Wednesday, 15 May 2013

2013 Ontario Open May 12th and 13th Tournament Report

Move over IBJJF,  there is a new king of the tournament scene, and it's name is the Ontario Open.

As you probably know,  since you read my blog, or at least, you pretend too read my blog, and like the post when I put a new link on facebook,  I have always said that the IBJJF run the smoothest, most professional tournament I have attended.   Not Anymore.   The Ontario Open just stole that crown,  with very little pomp and flair.  They've been uping their game every year, and this year tipped them over.   This comes after reports from Dallas and Vegas that the IBJJF has been sliding.  I was not at either of those events, so cannot say for sure, but stories of running behind schedule, and confusion at weigh ins, and other bad things have been coming up on the communities I frequent.  But, this is not about them, It's about the Ontario Open.

Lets start at the very beginning, the registration process.  In the past at OJA events, you would have to register for the OJA on site, or, if you were already a member for the year, you would just have to check in.   Now, you register online before you register for the event!   I actually saw someone complain about this on facebook, I need to know what kind of drugs they are on, or if they have ever had to deal with the line up at any tournament that doesn't do everything on line.    The online process isn't perfect, and you still need to duplicate some information, so I give them 8/10 for that.  Check-in at the venue was fast and easy. They had printed lists of names, and slapped a wrist band on. There was never a long line at the door and they were very friendly and lovely.  It was a 30 second process verse 20 minutes to 45 minutes that I have experienced at other events(IBJJF New York anyone?). 

They posted a competitor list early (not quite IBJJF early, but who needs a list with 5 people on it), and it was updated regularly leading up to the deadline.   They were prompt with updating peoples changes when the competitors made mistakes, and were quick to answer questions sent via email or facebook.

The venue was the Brampton Soccer Centre.  This is a favourite venue in the BJJ community, and it's easy to understand why. It's very simple to get to and it has ample, free parking.   The gymnasium is gigantic, and easily supports the 10 rings the Ontario Open ran, and could likely support up to 12, maybe even 14.   There is food available, and plenty of room for sponsors.  The one down side is the lighting situation,  the wall opposite the spectator area (which is on the 2nd floor, so they have a great view) is all windows.  So, when you are taking pictures or video, they get screwed up and dark, because all the light from the windows makes the camera go "Hey it's bright, I'm going to be dark".   The other, minor problem is, while having the spectator area above the gym, offers a great view, it is not overly large, and I think if the tournament grows anymore,  It may become over crowded.  I know our space started out comfortable, but as people went downstairs to compete, and came back up, it shrank drastically.  I even had a strangers gi on top of my gi bag at one point.  No big deal, we are all friends and whatnot in the community, but that is a pretty good indicator that space was limited and people were feeling cramped.

So, we got to the tournament about 30 minutes before it was scheduled to begin, and low and behold, competitors were already weighing in,  all the mats had staff at them, and the referees were dispersed to the mats.  Half an Hour before the scheduled start.  Are you serious?  This was our first indication that we were indeed in for a treat.  Speaking of referees,  the head referee was none other than Andre Terencio, the head referee of the IBJJF.  Arguably the best BJJ referee on the planet.  The 18 member team, consisted of 90% Brown and Black belts.  There were, I believe, 2 purple belt referees, both of which had extensive experience.  They had 18 referees for 10 rings.  It was great to see the referees able to have breaks,  watch each other work, and have rest and food.   This keeps them fresh, and alert and makes them better referees all day long.  That being said,  the refereeing wasn't perfect,  there will always be mistakes, but they were minimal from what I saw  As usual,  Jon had points score against him when he went for a baseball bat choke (got his guard passed),  and there were some points from 50/50 that were missed, but overall,  excluding crazy situations,  the refereeing was solid!

The first matches started right on time, and that schedule was maintained throughout the day.  Divisions were even started early!  Of course, if not everyone was there yet,  they waited until the scheduled time,  but It was amazing to see the efficiency improvements.   They had 2 large TV's set up with a feed showing what divisions were on what mat, and which divisions were currently being weighed in.  This was really helpful with the kids on Sunday Morning, and was a cool extra as a spectator.  It could use some improvement, as the font was small and difficult to read, and the corner screen should have faced the spectator area better.  But, that's just being picky and looking for things to complain about.

They had paramedics for the medical staff, which is always good.  They know how to handle the serious injuries and head trauma that can sometimes happen.  They do have a tendency to recommend going to the hospital pretty quickly, but I think, they have to do that to cover their asses.  I think, ideally, a combination of paramedics, and athletic therapists, or a sports injury doctor would be perfect.   The paramedics are great for assessing concussions,  and major injuries, but for determining a torn ACL, or other weird sport specific injuries, they are a little bit out of their element.  Also, having an athletic therapist would be super helpful when it comes to having injuries taped to keep competing.  That being said,  they were very friendly,  very attentive to the mats all day, and well equipped to deal with everything that came up throughout the day.

Saturday's absolute saw 10 trips to the IBJJF worlds given out.  10!!!   4 of which went to the ladies.  Unfortunately, none went to me.  Whatever, one day I will beat my nemesis.    The prizes went to the following divisions:
  • Brown/Black Male Heavy Absolute (middle and up) LEE VILLENEUVE
  • Brown Black Male Light Absolute (light and down) DARSON HEMMINGS
  • Purple Male Heavy Absolute (middle and up) MATTHEW PASQUALE
  • Purple Male Light Absolute (light and down) REUBEN SAGMAN
  • Blue Male Heavy Absolute (middle and up) NATHAN DOS SANTOS
  • Blue Male Light Absolute (light and down) ERIC CONG PHAN
  • Purple and up Female Heavy Absolute (middle and up) ALISON TREMBLAY
  • Purple and up Female Light Absolute (might and down) MELISSA BISCARDI
  • Blue Heavy Female absolute (middle and up) YACINTA NGUYEN-HUU
  • Blue Light Female absolute (light and down)  AJ REITSMA
Congratulations to all of these winners.  It takes an insane amount of skill, dedication, and hard work to be able to win these absolutes and my hats off to all of you! 

The format for Sunday's No Gi Event was a bit different than the normal OJA style. It was not split by belt, but by experience.  Novice being less than 2 years, and expert being over 2 years.   This was a cool idea and it lead to some very interesting match ups.   Unfortunately, I think it scared a lot of competitors away, the nogi divisions were significantly smaller than the gi divisions, which is not that unusual, but when you think that the expert, should, in theory, encompass all the blue, purple, brown, and black belts,  they should have been much larger.    I think the fact that the prizes for the absolutes were much less significant also affected the numbers.   That being said, there were some ridiculously good matches in the nogi on Sunday and I hope that they can tweak the format a bit and get more guys and gals out next year.  I was really looking forward to the nogi,  since, with the combined levels, I actually had a division of 4.  Unfortunately, an injury kept me from being able to compete. :(

Speaking of Sunday's experience... How did I forget,  THE KIDS RAN ON TIME.   You heard me right.  The kids!  Ran on Time!   How is that even possible?  I don't know, but they did it!!  Like normal,  they moved kids up that were to heavy for their division, and they combined and rearranged on the fly as they had to and STILL ran on time.  Everyone was certain, that nogi would be starting late, but low and behold,  they were weighing people in almost an HOUR before the scheduled start and some nogi divisions started before the scheduled start.   One thing, with the kids, that wasn't quite ideal, was, one of our kids,  only got 2 fights,  in a division of 9.   They did 3 pools of 3, and the winner of each pool went against each other.   The OJA normally does round robins for the kids, so the pools were to be expected, but I would think a pool of 4 and a pool of 5 would be better. Divisions of 5 they leave as one pool, so It seems like the best case.   Then some kids get 3 fights, and some 4, but that's better than most of them getting 2, except for the 3 winners, who get 5.  It would work out to be more even that way, in the long run.

We had a decent size team out to the event this time around.  Not nearly enough to threaten for one of the team trophies,  but considering the size of our club, I think 22 competitors is pretty good.   I believe, all together,  the team earned 5 golds, 7 silver, and 5 bronze.  I try to keep track, but it's hard sometimes.  Some teams had several pages of competitors. I hope, next year, that they implement the IBJJF rule where only 2 competitors from one team can register per division.  After that, they have to register as a different team.  I think that will make for some more interesting and diverse divisions and team trophy winners.  I still don't think our small team would vi for the title, but when one team has like 15 affiliates then are they really actually teammates?

Enough about that... Let's talk about my awesome team mate Matt.  Matt used to be... a big boy,  but, he's worked his way down to making super heavy!   It's been insane watching him shrink over the last few months.  He's put my journey to middleweight to shame!  He trounced the Super heavyweight guys like they were children and he did it with a smile.   It was a pleasure to watch, he fights and moves like a light or feather weight.  Here is one of his fights from Saturday.  Feel free to turn the sound down/off It's full of inane conversation and stupidity.  Here is another one, from nogi on Sunday, again, turn off the sound, it's full of me heckling the referees and being a bad person haha.   Anyway,  Matt is crazy, and lots of fun to train and roll with. 

I suppose I should talk about how my matches went,  I don't really want to though, because I wasn't to thrilled about my performance.  In my division, I only had one fight, since it was just the two of us.  Tiffany implemented her game plan pretty much perfectly, and I did very little to stop her.  I'm not sure where I was for that fight, but hey,  She did everything right and kicked my ass.  

The absolute went a little better.  First match was against Alison,   it was a good match, as much as a match against Alison can be.  I have yet to beat her, and this weekend did not change that.   It went down to points in the end,  with Alison winning 29-0 or so.  I did get a semi-decent armbar attempt in, but it was sloppy and easily defended.  She had me in a triangle at one point, but we ended up out of bounds, and my head was almost popped out anyway. 

At this point, I had to explain to the guy with the drawsheet how they worked.  I know a 3 person division is a little odd, but they probably should have explained them.  I also had to tell them how long my rests were supposed to be.  It's all good though, they believed me and everything carried on wonderfully.

Next, I had to fight Tiffany again,  because it was just the three of us, so as the loser of the top half of the bracket, I filled in the empty spot on the bottom half.   This fight went a lot better than the first,  I passed her guard, and set up an armbar, she escaped, we had some scrambles, and I passed and set it up again.  I managed to get the tap after a couple minutes of fighting.  It was a great match I think.  

This put me inline for a rematch with Alison for the final.  I started out good, but then put my arm in a stupid place and bam! Kimurad!!  She didn't crank it any harder than she really needed to.  But, since I didn't have a grip on anything, it ended up wrenching pretty bad.   But, if she hadn't have done that, chances are, I would have gotten a grip, and defended, and blah blah blah.  I don't blame her one bit for my shoulder getting tweaked.  It's still pretty sore, but I'm not taking any advil or anything for it anymore so that is progress.   It's just kind of weak, and hurts if I do something stupid like try to change the water bottle cooler at work using mostly my left arm.   I'm just going to take it easy this week,  train light next week, and do what I can to protect it till worlds. 

Speaking of Worlds!!!   Steve leaves on Saturday, Stephen and Alasdair leave on Sunday and Jon and I leave on Friday!! Joel is actually in California right now on a kind of vacation.  He's scoping out the sites and hopefully arranging for some team t-shirts for us.  I am so freaking excited!  Training at Art of Jiu Jitsu for a couple days and then competing at worlds.  It's going to be great.  Last time we trained there I felt like my game improved like crazy from all the small details and the intense pace that they push there.  I'm really looking forward to rolling with my extended team mates again, and with all the new ones that have joined since last summer!  We are fighting under the Atos banner at worlds (well, some of us,  that registered before 2 other in the same division did).  This will be a very different experience, because we will be part of such a large team who could vi for the team title.  This is so weird compared to having a little team of 3 or 4 or, when a big crew comes out 20, who come out to play and support each other. 

We aren't going to have much time for site seeing this time around, not like we did last time either.  I'd love to beable to hit up Atos San Diego while we are there.  Maybe it will end up part of the training schedule for the camp.  I'd also like to get some shopping in, of course, hahah. 

Also coming up fairly soon is the Five Grappling Event. I met the organizer/owner of Five at the Ontario Open this past weekend.  He seemed like a very cool cat, and they have a lot of great ideas to grow the sport of Jiu Jitsu and build a league and whatnot.   I think the event in July is going to be great and would strongly encourage anyone looking for something a little different to check it out. 

Grappling Industries is also coming back to Toronto in July.  The 20th to be exact.  It's going to be a killer event, with lots of trips and prizes.  I will be refereeing, as well as competing in the gi AND nogi!

I made this cheesecake last night, it's keto friendly, but not diet friendly, if you know what I mean. It's super addicting and I can't stop eating it.  I need Jon to come home and stop me from putting another slice in my fat face before I end up struggling to make Medium Heavy, not just Middle hahah.    Here is my pin of the recipe on Pinterest.  I love pinterest.  I have found so many amazing recipes on there.  I have pinned a billion of them, and tried about 20 or so.  I wish I had way more time to cook and bake, I would love to try every single recipe I've pinned.  Though, if I did, I'd probably be right back in Heavy in no time.  and ain't no one got time for that. 

I think that is enough rambling for me for one day.  My shoulder is getting kind of sore from typing anyway. 


  1. At least you didn't get DQd for an accidental leg reap in 60 seconds of round 1, match 1 and have you day ended!!! lol

    1. oh no!!!! Did you do that? Man, that sucks. the knee reap rule is ridiculous. I feel like I could write a whole blog post just about how silly and over the top it is.