expense to the day.

The tournament staff was very friendly, and all the table workers I worked with were good at their jobs.  They kept the kids around, they got the scores right, and were very pleasant to work with.  There is always going to be one or two cases of them pressing the start/stop a bit off, but nothing disastrous happened.  It did seem like they were a few volunteers short, especially towards the end of the day.  Referees were working tables because there was no one else to do it.  I know it is very difficult to staff an event of this scale, especially with volunteers and especially when it goes so late.  Props to the ones who stuck around till the end.  People like you keep the jiu jitsu world going.

The event started almost on time, I want to say about 10 or 15 minutes late.  Which isn't to bad, when you consider how many kids registered for the wrong divisions.  There was a lot of talk on the interwebs about how to keep the kids from holding up the entire day.  There is no perfect solution, but I think that running them on a few mats, instead of taking up the entire morning and early afternoon on them would get things running better.  I also thing that the tournament needs to be 2 days.  A lot of people say that this is to hard for out of towners, but let's be honest, no one who is an out of towner want's to have to be at a tournament for 14 or 15 hours, then drive home that night anyway.

The tournament ended up being about 2 hours behind by mid-afternoon.  It was a multitude of small things piled on top of each other that causes this to happen. Kids not being what they say,  kids going to the bathroom, adults going to the bathroom, having a lot of the referees also compete (guilty as charged, it causes shortages).  Volunteers needing breaks or the bathroom, lunch, watching their kids, ect, ect ect.  None of these things on their own will cause a serious delay, but they add up.  One thing that I think would help a lot, would be queuing up divisions on mats.  It seemed like they didn't start looking for the next division to run on a mat, until the previous one was 100% complete.  This leaves a mat empty for at least 5 minutes, and sometimes much much longer.  You can't go to crazy queuing up divisions and matches, or if you get a serious injury or the like, you end up with even worse delays and one mat running way way later then the others.

I got to referee a division of really great kids,  It was a white belt division, but these kids had some serious skill.  The two that stuck out most were Dash, and Malick.  Dash had more energy than I have ever scene, and his coach did a really amazing job focusing him and his energy throughout his matches.  Malick was cool as a cucumber in his matches, showed great technique, always listened to me and was really kind to the kids he fought.

I refereed some of the nogi blue belt matches at the end of the day,  by this point, we had been working/competing for 12 hours with very little rest/breaks.  I reffed a match with Remy, from one of the ascension schools.  He had some really nice jiu jitsu, and was very polite.  He swept a guy from an ankle lock attempt and I totally missed the points. He very politely asked me about them, and I got out of my haze and awarded them. I could have penalized him, in theory, but that would probably be against the spirit of the rules.  At this point, I realized I was pretty brain dead, and a couple of the remaining referees got together and used the  reff system to finish off the day.  None of us were fresh enough to be doing the job alone anymore.  I got over ruled on a couple calls (when I was a corner). 2 of which were excessive celebration penalties after a win.  They wouldn't have made a difference in any of the matches, but I think that people need to know that they could be penalized for it, and at big events like pans, worlds, ect the referees WILL penalize you for things that may or may not be excessive, if they are feeling negative.  To me, being a bit anal about it locally, will help them keep to the straight and narrow when they get to the big leagues.

Warning: Rant:
This tournament is labeled the "Provincials"  but it is open to people who aren't from Ontario. This is m biggest pet peeve about it.  I know it's just a label, but when you are trying to build the sport into a model that follows other olympic sports, and are trying to make it legit.  Having Americans compete in it, makes the name a sham.  There were some great competitors out, from non-ontario, and it's great that they come to the events we have here, because it gives our guys good matches, but I feel like the tournament called provincials is not the place for that to happen. I have the same issue with the IBJJF "Nationals" and grapplers quest "world championships" and even the IBJJF "worlds" and "Pans".  When I told my co-workers about the tournament they were like "oh yea, so if you win you go to nationals?"  no... "oh, is there qualifiers for it?"  no... "oh, so why is it provincials?"  who knows.

End of rant.

Alright, now that I have that little rant out of the way, let's talk about my first competition back in 7 months.  As you probably know, at the Ontario Open last year, I got kimuraed and my shoulder wasn't to happy about it.  There are some tears in there now, and it took pretty much 6 months of not using it a lot and doing physio ect to get it to a manageable state.  I did have a surgery scheduled for February, but have since canceled it.   I was pretty nervous about competing with it, but it held up fine.

In my weight class, I faced Natalia in the first round.  We fought a long long time ago, when I think I was still a white belt! She arm barred me pretty quick.  She is also coming off some time off, from over training and being burnt out.  It was awesome to see her back on the mats, and having fun.  I won that first fight by kata ha jime, which is like a collar choke from 1/2 having there back.   In the final, I faced my more local (and less one sided) nemisis, Tiffany.  I had a good plan going into the match, and almost executed it, but left my arm in the wrong spot and she took care of that pretty quickly.  I cannot make any mistakes fighting her!   we are now 3 wins for Tiffany, 2 wins for me.  I hope to even that score back up in 2014 :).

In the absolute, which was actually the same 4 competitors, because like I mentioned earlier, we were all together, I drew Caitlin in the first round.  The only time I had competed with Caitlin in the past was at a zombie house back when we were both blue belts.  We had a great round and I had scored 2 armbars on her back then.   I got a good judo throw on her to side control, and managed to maintain that position for a few minutes,  I got knee on belly a few times, but didn't maintain it long enough most of the time to score the points.  I was looking for mount, armbars, chokes, taking the back, but her defense was very good.  I got sloppy on an armbar, and the match spiraled out of control in a hurry.  We ended up with her on my back out of bounds and when we reset in the middle I quickly got the hook out, and scrambled like crazy.   I don't remember what the score ended up being at the end, but it was a little to close for comfort.  I hope she competes a lot in 2014, because it was a really really fun match!

In the purple+ absolute final, I faced Natalia again.  She fought Tiffany in the first round, and won on points.  SO we had both had a full 8 minute length match. 8 was a weird choice for match length. Purple belt matches are 7, and black are 10, not sure where the 8 came from, because we were supposed to be fighting black belt rules.  Or maybe they went down to brown, since brown was the highest in the division.  That actually makes sense.  Anyway,  I don't remember how the match started, but I ended up in side control, and was looking for armbars and knee on belly some more.  I got my hand in deep in her collar and got a paper cutter choke for the win.

The last match of the day was against Tamara, who won the blue belt absolute.  This was the match for the trip.  It was black belt rules, 8 minute match.  I don't remember exactly how it started either, but we ended up coming up, she was trying to get to my back and I was like "Oh hey, black belt rules, let's go for a knee bar".  I admit, it was in the back of my head all day to try to get a leg lock of some kind, I blame Egor the leg lock king.  We ended up with me turtled fishing for the knee for quite some time, not a very exciting bit of jiu jitsu there, but I realized she was sitting to heavy for me to get roll and extension for the knee bar so I grabbed her foot for the toe hold instead.  I rolled through and got the tap.

Going into this tournament, my only real goal was to not get hurt.  coming off of the long layoff, which was just coming off of another layoff from a concussion, I really just wanted to be able to go home in one piece and be able to compete again soon.  The trip was always in the back of my head, but I wasn't going into the day thinking "I am going to win that trip".  That being said, man, am I ever glad I did.  It was an amazing birthday present to myself to earn it.  I was semi-planning on going to pans anyway, but I just spent 1600 bucks on my car, so that plan was a bit up in the air as of the week before the tournament.

So, it was a pretty great day for me,  It was also a pretty good day for my team!  We had a good sized group out, I think about 18 competitors or so, not bad for a club who's 4th year anniversary is coming up! The kids looked great out there. They didn't all win medals, but they showed great jiu jitsu and a great attitude.

One thing that was pretty funny for me to see was some of them being a little to active and not holding a position long enough to get their points.  We always encourage them in the gym to not camp out and to keep moving, but they took it a bit to far and went mount, side, mount, side, mount side, back and forth, for like 1 second each. I guess it's something we will have to clarify a bit with them when the roll.  One thing I saw from a lot of the kids divisions was kids getting to mount and not going anywhere from there.  It's the downside to not having any submissions, but it lead to some pretty frustrated kids, who just got stuck in mount for 3 minutes.  Let's be honest, if all the person in mount is doing is trying to stay there, it's really really really hard to get out.  I feel like stalling could/should still be called from there, if they aren't looking to go to the back control, or something. I don't really know what the solution is to this.

It was great to see Brad out competing again.  He had a pretty long layoff for his tooth situation and ended up taking home the gold medal in his division after a very close final match.  Will be good to have him back on the tournament circuit with the rest of us crazies.

I could write a paragraph about every single team mate who competed, but that would get pretty boring for you guys, so I will just add 1 more thing about all that.  It was great to see Stephen earn a couple silver medals.  He's had a pretty rough go of things, with touch draws, close matches and has been kept off the podium at blue till now.  He avenged a loss from earlier in the year, and showed some pretty slick jiu jitsu through out the day.

Last bit about my teammates competing I swear.  Alasdair and Bruce had a really exciting match.  There was quite the crowd watching them and it was intense!  Alasdair won on points after Bruce evaded and gutted out of all his submission attempts.  I think these two will have a great friendly rivalry going for 2014.

Pura closed it's doors for the day for this tournament, so everyone could come out and support the team.  It was AMAZING to have so many people out cheering, hanging around, and supporting us competitors.  It really helps when you are in a tough match to hear someone cheer for you.  I've been to tournaments completely alone, and it didn't really bother me that much, but after having so much support and seeing the team all together like that, I never want to compete alone again.  By the time my absolute was over, there wasn't a lot of people left, but a few stuck around and it was amazing to be able to share that experience with them.  I totally don't blame, or hate on, or hold it against anyone who didn't stick around, those kids were from there from like 8am, and I didn't finish fighting till at least 8pm.  The fact that so many non-competitors came out to watch, and that so many competitors stayed longer then they needed to was amazing.  So, Thank You ALL for your support at the event, and every day at the club.

Changing gears again...

It was sad to hear/see that someone had stolen all the gold medals and a lot of the silvers.  Word on the street is it was some random kids, but no one will every probably know.  This just highlights the need for more staff at events like this.  The OJA handled the situation though, and will be mailing out the medals to all the people who did not get one.  They had a set for doing the awards and pictures for though, which was nice.

This tournament wraps up the 2013 season in Ontario.  There isn't any more competitions until January.  January and early 2014 is looking pretty busy, with a couple sub onlys, ascension, pro trials and a mysterious tournament from the cbjjf apparently coming to town.  The OJA sub only is going to be in Kitchener, which will be a pretty good change of scenery.  I like that the OJA is moving tournaments around the province, I know the GTA has a pretty good chunk of the competitors in the povince, but contrary to popular belief, Toronto isn't the centre of the universe, and they should be willing to make a short trip out of their bubble for a few events a year.

I think that's about it.  I feel like I am missing some things that I wanted to talk about, but this is pretty long now, So I guess they can wait, or be forgotten or whatever.   I am planning on writing a 2013 recap/ summary/looking back post in the new little while It will probably be combined with a looking forward to 2014 type things.  Highlight the events I am looking forward to, and my goals for the year.

Cheers!  See you on the mats!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Grappling Industries : Pans Edition (Toronto) Oct 26th 2013

Last Weekend was an insanely busy weekend for me.  It started out on Friday evening with a Matthew Good concert at Hamilton place.   Jon loves Matt good, so he goes to see him whenever he is semi-close by.  It was a really good show, even though Matt was a bit sick.

I am pretty sure he was sick last time he was in Hamilton to, so maybe he is just allergic to the city.  We met up with some friends before the show and I ate poutine and cheescake.  "But Patricia", you say, "that's not keto at all".  No, it is not, every once and a while, when my schedule get's crazy, I take a break and eat lots of terrible food.  Last weekend was one of those weekends.  I felt pretty crummy because of it, and every time i do it i swear not to. But then a few months later I'll do it again.  It's a good reminder of why I eat the way I do.

After the show everyone wanted to go out drinking and for another bite to eat (at like 11:30 PM).   I declined and drove Jon's car home because I didn't want to referee on  2 or 3 hours of sleep.  The sacrifices I make for you people, you have no idea haha.   Of course, I still didn't get a great nights sleep because of all the ringing, and Jon not being home till who knows when.  He was the smart one, didn't register or the competition because he knew he'd be in bad shape for it.

Anyway,  the referees were supposed to be there for 8:20am, so we could have a little meeting, get organized and get the show going on time.  Surprise, Surprise, only 2 or 3 of us were there at the expected time, and a couple strolled in only a couple minutes before nine.  It would have been nice to have said meeting, so I could be more informed when people come up and ask me questions about divisions I am not refereeing.  I am not going to name names, or point fingers, but come on guys, if we want to be treated like professionals, let's act like them by being on time and being professional at all times.

I had a very good experience as a referee last weekend.  I wasn't yelled at once!!  It was amazing.   I did have to ask one coach to stop yelling at a fellow referee, but they didn't yell at me, and stopped yelling at the other referee as well.  I also had one or two questions where people were unsure about why advantages were scored they way they were, but they were quite polite about it, and very respectful of my explanations and decisions.  It was really refreshing.  Now, all this could be because I had to leave around 3, and missed most of the nogi, but I like to think it's because the spectators, coaches, and competitors are becoming more respectful and maybe even learning the rules.

One thing, looking back, that happened more then I would like, was me making simple scoring mistakes.  Once I scored 2 for a pass instead of 3,  and once I scored 2 for a  sweep, when it was actually a reversal (fighter A swept straight to mount, maintained for 3, then got reversed, i scored 2,4 then 2 for the other).  BUT,  in both cases,  I realized my error and fixed it well before the match was complete.   Getting the score board right after mistakes like that can be a bit of a challenge, especially when the score keepers are spending more time on their phones then paying attention to the match.  This seemed like a bigger problem on Saturday then it normally is, but I am not sure why.  Some of the regulars were not there, and perhaps the new people were not explained enough about how important paying close attention was.  There were no crisis's because of it, but it was fairly frustrating.

The event started a couple minutes late,  this is not the norm for grappling industries, but I think that, with all the changes to the process of weighing in and whatnot that were made for this event, it is not surprising, and is forgivable.   A lot of people showed up just before weighins closed so they ended up bogging down the weighin line and causing that to go late.   I think a stricter cut-off would help with this, and perhaps having 2 weighin scales, so that the rushes could be handled more efficiently.  Having a "check" scale would alleviate this as well, because then the weighin station wouldn't get bogged down with people who are just checking their weight.

The event ran pretty smoothly once it got going,  There were about 60 gi matches per mat, then about 25 or 30 nogi matches.  Gi was wrapped up, except for absolutes, by about 2pm, and nogi started on several mats at about that time.  It was delayed a bit, on some mats, because the gi absolutes, but that is pretty much unavoidable.   Matches were all wrapped up by 5:15 or so.

The mat areas were back to to small size that Grappling Industries normally has when they have 10 or 14 mat areas.  This did slow the matches down, and made me sad as a referee (and would make me sad as a competitor as well).  In order to have 7 mats in one row, it's pretty much unavoidable though.  People want to be able to see all the mats, but they also want bigger mats.  I really like having at the mats in one line, because it generally means you only have to look out for people coming onto your mat from one or two sides, instead of 3.  While that may seem minor, it means more attention can be paid to the competitors.   It also makes for the best spectator experience because views are not blocked when there is only spectator seating on one side of the gymnasium.   In venues  like the Pyramid in California, this obviously isn't an issue because there is seating on all sides, and it's raised.  But in most gymnasiums, there is only seating on one side.  Hopefully the next event they can come up with a configuration that offers a bit more safety area, while still being spectator and competitor friendly.

I mentioned earlier the changes to the weighins.  Grappling Industries is constantly evolving to best serve the competitors.  The changes they made were made with a lot of input from the community and were, what I think, a really good compromise that serves all sides well.  The old style of allowing night before weighins, and using the standard GI weight classes, when athletes could weighin without their gi on, was creating an environment that allowed much more serious weight cutting and gave advantages to local competitors who could weighin the night before.   Now, they use the NOGI weight classes, still allow you to weighin in whatever you like (just not naked) and have ONLY morning of weigh ins.   I really like this setup.  It pretty much means I will never be able to fight in the smaller womens weight class, but, let's be honest,  I probably don't belong there,  and I think this way pretty much stops everyone who was squeaking into divisions they didn't belong in, no longer able to.  I noticed a few regulars have moved up a weight class with this change, and I think it'll shake things up and make for a better experience for everyone.

I had the pleasure of refereeing quite a few of the women's matches, particularly the two white belt divisions.  One of the greatest things about refereeing the ladies was the camaraderie they all showed to each other.  They all cheered for each other, no matter what team they were from.  They supported each other.  Almost every match ended with a hand helping each other up and a hug.  Not a bro, quick tap on the back hug, a proper hug.  For 5 minutes, they try to beat the crap out of each other, but as soon as the match is over, everyone is friends again.  Even during matches, there was a lot more "sorry"'s then you would ever hear in a guys match.  Though, that might just be because there is generally a lot more hair to be pulled.

Here is one picture that is a great example of how the ladies divisions were.  Both of them smiling and having a good time.  Here is another, smiles all around.    And one last one.  It was amazing to watch and be a small part of.  Mandie won the -136 division, and Maura won the +136 division.   In the absolute final (well, there was only 1 fight for the absolute, since there is only 2 weight classes)  Maura got a great footsweep, but then got a little ahead of herself and Mandie snuck in a tight guillotine for the win and a trip to California.  Yacinta won the blue and up trip, she has won a fair share of the trips that grappling industries has given away,  she has amazing judo and her Jiu Jitsu is catching up quickly!   I am really looking forward to being able to compete with her when I am back.  I think we will have some great matches.

My Teammate Matt won the blue belt trip!   He smashed through his division, then won the absolute in a most impressive fashion.  This is the first trip that he has won, and I do not think it will be the last.  He trains like a monster and even though he is a heavy weight (220ish) He moves and fights like a light weight or feather weight.   I cannot wait to see him compete at Pans in March and al the other tournaments before then to.

Eric Phan from Open Mat won the purple/brown trip.  It's pretty amazing that he, as a tiny, fairly new, purple belt could win the absolute.  He had to beat some very tough guys to get there and he doesn't dick around trying to win on an advantage or two so I really enjoy watching his matches.  I imagine he will be ruining a few peoples days at Pans as well.

Eric Chibuluzo won the white belt trip.  This guy is one scary human being.  He has only been doing jiu jitsu for a few months, but he already competes, and wins matches, in the nogi advanced divisions.  His jiu jitsu is... not beautiful, but he is ridiculously athletic and knows enough to use that athleticism.  He is going to be a serious force to be reckoned with in the years to come as he moves up the ranks.

The Acai Cafe was at the event again, I hope these guys are at every tournament for the rest of time. I freaking love Acai bowls.  I will cheat any diet I am on, for an acai bowl.  They actually ended up selling out on Saturday, so I think that is a good sign that they will continue to come out to tournaments.  I only got 1 bowl on Saturday, I was planning on two, but didn't get a chance to get away to buy a second before I had to leave.  I hope they add peanut butter to their menu soon, then, it would be perfect.

Also on site was the gi hive.  The Gi Hive is a relatively new company, based out of Ontario, that sells great gis and gear, at reasonable prices and with cheap shipping.  If you have ever shopped for gis online, you know that is a tricky balance.   He has a nice variety of gis and the customer service is top notch.  

SO, as I said earlier, I had to leave at 3,  it ended up being more like 3:30, which, when you add the terrible Toronto traffic to, made me have to adjust my plans, and drive a little faster then I would have liked, to London.  My other officiating job of the day was judging fights at the inaugural Provincial Fighting Championships in London last Saturday.  It's important to note, I do not work for PFC,  I work for the Ontario Athletic Commission.   As such, I can't really get into a lot of details about the fights, or talk about my opinions of the results ect ect.   What I can say is this:  It was a great night of fights and I hope PFC will continue to puts cards on.  Not only so that I can have more work as a judge, but so that Ontario MMA fighters have a place to fight.  With the Score no longer putting on cards, It left a pretty big hole in the scene.   So hopefully new organizations like PFC an SCC can put on a couple events a year and give our guys somewhere to fight!

This past weekend marked 1 year since I started refereeing jiu jitsu!  I have worked at 14 events and refereed probably over 1000 matches.  It's been an amazing learning experience and I am glad that I have been able to referee so much this year, since I was unable to compete for such a large part of it.  I have to thank Grappling Industries  for taking the risk of having me as a brand new referee at one of their events, and for continuing to employ me.  I also have to thank the OJA for following their lead and letting me give back to the community at their events as well.   The money I have made from refereeing (and from judging MMA)  all goes straight back into my Jiu Jitsu career so I have to thank everyone for supporting me, by employing me.  

There aren't to may more events left to finish of the 2013 year of Jiu Jitsu.  

The IBJJF Montreal Open is on Nov 16th.  It's fairly expensive, but very well run, and a good opportunity to get some IBJJF points for rankings (which don't actually get you anything but bragging rights) and to test your jiu jitsu against the Montreal scene.

November 23rd is the NoGi Zombie house event at Toronto Nogi.   Zombie House events are a LOT of fun, they are a completely different environment compared to a regular tournament and I would recommend anyone who doesn't have an ego give one a try.   

November 30th is the OJA Provincials in St. Catherines.  This is the tournament I am aiming to make my comeback at.  Training went pretty well last week, until I got sick, but I am feeling better now, so I will be back t the grind on Monday (or maybe tonight for an open mat).  There are some trips to california on the line, and bragging rights as the "Provincial Champion".  Also, the medals are quite nice looking.

Wrapping up the year, Grappling Industries has an event scheduled for Dec 7th in Montreal.  They are giving away season passes to all their events as the grand prizes.  This is a cool concept because it will hopefully get people to travel a bit more and expose the Montreal people to Toronto and vise versa.  This is also the weekend I have set for myself as a deadline for whether I will cancel my shoulder surgery or not.  Sadly, this event has been canceled :(

The OJA has released their tentative schedule for 2014.  It looks a lot like the 2013 schedule.  Hopefully, it stays the way it is.  2013 had quite a few date changes, cancellations and location changes.  Events with *'s by them have the location and date confirmed, and I assume, the venues booked so are very unlikely to change.

SO, This post has gotten pretty long, I guess I'll stop rambling now.  See you on the mats!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Zombie House Oct 20th 2013 Recap!

This past Saturday we took a short drive down the 403/401/402 combination West to London. It was pretty weird going west instead of east, sure was nice not having to drive straight into the sun to get there.

 This edition of the zombie house was a fundraiser for a little girl who just turned 4 years old and is fighting cancer. She is the daughter of one of the members of London BJJ, so they held the competition, and a seminar on Saturday to raise some funds for Gabby and her family. Man, cancer sucks, especially for kids. I can't even imagine how hard that is for her parents. Showing up to the event and helping out while the rest of the team competed is the least that we could do to help them out.

 In case you aren't familiar with the zombie house concept... It's a sub only competition that you collect submissions and don't stop. The matches are 5 minutes, and it doesn't matter if you get subbed, you just start again. At the end of the matches, subs are counted up ad tracked. Then whoever wins each weight class (the most subs) moves on to the golden sub single elimination bracket. In golden sub, it's first sub wins, and the first rounds are 10 minutes maximum, and the final is 20. If you don't get a sub, you are both out.

 The weight classes are 10ish pounds and in London it was all belts combined (there was only a couple purple belts). At bigger events white and blue are together and purple and up are together. They used to use a system where there were handicaps based on belt, but white the belts separated it wasn't necessary anymore.

 We had a great time at the event, Dashti ended up being put up with the 180 guys because there was no 170's and the 160 guys were all full. He did a great job with the bigger guys and managed to get 2nd in his division with a purple belt wining the division. Josh and Joel were in the same division, with some pretty excellent competitors, including Milkias from B04 who won the division very impressively despite being the smallest guy in it. Joel hit a baseball choke which would have made Jon proud and Josh demonstrated great passing and control (and a few great subs from that control). Greg was in a division with a lot of much younger, active competitors and showed a lot of good submission defensive and heart.

 I really like the zombie house format. It's friendly, it's casual, and it's 25 minutes of working your ass off. There is no tapping and getting out of the fight. The people that show up to these events aren't looking for medals or bragging rights or trips or anything like there. You are there to test out your submission game and not worry about points and staying on top or any of that nonsense that sport jiu jitsu has evolved into. Don't get me wrong, I love regular competitions as well, but it's nice and refreshing to see people just going for stuff and not worrying about position and points so much. 

Interestingly, the only techniques that were not allowed were heal hooks and neck cranks, and the only injury that happened was Dan's knee, but it wasn't during a sub or scramble or anything, I didn't even see how it happened really and I was watching the match. People were going after kneebahs, toe holds, slicers and people were tapping (or not) and NOT getting hurt. It was great to see that these techniques are really as dangerous as people seem to think, it's the environment that controls the level of danger.

 I was "life guarding" for the event, which is like refereeing, but since there is no scores, and it's self regulated, and friendly, I really didn't have to do much. There were a few cases where I "tapped" for the competitors when they were being a little to stubburn for their own good but generally everyone was great about admitting when they were caught and also not cranking on subs. Sometimes I had to stop them from getting to close to other matches but even that rarely happened.

 I would recommend checking one of these events out to anyone looking for something a little different to try out there jiu jitsu. No meatheads allowed and no ego. I think the next one will likely be back in Toronto, but they are hoping to move them around the province.

 You can check out this facebook group for more information, stats, pictures and whatnot about the zombie house events.

 I almost forgot to mention who won the whole thing! Iron Mike Aviado, the rooster weight! He took out his teammate in the first round of the golden sub with a leg lock (I can't remember if it was a toe hold or straight ankle lock), then won the semifinal in decisive fashion with his signature flying armbar.
 In the final, he fought Josh (who won the first round against Sen, then got a bye for the second round because Milkias and Seth was a draw). Josh and Mikes match went about 7 or 8 minutes with Mike constantly threatening subs and Josh doing a great job defending, until Mike snuck in a crazy armbar and got the tap.

 I've also got to give a special mention to Becca and Mandie, two ladies who joined in on the zombie house. They are both white belts and quite small and competed with the guys. Mandie ended up placing second in their division next to Sen who won it.

 SO, that's that, it looks like the next one will be a NOGI event, likely in Toronto, sometime next month! Keep your eyes open for details on Facebook!

 There are a few other tournaments coming up, Grappling Industries this weekend where 5 trips to Pans will be awarded! The women's divisions are looking pretty good so ladies, you should get on that asap.

 IBJJF Montreal is Nov 16th. Should be good the competitor list is pretty sparse still, but that is not surprising. 

OJA Provincials is Nov 30th. I am HOPING that this will mark my return to competition! My shoulder is starting to feel pretty good so now I just need to get back into shape and get rid of the rust that 5/6 months on the sidelines creates. We shall see how my body holds up to the hard training it's going to take to get back into shape for then.

 Grappling Industries last event of the year will be Dec 7th in Montreal. Should be a great event to. They will be awarding a whack of "season passes" to the various absolute winners. This equals free entry to all their tournaments for 2014. I think it's a cool concept. That's all for now! See you all Saturday at Grappling Industries, I'll be refereeing, then jetting early to head to the Provincial Fighting Championships in London that evening.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

GTA Classic Sept 21st 2013 Recap

Last Saturday was the Annual GTA Classic. This is one of my favourite tournaments of the year. They have been hosting it in mid September or years and it's one I know a lot of people look forward to to kick of the back to school season. It's an OJA tournament, which meas it's consistent with a lot of the other tournaments in Ontario as far as weight classes, age divisions, and allowed submissions.

 It also means they use the Mata Leao software to do the draws which is pretty sweet software. On two of the mats they had the new scoreboards running which use giant tv's and a laptop instead of the normal electronic scoreboards. It also recorded all the matches automatically. The one downside to this system was that is really slowed down the progress of the matches. It seemed like the table workers had to enter the names and division into the computer from the paper draw for every match which doesn't sound like it would take a long time, but it certainly delayed things since it had to be done in between each match.

 The Acai Cafe was in attendance again. This was their second event and they have stepped up their game! They brought in a small size, which was great for kids, or weirdos who don't like a lot of acai and they brought in hemp seeds, cacao nibs, and shredded coconut. These added toppings were amazing and make the cafe even more amazing. They had to set up outside of the gym, which made them less visible, so I hope they still made lots of sales. You can check them out on facebook and suggest they add peanut butter for their next event :)

 The tournament was scheduled to start at 9:30 and started around 9:50, not bad at all, considering they re-work all the kids brackets that morning because parents don't know how much their kids weigh and they never dq a kid for being over weight. I think that this is a great policy and I can totally forgive them for not starting on time because of this.

 The kids turnout for this competition was great! I think, other then the ontario open, it was probably one of the biggest turnout for kids I have seen all year. The GTA classic does round robin for the kids, so they tend to get 3 or 4 fights. They also don't allow any subs for the younger ones, and progressively add subs as the kids get older and higher ranked. It's a bit complicated as a referee or coach, or even athlete to keep it all straight on what's allowed for which kid, but it generally keeps the kids safe while allowing them to do jiu jitsu. It ran a bit behind, but it was running solid throughout the day. There wasn't many times, that I saw, where nothing was going on on the mats.

 There was a break around 1:00pm for a special presentation. Professor Scott Shilling was presented with his third degree by Mestre Sylvio da Matta Behring which was pretty cool to see. Scott has been a very active member of the community and has produced some top notch competitors as well. You can watch the video of the presentation on youtube.

I was refereeing at this event, and was pretty focused on that for the entire time I was there.  I reffed a pretty wide variety of matches from 7 year old white belts to coloured belt kids, to masters white and blue belts.  It was kind of nice to have such a variety.   I stopped a few kids fights for armbars before they tapped on Saturday.  Every single one was pretty upset about it, "I didn't tap", but the look on pretty much every single coaches face was that of understanding and appreciation for me keeping their students arms safe.  I had one kid in a triangle/armbar and It very much looked like they tapped, but when I stopped it, they said that they did not tap.  Everyone else seemed to think there was a tap as well, so I stood by that decision to stop the fight.

I got to work with the usual skilled crew of Ontario referees, including Ontario's newest black belt Jason Chin-Leung who is a really great referee.  New to the team was Matthew Isaacs who is quite young but has been around jiu jitsu for a few years now.  I didn't get to watch him to closely, but when ever I had a minute and looked over, he seemed to be handling himself very well.   I'm looking forward to watching him develop as a referee.

While I was refereeing, one of the other res came around to give me a break so I could get some snacks, but he told me it was all cookies and sweats, so I passed.  I really appreciate a tournament that provides snacks and water and drinks throughout the day.  It helps us out a lot, it just happens to be that I follow a very low carb "diet" right now and can't eat any of that.  Then, the most amazing thing happened around lunch time.  Tony came to my mat with a giant caesar salad with chicken!   He remembered from past events that I try not to eat pizza and crap when I am not being a fat /depressed/glutton and made sure I got one of the salads!!  Man,  nothing makes you feel more appreciated then that!  It's seemingly small gestures like that that make all the nonsense that we as referees have to put up with a lot more tolerable.

The GTA classic had pretty nice event t-shirts, which they gave to the first 50 people registered, I think they even extended that to everyone registered before a certain date.  They also had sweet prizes for the absolute winners: Samurai swords, and tournament hoodies.  They were really nice hoodies to,  well built and great looking style wise.  I wish I could have competed and won them!  That sounds like I think I would have won them if I competed, which is not what I mean.  There were some very tough looking purple belts that I watched for a bit between reffing and I think I would have had some very excellent matches if I had been up to competing.

On a semi related note... A whole bunch of new purple belts have just been promoted!  I hope they all come out to compete soon!   You know who you are ladies!!  We need to work together and compete together to help grow the scene.  The purple belt ladies divisions in Ontario could be realy interesting very soon!  There are some matchups I really want to see  like Caitlin vs Tiffany and Tushara vs Kaitlyn.    Someone make this happen!

I had to leave at 3:00 to go work at the UFC event at the ACC.  I didn't need to be there till 5:00, but with the Gardiner being closed, I wanted to give myself some extra time.  It's a good thing to, what google mats said should take 50 minutes, took just over 2 hours, before I gave up and parked and walked the last 2.5KM.  My plan was to take the 401 to the DVP and take that down to whatever road that was before it hits the gardiner, but when it was stop and go at Eglington I abandon ship and took the streets all the way down.  I was on queen st for over an hour!

The UFC was a pretty great experience, as working MMA events usually is.  I did not get an opportunity to judge, but since reading all the shit people have been saying online about my colleagues, I am actually happy that I did not.    It's so infuriating to see people who have NO IDEA what the are talking about saying people were robbed and going on about controversy or blind judges.

Here is what I say to all of you.  You sit through a 24 hour course,  pass a 3 part 6 hour test that you need (IIRC) 85% on to pass, and judge a 5 round barn burner of a fight that you cannot get a single round wrong on.  Then, shadow a judge for a few fight cards, and then actually sit in the judges seat and THEN, and only THEN can you say ANYTHING about how a fight was judged.  Hearing people say things like round 4 should have been a 10-8 and that Gufstason CLEARLY won the first 3 is as maddening as spectators or coaches asking for points for back control when there are no hooks or when they get made when adults do ankle locks.

OK, enough about that. It isn't really jiu jitsu related, but I know a lot of people who follow jiu jitsu follow MMA so I had to get that out there.  There was no controversy in the title fight on Saturday.  NONE.  The most controversial thing was Jon Jones corner trying to sneak Greg Jackson in as a 4th corner when the Ontario Commission only allows 4.

The Ontario Provincial Championship was announced this week!  It's going down November 30th, in St. Catherines.  I am undecided on wheter I like that it is in St. Catherines or not.  I was quite looking forward to Kingston, which was the tentative location announced at the beginning of the year.  I think that St Catherines is a very very long drive for anyone east of Toronto and I fear it will be the south western Ontario regional event with a few americans mixed in, instead of a true provincially attended event.   That being said, it's a much shorter drive for me then Kingston, so I won't have to blow money on a hotel, which is always nice.  They are giving away 4 trips to California, for the IBJJ Pans.  That, in theory, should bring out some bodies!  I'm a bit said it's 3 trips for the guys and only 1 for the ladies, but the numbers can justify it.  Sort of.  I think that there will be just as many blue belt girls and brown/black belt men and they should get their own trip, instead of being lumped with the purple/brown/black women.

This Saturday is the Return o the Zombie House!!!  This is a great little event that is a completely different format from anything else out there.  It's friendly but competitive and a great way to spend the afternoon.   You can read about the event on their website, and on the facebook event.  I am planing on heading down to body of our to check it out!

Grappling Industries has at least 2 more events on the Horizon.  Montreal on October 5th, and Toronto on Oct 26th.  In Montreal they are giving away 8 trips down the 401 to the big event on Oct 26th, where trips to California will once again be on the line.  I won't be going to Montreal (firt One i've missed this year I think!) because I am getting in some much needed nature time with my sister.  I will be at the Toronto event on October 26th and you should be to!

That's all for now!  See you on the mats!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

5 months

It's been 5 months since the Ontario Open, where I lost the purple belt absolute final (and a trip to California along with it) by kimura. It was pretty depressing at first, and frustrating dealing with the Ontario health care system.  I tried to just rest it and hope for the best, since worlds was only 2 weeks after. But, that didn't work so well.

 I saw my physio therapist the day before (I think, maybe 2 days before) we left for California to get a diagnosis and assessment and to see what his thoughts were on me competing. He is pretty down to earth, and understands what it is like to be a competitive athlete and whatnot. At that time, without any diagnostic imaging, he came to the conclusion that I had likely torn my rotator cuff and labrum. He said competing would be very risky, and unless I could control where my arm went, I probably shouldn't.

 I left his office pretty bummed out, but still set on competing. I packed all my gis and gear to train and compete and we set off. I probably should have realized when I was struggling to wheel my carryon around that it was a bad plan. It wasn't until the first day training at AoJ that it really dawned on me that I was in no condition to compete. I wrote that really long blog post about being sorry and whatnot. I was pretty depressed and down for the entire trip.

 When I got home, I went back to physio, got some exercises and put things in motion to see Dr. Levy to get to the bottom of the injury. It took a few weeks to see him and His assessment was about the same. Less concern about the rotator cuff, since it seemed to be healing. It was likely only strained/stretched/made angry. He ordered some X-Rays and an MRI.

 In the mean time, at Buckleys they have Dr Jeff Weekes come in every once and a while to assess injuries and help the students out with aches and whatnot. He happened to be there one day while I was there so he had a look. He also suspected the labrum tear, but also a biceps tendon injury to go along with it. He stressed getting the MRI and gave me some surgeons names (not encouraging at all).

 2 weeks after Dr. Levy sends in the form for the MRI, I finally get a call with my date. It's mid-august! I had a little cry when I found that out. I had already wasted like 6 weeks of training time with this stupid injury! To wait till August was horrible! I had a friend use some connections and I ended up getting an MRI in about week. That was an ordeal all it's own that took about 5 hours when it was all said and done and another 2 full weeks to get the results, but it was still WAY ahead of the mid-august original schedule.

 I saw my physio therapist again the day the results came in to go over them. Small tear in the labrum, and a small tear in the biceps tendon. Dr. Weekes wins the injury pool! The rotator cuff bits were all fine, but there was evidence of "frozen shoulder" which I guess happens when you are injured and don't move your arm enough.  Anyway, Rudy told me to keep doing my exercises and wait and see what Dr. Levy thought we should do.

 Two weeks later I saw Dr. Levy and his associate/resident. Once again, they assessed it, and pretty much confirmed the MRI findings again. The worst part about all these assessments is, at the time, especially the last few, It doesn't actually hurt that much, it's about 20 minutes later, after I've left the office, that it really gets painful. Anyway, they thought, because it was still affecting my day-to-day activities (sleeping, driving, jiu jitsu) that I should see a surgeon to get it fixed. Dr. levy thought I would be able to see the surgeon in a couple weeks, and have surgery before the end of the year.

 3 weeks later, I got a call from the surgeons office to set up an appointment, 2 days later. I guess they opened up an extra day so were filling it up. So I drove down to Georgetown and saw the surgeon. He went over the MRI, and x-Rays, talked about the surgery options and whatnot and said my shoulder didn't seem toooo bad (once again, not bad for the assessment, almost made me cry trying to drive afterword). Not nearly as unstable as it seemed in the past, the tears were small. yada yada. That being said, because of the quality of life factors (not sleeping and whatnot) he thought it was a fine option to do surgery.

 So I was like "yea, let's do it" So, I go to the receptionist/appointment booker to start that process. Turns out the soonest date is Feb 4th. Ugh, I was gutted when she told me this. It was like getting punched in the solar plexus.  That would be 11 months after the original injury,  with a 6 month recovery before being cleared by the surgeon to go back to competition, that would be 18 months with no competition, 6 of those months not even being able to referee.

That was just under 3 weeks ago.  Since then, I've done a lot of thinking  and all things considered a lot of training(relatively speaking, compared to the previous 4 months).  In the last week or two, I've been able to sleep on my left side without it waking me up and I don't wake up with it super sore either.  Reaching up for things on the top shelves doesn't bother it anymore.  I can change the laundry and I can bear walk (slowly) without any pain now.  Getting crushed while on my side can sometimes be pretty uncomfortable still and I don't really want to test getting kimura'd again right this minute, but things, in general, are pointing towards it being manageable, without surgery.

I haven't canceled or postponed the surgery yet.  I can wait till probably mid-December before I have to make the necessary pre-surgery doctor appointments and whatnot.  I am going to make Dec 8th my deadline for myself to decide 100% what I am going to do.    In the mean time, I am going to train as much as I can,  go lift weights (kettle bells, and start the strong lifts 5X5 program).  I need to get back to middle weight before I think about competing on the major scene again and I need to get my cardio back in shape before I think about the local scene.

It is going to be a fine balance between pushing myself to hard and re-injuring it and not giving excuses and using it as a crutch to be lazy.  I'll probably be holding off on the overhead presses for a while still, but I need to whip this soft and squishy body back into shape.   I think my mental state was deterring my healing progress and since I started trying to train more regularly and not making excuses it has been feeling significantly better.  I have no idea if it's a mental thing or the extra motion and stuff is helping or what but it is really starting to feel like it might be ok.

So, that is where things are with all that.   I've gotten a lot of refereeing in since May which is kind of cool.  I think it will make me a better competitor when I finally am able to get back on the competition floor.  I've also played a lot of xcom and watched a lot of stuff on Netflix to pass time time.  That doesn't really make my jiu jitsu better, but man oh man is xcom every difficult. I don't know how I ever beat that game as a child.

Now you know, and you don't have to ask me about it when you see me ;)  .  I am on the road to recovery and there may be an end in site!  That you everyone for your continued support and sympathy and hugs and encouragement over the last 5 months.  It really hasn't been easy staying positive and focused and without all my teammates, and jiu jitsu friends I probably would have gone insane.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Grappling Industries: Sunshine Blvd Sept 7th 2013 Recap

Grappling Industries was back in Toronto this past weekend for a smaller event then their past events.  I didn't count the competitor list but  it we ran 5 mats with about 90 matches per mat.  In the past there have been as many as 14 mats but with less matches per mat. 

First, I have to say, as a referee I LOVED the setup.  The small mat areas they have had in the past has been the biggest negative for their events.  They had very large mat areas, with a double row between for a safety area.  I wasn't run into from a neighbouring mat area once!  Only having a single row(of mat areas), Instead of two also allowed for better viewing for the spectators.  Speaking of spectators, the fee was 15, which to me is pretty high,  but they post what it is on the website so I can't complain to much, and as a referee I didn't have to pay, so it didn't affect me.
There are a few reasons why I think.the event was smaller then their past events.

1.  The proximity to the GTA classic.  This is a well established event that a lot of people really look forward to.  It's a solid tournament that is always in mid September so people plan to attend it.  Hosting an event only two weeks before will certainly make you lose some potential attendees.

2.  Their last event in Toronto was only 6 or so weeks earlier.  When the Ibjjf comes to a city twice in one year, its 6 months apart, not 6 weeks, they do that for a reason!  They also have another event at the end of October, 6 or 7 weeks away again.  There is lots of talk of an over saturated market, and I think they will feel the pain of it hosting 3 events so close together. 

3.  It was the weekend after everyone went back to school.  Kids are just getting back into their school routines, post secondary students are settling into their school year homes and parents are dealing with kids who are back to school.  The last thing on any people's mind this weekend is a Jiu jitsu competition!

So yeah, it was smaller, but it was well run, there was really good competition in a lot of the divisions and there was acai!

I love acai bowls.  I discovered them when we went to Costa mesa for the first AoJ training camp is summer 2012.  I had resisted trying them until the last day of the camp because I don't know why.  Anyway, we.all went the the place just down the road from AoJ after class and waited like 40 min for the bowls, it they were amazing.  Fast fwd to worlds 2013, we were in Costa Mesa for a few days before and I was really watching what I.ate for the first few.days because I was still disillusioned into thinking I could compete, but then I realized I could not,and ate a bowl the last day we were in Costa mesa, and then every day at worlds. 

So anyway, a couple guys from Toronto Bjj have started the Acai Cafe and this past weekend was their first event!   The bowls were simple, just granola and banana,  it they were really tasty anyway.  They seemed sweeter then I remember from California,but that could just be me.  Hopefully next time they have a few more toppings like coconut, peanut butter and cocoa nibs.  The prices were reasonable considering the costs to get acai packs up here.  The bowls were smaller then California,  it that's not terrible because the ones in California are almost too big.  Just a side note,  they will be at the GTA Classic next weekend, and also at the next Grappling Industries Toronto event as well.
Ok, enough about acai. 

I got to referee some pretty excellent matches and I was also requested to not referee some other matches.  This is a first for me, and I have to admit I was pretty shocked and sad when David came over to my mat and said someone wanted to have a different ref for their matches.  This was a first for me and I didn't take it very well.  I'm sure it's nothing personal, maybe they don't like that I ask the fighters to switch sides so I can raise their arm properly. Who knows.  Anyway, after that, I sat around for a bit and got over it fairly quickly after I ate some pizza and acai.

One competitor stood out for me while refereeing the blue belt -154 gi division.  The whole division was pretty stacked with some amazing fights,  Myles Allen hit a pretty sweet triangle on Kevin Wheeler really fast, which was almost disappointing, because I was looking forward to seeing them really duke it out ya know?  Props to Myles though, he has sick triangles.

But, That is not who I wanted to talk about, one of the competitors went 4-0 in the round robin, winning every single fight with a loop choke!   Milkias, from Body of Four, has ridiculous loop chokes!  It's scary how he sets them up, from almost any position.  Standing? No problem, Guard?  done,  Getting guard passed? done.  It's like Jon and his silly baseball chokes!  I had an inkling about that he worked them a bit, when he was training at the redstar training a ways back.  He hit it on a few people there.  Those were good times,  I hope we can do that redstar training again soon.  Maybe I'll actually be able to roll this time! Back on topic:  Loop Chokes are pretty awesome, and I think I might want to start working them into my game a bit.  That's right, me... doing a choke, we shall see.  I'll probably just end up using it to set up an armbar.

One other thing about refereeing that I wanted to talk about was how disrespectful a couple of coaches were to some of the referees.  If you think you know the rules so well, put on the tuxedo shirt and bowtie and try doing the job yourself.  Seriously.  I know, as a coach, you want your fighter to win, but abusing the referees isn't going to help them.

One particular case that stood out in my mind relates to the infamous baseball bat choke.  Fighter A had fighter B in his guard,  fighter B passes, and fighter A sets up a baseball bat choke, but incorrectly his arms never crossed so fighter B, who is passing is never in danger of being submitted.  The referee gave the 3 points and eventually fighter B ended up back in fighters A's guard, 3 points ahead.   Maybe the coach didn't see that the choke wasn't being effective because of the angle, but that doesn't give him the right to make a scene and insult the referee the way he did.  Even if the choke was effective, I've seen HIGH level referees(at IBJJF events) give pass and back points for competitors stuck in baseball bat chokes(I've seen points given to a guy as he promptly takes a nap) so to go off about how terrible the refereeing is because of a situation like that is even more ridiculous.

Personally, I had one case where I had the crowd pretty upset with the delay in giving an advantage.  There was a scramble, I can't remember exactly what, and one guy almost gets the other guys back, he's got one hook in, and is controlling pretty well, but never get's that 2nd hook in.  Anyway,  the crowd is yelling for the advantage, but I am focusing on the fighters, and in my head reviewing how they got there to make sure I didn't miss points or an advantage for the other guy before I give the advantage for the back.  It probably looked like I wasn't going to give the advantage so I can kind of understand why they were yelling for it.  So I didn't let it phase me.  I just hope that people didn't see the delay as me being influenced by the crowd to give the advantage.

The event started on time, as usual, and ran pretty close to ontime.  Nogi did start a bit later then estimated, maybe by 1/2 hour or so, but there wasn't much a lull between gi and nogi so that wasn't to bad.   I headed out a bit early, since I was going camping, but 2 mats were already shut down, and it was pretty much just absolutes running when I left at around 4:15pm.

As with pretty much every tournament I have attended as a spectator/competitor/referee/other  there was some confusion about which techniques were legal and not legal for the various ages of kids.  I was lucky to not have to referee kids, so I only had to keep what's legal for different belts straight and not worry about ages.  You'd be surprised that adults sometimes don't even know what they are allowed and not allowed to do.  Anyway,  with the kids, guillotines are not supposed to be allowed and there were some matches where they happened.  I don't want to blame anyone, but it sucks for the kids when they get guillotined(and the refs stops it before they even think about tapping) and lose, when that technique isn't supposed to be allowed for like 5 or 7 more years!

As referees, especially for kids, we really need to review the rules and know what is allowed and not allowed.   Like I said, this happens all the time, not just at Grappling Industries but it's something, as a referee I know I even need to work on, because I was asked the next day, which subs are legal and which aren't and I couldn't nail down a solid list off memory.  I usually have a copy of the rule book with me at tournaments (IBJJF Rules for ones that follow that anyway) so I can reference it before a match If I have to ref some kids of various ages and I think perhaps tournaments should supply an easy to read, clear, and detailed list of what is allowed at what ages/belts for the referees, but also for the coaches and spectators.

Grappling Industries is making some pretty major changes to their events for their next one in Toronto, On October 26th.  You can read about the new changes to the format on the announcement post here.  The highlights are: kids will be split between white and colour belts, and white belt kids will be no-sub, while colour will follow the IBJJF rules for allowed subs.  Finally, they will be changing the weighins so that nogi will use the IBJJF nogi weight classes, and Gi will use the Gi weight classes and weighins will be done before your first match, instead of the night before/first thing in the morning.

 I am a fan of pretty much all of this, except for the weighins not being first thing in the morning.  I love the first thing in the morning weighins, it gets it out of the way, it lets you know who is there and who isn't and it keeps things running better throughout the day.  Jiu Jitsu is pretty much the only sport that uses the right before the match weighin system and I don't know why it loves it so much. I know it's to combat weight cutting, but It generally just means people who are naturally close end up fighting hungry and dehydrated.

Coming up next (in my best Mike Goldberg voice):

The GTA Classic:  Saturday Sept 21st in Toronto.  There will be Acai, samurai swords, food bank donation collections and lots of Gi Jiu Jitsu.  It's pre-registration only and registration closes sometime next week. I couldn't find the date off hand. I imagine it closes on Tuesday or Wednesday.   You have to be a member of the OJA to compete and you can register through the OJA's website.

The Canadian Submission Expo aka Sub-X:  Sunday Sept 21st in Toronto. This is a really cool charity fight show that will feature the absolute finals from Saturday's GTA classic as well as a bunch of other really great super fights.  It's all for charity and well worth the trip to Toronto for the afternoon.

JCC GTA Invitational: Saturday Sept 28th. This is a kids/juniors only event put on by the OGA.  These tournaments are unique in that it's kids only and they use simulated submissions for the younger/less experienced competitors (this means they only have to lock the submission on, not apply it).  They've made some changes about what is allowed at what age/belt so make sure you check the rules before you go!

Zombie House Submission League: Saturday Sept 28th.  This is a really cool event that has been fairly "underground" for the last couple years.  It's basically sub-only matches that go 5 minutes, and you get as many subs as you can.  It's a very chilled out atmosphere and very friendly.  It's split up by weight classes not belt and there are handicaps applied to the various belts, so if a white belt subs a purple, it's worth way more then purple subbing a white.  It's worth checking out on a Saturday afternoon.

Grappling Industries Montreal: HWY 401 Edition.  Saturday Oct 5th They are moving up to the big gym at the same location, and using 5 big mats like this past weekend in Toronto.   The last event in Montreal was pretty cozy, so this will be a great change.  They are giving away 8 trips to the last Grappling Industries event in Toronto for 2013 (Oct 26th).  If, you happen to be from the GTA, you can always cash out the prize.  I like the idea of giving trips to Toronto, I hope it gets some more mixing of the Jiu Jitsu scenes in the two cities.

SAU: Autumn Jiu Jitsu Games. Saturday Oct 12th in Montreal.  I still have not made it out to one of these events, and I don't think I will this time around either. But I have heard a lot of good things about it. They do a double elimination Gi tournament, and a subonly nogi event in one day.  Worth checking out if you are in the area.

Ottawa BJJ Open: Saturday Oct 19th  Sunday Oct 20th in Ottawa.  This is a Gi Only event that should bring out a lot of the Ottawa area teams that don't often make it out to the GTA or Montreal events in big numbers.   You need to be a member of the OJA to compete and it is pre-registration only.

Grappling Industries Toronto: Pans Edition: Saturday Oct 28th. This is the event I mentioned earlier with the format changes. Don't tell me I didn't warn you about the weighins when the time comes.  They are giving away 5 trips to California for the IBJJF Pans.  If they get 500 competitors, they will double that and give away 10 trips!   That is absolutely crazy.  I may just register and fight with 1 arm!

So, that is a busy time coming up. There are a bunch more events to round off the year, but I think that is enough for now.  I'll probably be at all the grappling industries events, and any of the ones in the GTA.  It's not really worth it for me to travel to the non-near by ones unless I have teammates competing so we shall see about Ottawa and the SAU event.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Grappling Industries: Montreal (NoGI Worlds Edition) August 17th 2013

What the heck blogger? Why didn't you save the 98% finished post I wrote two days ago??? 

I hate re-writing stuff. So now I don't even feel like writing about this event.  But alas, there were some things I liked and did not like and whatnot, like with all tournaments. 

Starting off, we almost didn't go, and our carload ended up being just Alasdair and I.  Jon messed up his shoulder when Rick from AOJ  was here so he stayed home and worked on the renos to our entryway that he started 3 or 4 years ago.   Anyway, we were going to bail and just stay home and rest our weary bones, but I had committed to refereeing and they had some people cancel, so like good little sponsored athletes, we made the trek down.

It was a pretty terrible drive there. Nothing like the great blizzard and car failure of February(I think it was Feb anyway) but 3+ hours to get through Toronto is pretty awful.  Once we were past Pickering it was smooth sailing though.  The drive home was almost perfect. 6 hours door to door, with one quick gas / food / bathroom break at the first service center in Ontario.  We only took one break each way, which really does cut down on the time spent, but also makes for pretty stiff joints and a sore butt.

Our hotel was pretty sweet. I think it was either very new, or recently completely renovated.  It didn't quite have the new smell, but everything from the carpets, to the tables, walls, and TVs seemed new.
It had a pretty good location to,  close to one of the airports(I don't know which one), and also very close to a bunch of shops, a theatre and other entertainment type stuff.  Good for a 2 day event.  Free parking and WiFi is also pretty sweet and helps keep the costs of a trip down, especially for me and Jon, who are on wind, so we don't have data in Montreal.  Lastly, the hotel had a decent breakfast, for a reasonable fee, buffet was 14 bucks, or a standard omelet or eggs with bacon coffee, toast and whatnot was 11.50.   Buffet is great for events with day before weighin, not so great for ibjjf style events.

Anyway, it's a good thing we did show up because one of the other referrers canceled on Friday night, and a table worker or two no-showed!  We started at 9 am pretty much on the button, and ran steady till 530ish, with a bit of a break on some mats between the transition from nogi to gi.  This went more smoothly then at some past events because it seemed like they put divisions that would likely be the same.between gi and nogi on the same mats. 

For example: mat 1 was the light weight classes of nogi advanced, and then the purple belt lighter weight classes.  So there was less trouble with not being able to start a gi division because competitors were still finishing nogi on  another mat.  Of course, this doesn't always work, because if it is one of the really big divisions, having both gi and nogi run on the same mat, would lead to that mat running much later then other mats.  This did happen on the weekend as well, but I think it was only about half hour or so, once I to pass a few matches off onto a done mat. 

So, refereeing was an experience, as always.  I got called "bush-league" which turns out to mean bad.  It's a new term for me, but I suppose it could be worse.  He did say "with all do respect" first.  I'm not sure how that is respectful, but whatever.  He didn't like how I stopped fights before a takedown was complete on it's way out of bounds, and how I didn't stop it when they weren't heading towards the edge and the other guy got a takedown.  Sadly, with the small mat areas, and small(ish, well pretty standard which i find small) safety area, you have to stop things more often then on say, IBJJF size mat areas (which also vary from event to event, fun fact there).  

One other thing, that has kind of got me stewing about refereeing and my brain, was that after one match, the ended up being 3-1 advantages, the coach of the guy who lost was asking me about the advantages.  He was certain it should have been 2-2, and I couldn't recall what the advantages were given for. This was like, right after the match.  I felt bad, because I should be able to remember, it was 30 seconds ago, max 5 minutes total.  I am still confident I scored it right.  I believe the videos are already up so feel free to dig it up and prove me wrong.  But, I couldn't defend the calls I made.  That being said, I probably shouldn't even acknowledge people who want to question my refereeing, but he is a well respected member of the community and I could have been a good opportunity to learn perhaps.  

Anyway, the fact that my brain is working this substandardly makes me question my ability to referee.   I have always, for as long as I can remember had an iffy memory, I can re-watch a movie like 6 months after I watch it, and forget the dialog and whatnot. The general plot I can mostly remember but details are all lost.  Same with reading, I can re-read a book a year apart and it'll be new again.   It has definitely gotten worse since the last 2 concussions (one from sparring back in 2009 or so) ad the most recent one last December.

Another thing that was quite frustrating as a referee was the number of competitors reaping knees and not even knowing they are doing it.  Instructors/Professors/Coaches:  If you are going to teach DLR, and/or ankle locks please make sure your students know where they can and cannot put their feet, and which way they can turn!  Thankfully, with the new rules, I don't have to DQ instantly, but it's bad form.   I had 2 guys in intermediate going after ankle locks, and they were reaping like crazy. I stopped it and said "you can't do that", and they were both like "do what???".  I can only shake my head and hope they remember or next time.  I gave them a penalty, explained, un-reaped the legs and started them up again.   Here's a picture of it, in-case your are wondering if I'm crazy.

Last thing about refereeing that drives me crazy, is when competitors don't know the commands.  Again, coaches, if you are going to allow your students to compete, PLEASE make sure they know the basics like start,stop, and what tapping means.  Seriously.  I had a guys elbow get pretty jacked b/c the competitor didn't stop cranking when the guy tapped, and also didn't stop when I said Pa-row.   To me, that is one of the most disrespectful things you can do in competition (next to walking around with no shoes off the mat).   Even if you just hold, but don't apply anymore pressure until you are sure the referee has seen the tap, that would be ok.  

Alright, I am done ranting about refereeing.  Let's talk about the other thing that I was not a fan of this time around.  The medic situation was not good.  There was a medic, but he didn't have a table or area set up.  He was ill-equiped (no sports tape) and he didn't handle some injuries very well.  He was also not always easily found (since he didn't have a specific area).   I sent a guy to get his foot that was bleeding from mat burn taped up. He came back with a bandaid and a strip of clear tape on it.  The tape wasn't even wrapped around his foot. Needless to say, it lasted about 10 seconds.  A friend of mine who's elbow got jacked when to see him.  The medic asked if it hurt, and he said yes,  so he gave him some ice.  He didn't inspect it or try to diagnose it or anything.  While I don't expect the medics to be orthopedic surgeons,  I do expect them to be aware of the sport, and the special needs that come with working at it.

I didn't get a lot of free time to observe the tournament in general,  weigh ins went smoothly.  They have a really nice, very accurate scale and people were going through the weigh ins quickly.    I am a huge fan of doing weighins in the morning.  Maybe I am partial to it because that is how it is done for most judo tournaments (there are some that do day before, but never matside).  But I like how smooth it makes the rest of the day.   The one thing I am not a huge fan of that Grappling Industries still does, is use the IBJJF GI weight classes, but allow people to weighin without their gi.   The Gi weight classes have a pretty significant weight allowance built into them to accommodate people wearing a gi. So they should be using the NOGI weight classes if they let ppl weigh in without their gi.

I did get a few minutes to sit down and watch my friend Quincy referee.  She is a pretty new referee, but she controlled the action well and I didn't see any glaring issues or problems.  She handled the small space well, and did a good job positioning herself to see the action.  All the other referees were fairly experienced.  I do feel a bit bad for them, compared to the GTA, they don't have nearly as many opportunities to referee and stay sharp.

True North BJJ was there snapping pictures.  I think Scott took probably 700 or so.  He was all over the place and didn't rest all day. I don't know how he did it, especially with his bum knee.   You can check out their photo galleries on facebook by liking their fanpage. Here is a shortcut to one of the three albums.  True North BJJ is a new media/information/whatever outlet for the Jiu Jitsu community In Ontario and Canada.  It focuses more on the information and events and less on the memes and douchbaggary that seem to be becoming more and more popular around the interwebs.

This tournament has out-grown it's current venue.  With 5 mat areas there wasn't a lot of spectator room, and the gym got very very hot and stuffy by mid-afternoon.  This is great for the promoters and for the scene in Montreal in general, but they may have to start looking for a mid-size venue to accommodate the growth.  Being able to it 6 mat areas, with ample safety room and spectator room would make for a shorter day and would be more comfortable for everyone.  I do congratulate Grappling Industries on the growth though, it's great to see more and more competitors coming out to events in Montreal.  It seems like Montreal has a very different scene then Toronto, and I am not sure why.  Montreal is  huge city, and there are other cities in driving distance that also have pretty good BJJ clubs in them (Ottawa for one).  There certainly is a lot more MMA and Judo guys coming out to these events then any events in the GTA.

Alasdair had a pretty decent day, especially if you take into consideration that he doesn't really like nogi,  has a hyper extended elbow, and wasn't feeling well.  None of that stopped him from going 4-0 in the round robin, with 3 slick subs, and one win by points.  Unfortunately it all caught up with him, and he didn't exactly perform to his full potential in the final against fellow Grappling Industries sponsored competitor Maxime Poulin.  To be fair, Maxime is an absolute beast and destroyed pretty much everyone he fought!  You can read up a bit more on Maxime on the Grappling Industries website.

There were a few competitors that I refereed that really stood out in mind mind.

Starting of with Scott Jutras, he placed 2nd in the -195 nogi advanced division.  He's a 10th planet guy and had a bunch of very quick, slick subs.  I was impressed with his composure when he got taken down (straight to a guillotine) and his transitions were very smooth.  

In the big guys category, 2 competitors stood out: Eric Chibuluzo, who is actually only a white belt, and is a super athlete with an insane will to win. He shut down the game of much more experienced competitors.   He is going to be a force to be reckoned with when he has a few years of experience under his belt.  Also standing out was Jeff Muir,  had never seen Jeff compete before, and his style was so relaxed and controlled.  He was also ridiculously friendly, having a chat mid-match on at least one occasion.  He didn't win medal, but he just stood out as a great competitor.

Of course, no grappling industries is complete without the ankle lock king, Jon-Taine Hall.  Everyone knows it's coming, and no-one can stop it.   In one match, he was down on points, and there was less the 30 seconds left and he pulled an ankle lock out of nowhere to get the tap!    Jon-Taine is a super humble competitor as well, and he always(from what I've seen anyway)  gives guys a chance to tap before he really puts the pressure on.

Well, I'm pretty sure this version of the post is entirely different then the original, but that's what you get when my phone craps out on me.   I apologize for taking so long to get it finished, It's pretty un-motivating to have 2 hours of work disappear.  I guess it's not safe to assume the mobile app auto-saves as anally as the web interface.

So, coming up next:

Sept 7th: Grappling Industries: Sunshine Boulevard Toronto. There will be trips to Miami and NOGI worlds to be won.  Also, I think the brand new amazing podium made by Gabrielle will be debuted!

Sept 21st:  The GTA Classic  This OJA event is one of my favourite events of the year. It's like the back to school tournament. It's GI only, and they are working on some pretty cool prizes.  There will be samuri swords for absolute winners which is pretty badass.

Oct 5th:  Grappling Industries:  HWY 401 Edition: Montreal.  They are giving away a 8 trips to Toronto for the next Grappling Industries event in Toronto.  I think this is a pretty cool concept, and I hope it helps kind of bridge the gap between the two scenes.  It's also cool that they are giving away 8 trips, so almost everyone will be able to get a chance at one.  If you are from the GTA, you will, of course, be able to cash-out the trip.

Oct 12th  SAU 3 In Montreal.  These guys are kind of new to the scene, but have put on 2 events in the past.  I have never been able to make it out to one because of scheduling, but I have heard good things.  They do sub-only and double elimination, so it's a little different then the everyone else, so check it out.

Oct 19th: OJA Ottawa BJJ Open. Not to much information out about this one yet.  I get my ottawa events mixed up. There is two each year.  They are a good chance to test your skills against the Ottawa competitors because they come out in full force.

That's enough upcoming events for today!  There are more, like another Grappling Industries Toronto,  OJA provincials, and the IBJJF Montreal Open.  But this is long enough, and there will be plenty of posts to write about them as they approach.

Finally:  I haven't talked about my shoulder much.  It's now been 3 months and a couple weeks since it was injured. I had an MRI (A), got the results, talked to my sports doctor, and picked up the MRI cd.  I am now waiting for an appointment with a surgeon.   There was some talk of not doing surgery, because the tears (labrum and bicep tendon)  are small, but because of where they are, they are still affecting my day to day (sleeping, driving, typing, laundry), they are going to fix it.   Dr. Levy was confident I would be able to see the surgeon in a couple weeks (it's been two since i saw him, I should probably check up on that), and have the surgery before the end of the year.   I haven't bee training or using it really the last few weeks, so it feels not to bad.  Next week I am going to train, and teach, so we shall see how that goes.  It will probably go poorly, and I will end up having to take advil for a week again. Whatever.

Alright, this really is the end.  Thanks for reading and see you on the mats (or side lines, or wherever).