Thursday, 8 August 2013

IBJJF Toronto Open August 3 2013 Report

I've been putting off writing this report and I could say it's because I'm busy at work, or training, or beating The last of us, but while that is kind of true, it's really because I'm just not really excited to write the report.   The tournament was just kind of mediocre.  There was nothing super horrible that stood out, and nothing super amazing.  So I just haven't really felt a lot of drive to write about it.  But, writing about tournaments is what I do, and I promised I would, so here we go.

There were a few things that were not great.

  1. The date:  what is with big tournaments coming to Ontario on long weekends?  Five did it in on Canada Day weekend, and the IBJJF comes to down on Civic Holiday weekend.  Don't these people understand that Canadians like their long weekends to be away?  Also,  Toronto was super busy this weekend with some food festival going on, and, oh yea, the Rogers cup, at York University,  where the tournament was.
  2. The location:  I mentioned it already on the date, but it's worth mentioning in two points.  Don't have a tournament at the same university campus as the rogers cup (kind of a big deal tennis thing apparently)  and then have no directions or information about where to park, which part of the building to go to(if you were lucky to find the right building easily) and whether you have to pay for parking.  We were lucky, we got there super early (no thanks to the parking lot that was the 401), and there was a tiny lot close to the building we needed.  The one ticket machine took my card, charged it, and didn't give me a ticket, but a different one worked.  
  3. The scale was heavy.  A LOT of people complained about it.  A LOT of people were left running and skipping after being well on weight, or under on their home scales, which are usually accurate.  2 of my teammates didn't make weight.  One showed up late (because of the traffic, parking, and location issues) and didn't even get a chance to check before he had to weigh, and was dq'ed, even though he had a lighter gi he could have worn and likely made it.  The other, after flying in the night before and cutting and making weight on the hope scale, was a couple pounds over, and couldn't cut it fast enough.  
  4. The scales were inconsistent.  The outside "test" scale was weighing people .5 heavier then the inside scale, so it was extra heavy.  This is alright, in theory, but it makes people cut extra weight and tire themselves out, just to end up being .5 under on the official scale.  Listen, If you are going to have zero weight allowance have accurate scales that are consistent.  Test them with multiple weights to make sure.  
  5. Ghetto IBJJF score boards, as usual.  I complain about these every time, but I KNOW the IBJJF has good score boards, they had them at worlds.  Use them at all the events PLEASE!!!!   It's not impossible to tell the time by looking at the video recording, but it's not perfect with pauses and whatnot.  Not to mention,  it helps everyone make sure the timekeeper is doing their job.  Let's be honest, we've ALL seen it happen where the time keeper puts 5 instead of 6 minutes on the clock, or forgets to hit start or stop.  It happens more then you think and can be a case for serious issues.  If we could see the time, we (as spectators, coaches, referees) could keep the timekeepers on the ball and know when they are making mistakes.   Not to mention, it's nice as a fighter to be able to see how much time is over / left.  
  6. No warm up area.  We are spoiled in ontario. The OJA always has a warm up area, it's not always big, and it's generally crowded, but it's there.  Five brought a warm up area, and Grappling Industries has introduced one as well.  It's past time the IBJJF stepped up and did the same.  They already have a corralled off area, just put mats on it.  
  7. Spectator Fee: Ok, I know these are pretty standard,  but is it so hard to put it on the tournament information page on the IBJJF website,  and tell us if it's cash only?  Or maybe,  put it on the facebook event,  or tweet it, or ANYTHING!   I know in the states cash is still the more common way of paying for things, but seriously, no one around here uses cash for anything anymore.   I was left scrambling, and thankfully my buddy David helped me out.  it was nice that it was only $5 though.  Props for that. 
  8. The Staff:  They were ok, for the most part.  But there were a few cases of people who didn't seem to be fully trained for their jobs.  This is a pretty common problem at tournaments, and especially when it comes to only hosting a tournament once a year and using a fresh staff.  They were all quite friendly and were working hard though, so this is really more of a neutral point.  
  9. The entry fee. 100 bucks for early bird, I think it was 120 or 125 if you registered late, which wasn't really late at all, it was when most people register.  That is EXPENSIVE.  It was less last year,  even WORLDS was only 100 bucks.  I think they hid the OGA fee in the tournament entry fee, which is sneaky and I am not a fan.  I understand paying a lot for a high quality tournament, but, this tournament did not offer ANYTHING that other, cheaper tournaments don't(unless you count the t-shirt and gracie mag i mention below, but you get that at worlds to).
So, apparently there were a bunch of things that were not great... once I get going on a rant It just kind of keeps going and going and going.  A lot of this is pretty minor and a lot of it is pretty common among many tournaments.   So, please,  if you run a tournament, do not make these mistakes.  

We can't be all negative, well, we could,  there was that one tournament in Michigan that really had nothing good about it.  But, this tournament had lots of good points to:
  • The photographer they had, Veron,  did an amazing job!  He's been around the Ontario scene taking pictures at quite a few events lately and he is a pro.  He always manages to get the pictures of me making funny faces when I announce the winners of fights while reffing.  Seriously though, he's got some great timing in matches and takes great photos.  He didn't stick to just one mat, or division, and covered the event really well. You can see the photos here on the ibjjf album.  (This point is totally a ninja edit, I don't know how i forgot to mention him originally, but seriously , he is a great event photographer).
  • Started On time:  Even early actually.  My teammate Steve was lined up and ready at his mat almost 15 minutes before the start time. Their match (which he won,  fairly dominantly (until the last few seconds when he got to relaxed and almost got bow and arrowed)) started at 10:00 sharp.  But the mid afternoon they somehow ended up a bit behind schedule, but It was manageable.  They should probably have more mats next year.  
  • Competent Referees:  I didn't see any terrible mistakes by the referees. No blatant robberies or really bad calls.  That's not to say they didn't happen, but I didn't see any.  The refs weren't always quick to give points, maybe double checking in their head the situation was right or whatever, I don't know.  I just realized, there was definitely one questionable call.  My friend Arwin got ankle locked and knee reaped. You can see it in this picture.  Ankle locks are tricky, because, like in this case, the guy getting ankle locked can roll that way and it turns it into a reap.  
  • Free T-shirt and Gracie mag. Everyone loves getting an event t-shirt and having a gracie mag to entertain you on the drive home, or while waiting for team mates or whatever is nice to.  
  • Schedule out a few days before the event.  This is pretty helpful for planning, and they have a fairly detailed schedule which is nice.  
  • Brackets online the night before.  They may not have really announced it well (or at all) but they were up by Friday afternoon.  Some people like to see who they are fighting, some don't. It's nice to have that option.   It would be even nicer if they were in a simple PDF or searchable, instead of the ridiculous silverlight app, but hey, it's better then nothing.   It would also be nice if they were posted on the wall at the venue. 
  • More black, brown, and purple belts then last year.  Last year, I think there was only 1 blackbelt division and absolute. This year there was 3, or maybe even 4.  There were a bunch of brown belt fights, and tonnes of purple.  The scene is evolving and I like it!  I hope this trend continues at more tournament in Ontario. 
  • More ladies were there then last year.  Last year, I don't think there were any purple belt women, no masters women, and only a handful of blue and whites. This year, there was a purple division, one or two masters divisions, lots (well, relatively lots, for women) of blues, and lots of whites!  It was nice to see.  
  • More international feeling then last year. Last year, there was a few from the states, and Oli Geddes to give the tournament a non GTA feel.  This year, Oli Geddes was back again and there were a LOT of unfamiliar faces from New York especially but also a big team came from Ottawa and other fairly long drives away.
  • There were some great matches.  The purple feather and light weight divisions were ridiculously competitive.  There some serious wars in them. Congrats to Arther for picking up his first IBJJF Gold!  The black belt matches were pretty excellent to.  Gringo Vs Andre Figueira was great.  Andre went after a baseball choke which was quite sneaky and put a stop to Gringos pass for quite a while.  Gringo managed to get past it though, and ended the match with his back going after a bow and arrow.  Speaking of baseball chokes! There was another guy in Jon's division who put someone to sleep with it!   It was weird to see!  They ended up faceing each other, and Jon lost, but not by the baseball choke. I'll be honest, I probably would have laughed pretty hard if he had been caught by it. But Jon respected the grips (maybe to much) and didn't try to pass when he had them set up.

Pura had a decent sized team out, but with a bunch of us sidelined with injuries and away on vacations and whatnot they weren't able to reproduce last years 3rd place results.  Everyone looked really good out there though. Especially Greg Young,  man, that guy is scary.  He is so explosive and balls out, I would not want to have to fight him.   I hope he competes more because it's pretty entertaining to watch.  

Tomorrow I find out what my sports doctor wants to do with my shoulder.  There is a small tear in the labrum, and in my bicep tendon.  No big tears, so maybe no surgery. We shall see what he says.  Either way, competition is still pretty far down the road, since I tried training earlier this week, and ended up hardly sleeping at all on Monday night because of it(truth be told, it's quite possible i just fell asleep on it wrong, because it didn't really hurt when I went to bed).

Next weekend we make the drive up the 401 to Montreal for Grappling Industries No Gi Worlds something something something. Should be a pretty good event,  they are giving away a couple trips to No Gi Worlds which would be cool to win. Alasdair and Jon will be competing, I'll be refereeing.  Should be a fun time. Then on Sunday WANDERLEI SILVA IS IN TOWN!  Tickets are very reasonable(and they are supporting relief efforts in Haiti), and it should be a cool little event.  I'll be there talking pictures and stuff.

September 7th is the next grappling industries event in Toronto.   Here is the poster.  They are giving away a bunch of trips, as usual.  I've got my fingers crossed my shoulder will be magically ok by this, but I think that is an unrealistic dream and I am planning on more like maybe the IBJJF Montreal, or even something early 2014.  

Also coming up is the GTA Classic.  This is one of the OJA's best tournaments.  It's a good back to school kind of event.  Gi only, so it's not a super long day. Plus they give samurai swords to the absolute winners, which is bad ass.  (I'll be honest, the quality of last years swords is a bit suspect, but maybe mine was just a lemon).  Registration opens Friday(August 9th), and the first 50 get a t-shirt!  

There is a cool new site in the works called True North BJJ.   It's focus is on getting tournament information out there that is useful for people.  It's going to steer away from the Meme's and bro-ness that seem to be around on a lot of jiu jitsu communities and work more on getting quality content that people who do jiu jitsu in Ontario and the surrounding area want and need like transit information for tournaments. You can find them on  twitter and facebook or their website.  Look for some content written by yours truly to be there soon(ish), as I get time to write it.

Don't be surprised if you don't here from me till after grappling Industries Montreal. Life is pretty crazy right now, with my work moving to Hamilton(YAY), and probably going to be starting seeing my phsyio therapist regularly (and for doing more then a few range of motions exercises) plus lots of strength training outside of that.  

I'm going bike shopping this weekend I think, it would be pretty pathetic for me to drive the 6-7k to work when the weather is nice.  I'll probably end up biking some days, taking the bus there and running home some days, and then when the weather gets shitty, driving.  I haven't really biked since like 5 years ago camping, and before that, it was probably almost 5 years to.  My butt was super sore after that, but hopefully it adjusts quickly.  I think I'm just going to get a super cheap one first, and then if I actually get into the habit of biking, maybe next spring save some money for a fancy one. I don't want to spend to much, b/c let's be honest, downtown Hamilton isn't the safest place to have a bicycle.


  1. Great article... I think by the white belt Masters they were over an hour behind... It also seemed like they didn't have enough ref's... Quite frequently there were 2 of the 4 mats with no ref...
    The OJA runs much better tournaments at a lot lower of a cost...

    1. Hey! Thanks for the comment! I am not sure why they ended up having pauses, there seemed to be enough refs, but maybe with some of them also competing it caused scheduling conflicts. I've seen this at a lot of events and I like that the ones that allow the refs to compete try to accommodate them. I think it gets more people refereeing. But, then they need to have more refs on staff to cover the mats in the mean time. Which usually works out pretty well.