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!

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