Saturday, 22 March 2014

Ascension Tournament March 1st and 2nd 2014: Tournamet Recap

The 9th annual ascension tournament went down on March 1st and 2nd this year.  It was much later in the year,  I suppose to make room for the OJA sub only event that got snowed out.  I think the date changed affected the turn out a bit, with it ended up very close to the Pro Trials, where most of the high level competitors go.   Hopefully, for their 10th anniversary in 2015, they go back to mid-January.  This event is a great way to kick off the tournament year.

The event ran over 2 days with the first day being home to the junior to adult gi divisions, and Sunday being home to the kids gi, and adult nogi divisions.  This "pre-schedule" was set ages ago, it's a pretty common way to do things b/c adult gi tends to be the biggest batch of divisions, and nogi + kids tends to be about the same size.  This year that wasn't the case, with almost 300 kids registered!  It made for a nice short day on Saturday, and a fairly long day on Sunday.

The event started pretty much on time, and ran on time, even early by the end of the day Sunday.  Crazily enough, the KIDS ran on time and early. It seems like Mata Leao and the OJA are getting better at predicting how long divisions will take and so schedules are becoming more accurate.

I refereed all day Saturday, and most of Sunday.  I didn't ref during the first two hours because Pura had a bunch of kids competing, and Alasdair was in California, so I was helping coach them and stuff.   It was a lot of fun helping them out. It's really interesting to see how different kids react to competing, winning, losing, and all the rest.

The pura kids all looked great.  It was the first competition for some of them, and they handled all the new craziness of it really well.  We did an in-house a couple weeks before and I think that helped them get used to the concept of it, and was a good stepping stone towards a proper competition.

Generally, refereeeing went pretty well. We had a few hiccups of the rules on the website not matching the rules in the rulebook and that not matching the rules on the table.  There was a lot of confusion about what techniques are allowed at what age/belt. This comes up at pretty much every event, but it seemed extra prevelent at the ascension event.  The OJA has a chart of what age techniques become allowed, but it's terribly incomplete and also isn't up to date about the new 9/10 coloured belts being allowed to do armbars(they used to not be allowed).

The OJA events all follow the same ruleset as far as allowed techniques are concerned, so it would solve a lot of tournaments problems to get that chart updated and complete.  Maybe I'll try and whip something up, it would be helpful for myself and my team and helpful for the OJA and the rest of the community.  

As a referee, our first responsibility is the competitors safety, this is something we all take really seriously, especially with the kids.  I stopped probably 5 or 7 fights in the kids and juvenile divisions mostly because of armbars.  I had one kid talk back to me about stopping his fight.  It's pretty normal for them to say "I didn't tap" but this kid was all "Look here,  my arm was safe blah blah blah".  This kid was really competitive, and I get that losing sucks and they don't have the experience to know that losing one match is way better then having a hyper extended elbow and being out for months.

Anyway...  the ascension tournament always has a great vibe, with tunes on in the background, and tasty food in the cafeteria.  Once again, I was unable to get in on that tasty food this year, because I was to busy refereeing. They did feed us referees pizza, which was cool.  Once again, they thought to bring me a salad instead, which was awesome. I think it's really cool that they remember that I generally don't eat pizza and carbs and stuff.  Of course, I was on a total cheat fest, so I ate pizza, AND salad lol.

Acai Cafe was on hand on Saturday, making their delicious bowls.  They even added peanut butter as a topping, which was AMAZING!  It's a bummer they weren't there on Sunday though, there were tonnes of people there and I think they would have done really well. I was really looking forward to more acai bowls to get me through the day on Sunday.

Ascension really works hard to make the kids have a good day.  They have trophies and awards for outstanding competitors and also very cool medals.  They take care of the adults to, with nice absolute trophies for them.

That's about all I've got to say about that.  The ascension tournament is consistently one of my favourite events and I'm really looking forward to see what they are going to do for their 10th anniversary next year!

PS: I need to stop doing these reviews weeks after the events, I forget this and it's all not fresh any more, but life is to busy sometimes.  Hopefully I can whip something up about pans before I forget it all too.

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