Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Grappling Industries: Montreal Sub Only Feb 1st 2014

This was supposed to be the 2nd sub only event of the year for us, but The OJA one in Kitchener got shut down by the snowmagendonpocalyse that was a minor snow storm. It was pretty disapointing for everyone involved, but there was nothing the OJA could do, the venue shut them down. But, this post isn't about that It's about last weekends road trip to Montreal.

It started out like a typical drive to Montreal, so that means horrible traffic from Mississagua to Whitby.  We headed out around 3pm, and got to our hotel at around 10:00pm.  Which isn't actually that bad, we made great time past whitby, and only took 1 gas/food/pee stop.

We stayed at the Novotel near the Mirabel airport. It was only $100+tax per night, and had free parking and wifi.  The parking and wifi are two of the biggest factors when I pick a hotel.  It's great that a hotel is like 75 or 80 per night, but if parking is 15 bucks (or 20 or 25, or even 35) and there is a fee for the wifi, suddenly $100 looks a lot better.  The room was quite nice, the headboards had cool lights built into them, that we didn't discover until we were heading out in the morning. We couldn't hear people in the hall, the beds were comfy, the room was big enough, and the bathroom was quite nice.   The pillows were kind of flat, and there was only 2 on each bed, so that kind of sucked, but if that is the worst thing about a hotel, I'll stay again.  The bathroom doors were weird, and there wa s a gap in them, which meant zero sound proofing. I swear, this is the one thing hotels can't get right.  We DON'T want to hear everything that is going on in the bathroom!

Anyway... We did our ussual morning routine for these events, go weigh in for the very start of weighins, then head to Cora's for breakfast and back to the venue intime to digest, relax, and get ready to fight.  Cora's is a bit pricey, but it's realiable, never very busy, and pretty close to the venue.

The event started with a 20 minute sub only super fight between Gabe Sagman and Steve Shipinkas.  It was a pretty entertaining match and ended in a draw.  Steve did get a penalty, which the reff used to award Gabe the win, but that was changed right away, since it was only 1 penalty, and it was sub-only, ect.  Neither guy dominated enough to be declared the winner so a draw was a fair outcome.

Next up after the super fight was the GI Super Absolute. This was IBJJF ruleset, open belt, open weight, open gender and it was an extra $10 to enter.  I admit, some of the match ups that happened were pretty interesting, but I am not a huge fan of the concept, especially the guys vs girls thing.   I'll be the first to say that women should be allowed to compete in men's divisions if there is no one in theirs, but to hae the potential for a 120lbs white belt women to fight a 250lbs purple belt guy,  It's just asking for injuries.  There were quite a few girls in the nogi version, and none of them made it out of the first round (that I saw). I admire them for giving it a go, but It's not something I will ever do.  Toronto's Sub only coming up in March has the trips as prizes for the super absolutes and I am pretty disapointed about it.

Anyway... The format for the tournament was round robin, where you get 4 (ish) fights, and then there may or may not be tie breakers. A win by sub got you 3 points, decision got you 2 points, and a tie got you 1.  This worked pretty well, but got a bit tricky when you ran into people who didn't show, and people who dropped out to injury. These were treated as decision wins, and got the "winner" 2 points.  I think, down the road, they would be better of re-doing the draws after weighins closed so that no-shows were eliminated and everyone got a fair shot at getting the full 12 points for 4 sub wins.    After the round robin, if there was  a tie, we did tie breaker matches.  If, after the first 5 minutes, there was no clear winner, they fought another 5 minutes, and another 5 after that if there was still no clear winner.  I only had a few of these come up, and almost all of them had subs in the second 5 minutes, or were clear cut after that 5 minutes.  I don't think anyone ended up in the 2nd overtime.

I reffed for the first 1/2 of the morning, while switching off and watching a couple of new(er) referees.  The I competed in my division (blue+ open weight) and went straight back to refereeing till the end of the day.  My second fight was a real eye opener for me.  I fought Ashten, and she is really tough!  It made me see that I really need to tighten up my game and never give an inch. it was a really good match, and I look forward to competing with her again down the road.

As you probably know, grappling industries uses really small mat areas. It's something I've complained about as a competitor and a referee on many occasions.  I know mats are expensive, and they have limited venue space, blah blah blah blah, but it is DANGEROUS to have such small areas, with such limited safety areas between them.  Especially with inexperienced referees who cannot control the fighters they are refereeing.  On Saturday, I saw fighters repeatedly ending up on the mat beside them, and even once, on the mat beside that.  This is ridiculous.  The referees need to be more assertive, and have better positioning,  the fighters need to have better awareness of where they are, and the tournament needs to have bigger areas and/or bigger saftely areas between them.

This issue was highlighted by a situation that happened to me, while refereeing min-afternoon.  I was standing at the edge of my mat area, keeping myself between the fighters I was refereeing, and the mat behind me, focused on those fighters, when, out of the blue I got full on taken out from behind.   Thankfully, my fighters were still standing, were paying attention, and stopped and waited, while the fighters from the mat behind me climbed off me me (while i was pretty much face planted) and I dragged myself up.  I rolled my ankle and got some pretty awesome bruises from the whole ordeal, which isn't to bad, all things considered, but it could have been MUCH worse and should NOT have happened.

On to happier things.  Pura had a pretty great day, we had 4 people competing:  Steve, Jon, Andrew and myself, and took home 6 medals.   Steve won gold in gi and nogi,  Andrew won gold in gi and bronze in nogi, Jon won Bronze in gi (did not compete in nogi) and I won gold in gi (did not compete in nogi).  Steve was on fire, subbing all his opponents handily.  Jon had a bit of a rough day, he'd been sick for over a week and was still quite under the weather, but he still managed to put a guy to sleep.  Andrew dominated his gi division and looked good in his nogi division as well.  His gi final was a tie breaker that he won after overtime by decision.

I'm not entirely sure what happened, but the gi absolutes for the guys just didn't happen.  My division was already combined, so I didn't have one.  Since there were supposed to be "Season Passes" for the winners of the absolutes, Andrew and Steve were suposed to compete for them.  They both ended up getting a seasons pass, I guess because they were the only ones that followed up about it, or they gave all the winners one, I don't know.  I also earned a seasons pass by winning my division (which was, in reality, an absolute).  Having the season pass will be a nice cost saver for us, since we attend so many competitions and they add up quick.

As the day was winding down, some mats finished way before others,  the mat I ended up refereeing at for most of the afternoon somehow had way way way more matches then the others, so I pawned a few off on 2 other mats.  Then I ended up being done before one of those mats (the other still finished ahead), so I got some of them back.   The guys were giving me "can we go yet" faces for about an hour and a half, so I found one of the other referees who had not started till later in the day, and got him to take over for me.  Thank You for that!  It made me get home at 2am instead of 3 or 4 am!

Yea,  2 am.  We left the venue around 5pm, and it was snowing. Surprise, a snow storm, when we are on a road trip to Montreal.  If we are going to Montreal, between Oct and May, there WILL be a snow storm. It's a fact, it's science, and it cannot be disputed.  The 401 was snow covered and kind of drifty from Montreal to Kingston, where there was a bit of a break, then again from just past Kingston to about Ajax and sporatically on the outskirts of Toronto. Once we hit Toronto proper it was just went so we could make decent time.  In the snow covered bits, we varied between about 60-80km/h.  We saw a bunch of cars in the ditches, and a plow that looked ot be stuck as well, which is kind of hilarious.  I was having flashbacks to last february's nightmare trip TO Montreal, but the good news is, my car handled the snow fine. It stayed out of my air filter, so I am confident we are going to get to the trials without any car trouble this year.

The event Photographer did a really great job taking pictures.  He got a good mix of the mat areas, and got some great shots. You can see the album here on facebook.  As ussual, there are plenty of pictures of me looking stupid while refereeing.  I swear, not a single picture exists of my refereeing where I don't have a stupid look on my face, or am in an awkward position, or am just generally looking stupid or fat or something.  I might have to open up a bounty for event photographers: First one to get a good, flattering, not ugly picture of me refereeing will get a prize.

That's about all I have to say,  overall it was a pretty good event.  It ran surprising quickly considering the format, but I would like to see longer matches, I think it would end up with less draws, but, then we need more mats, more refs, more staff, more space, or we would be there all night.  I'm looking forward to their Toronto Event on March 29th.

Coming up next for me is the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials in Montreal on Feb 22nd.  I'm attempting to cut to the -145lbs weight class, and let me tell you, my body is not a fan.  It's not a fan of middle weight, let alone 145 with a gi on, but I think I will make it.  I SHOULD be able to given what my scale says my body fat is, but who knows, time will tell.   We have a pretty good size crew from Pura heading out for that Trip, so it will be a fun weekend!

Also coming up, just confirmed, announced, registration opened. Is Ascension on March 1st.  This is one of my favourite tournaments of the year.  Omar puts on a great event.  I think I wil just be refereeing though, since Pans is only 2 weeks later, and last time (Ontario Open last year) I competed that close to a major event, it didn't quite work out my way, and thousands of dollars were wasted.  Wasted might be a bit harsh, but I ended up on the sideline for months, wasn't able to compete at worlds, and wasted over a week of vacation time on the trip.

See you on the Mats!