16 Sep 2018

Tournament: National Masters BJJ Champsionships 2018 - my debut comp as a black belt


Today I had the immense honour of competing against the legend Marc Walder at the National Masters Tournament in Hereford. It was my first competition as a black belt and my first for over five years (my last competition was as a purple belt). I had so much fun!

The actual match lasted the full five minutes with no points scored for either person. I pulled guard, tried to sweep and grab things while Marc tried to pass. To the untrained eye it probably didn't appear to look like the most dynamic of matches but I can assure you, there were a hundred and one things going on, much of it unseen - from the grip exchanges to the constant pushing and yielding etc. At one stage I am sure I accidentally punched him in the chin, I apologised, he said it was cool and then we carried on trying to submit each other. It was all very polite and sporting.



Ultimately Marc deservedly was awarded the referees decision as he was the more dominant player. Me? I’m just so happy I got to compete again. It was such a buzz.

Well done also to my student Steve who took silver in the master 4 middle heavy division. Steve and I both drove up together the night before and shared stories and good company together which helped take away a lot of our pre-comp nerves. And there was no doubt I was quite nervous entering this tournament, not only because it was my first at black belt, but I had the task of meeting the highly renowned Marc Walder - who made history as being among the very first UK BJJ people to have earned their black belt.

Photo Credit: ADP - A Different Perspective Photography


The great thing about this tournament, being a Masters only event, is the commitment from the organisers in trying to attract as many of the older competitors as possible. I saw Master 5 and 6 division competitors competing (Masters 1 = 30+, Masters 2 = 35+, so Master 6 would be 55 and over...incredible!) I'm Master 4 (49 years of age) and yet I did not even feel remotely like I was the old guy there haha!



Massive thank you to all my training partners at Mill Hill BJJ, Boxmoor BJJ and St Albans BJJ, to my PT @Trojan_pt  - thanks to his work with me during all those cold winter training sessions, I felt in terrific condition, strong and plenty of gas in the tank. Thanks to me lovely Borehamwood BJJ Club for those who came to support and all the wonderful messages sent to us, it really helped. Huge thank you to my coach Nicholas Brooks for being such an inspiring force. Also to Dave Coles and his team who have done such a superb job building this competition up into such a successful event.




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About the Author

Meerkatsu

Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.

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