24 Apr 2005

Biting the BJJ tournament cherry

Just got back from SENI 05 - The UK's largest martial arts exhibition and trade show. It was the usual mix of martial arts stores, demonstrations, 'PR' girls and seminars. Top of the bill, in our eyes however, was the Gracie European Invitationals - arguably the top BJJ tournament in the UK.Our BJJ club entered five players - all were BJJ contest virgins, so there was no expectations and nothing to lose, spirits before the competition were high. Our boys on paper did well - two bronze medals and one who got through to the second round. The results however hid a slight sense of disappointment from the team, who all, apart from Brad, lost in their first round fight. Of course, me and the other travelling posse of club supporters did our best to convey the fact that they did marvellously well for their first ever tournament. For players who had not even trained in BJJ for a full year, to hang there against BJJ veterans who have been training for years, is a remarkable achievement. So my hats off to all at the RGDA-UK academy for putting in a valiant effort. Next year, we all agreed, things would be very different.

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Apart from the drama of watching your team mates battle it out on the mat. The whole event was very enjoyable and well organised. Yours truly did his best to take some snapshots before being unfairly chucked out the inner zone by the stewards. However, like a good pap, I managed to sneek back in for some action shots with the snazzy D70.
One thing I did not capture, was the appalling scene between one blue belt finalist and the referee. This chap clearly did not expect to lose and when he did, argued in the most heated manner possible over various technicalities that he disagreed on. Taking off his gi top and throwing it down, swearing, finger pointing - it was scenes not unlike the worst you see during a football match. All the way through his tirade of abuse, the ref remained calm and unswerving. It was a good thing that he did, for the ref was none other than Roger Brooking - one of the UK's most senior instructors and, with his rep, not someone to cross swords with.

Other notable matches included a very technical and surprisingly entertaining juniors division, and a small but competitive women's division. There were rumours that our owb instructor was to compete against a brown belt, but the tournament over-ran so the match was cancelled - shame as many of us wanted to see Eddie in action.

Elsewhere, in the exhibition, I saw very cool demos of capoiera, Muay thai (with the evergreen Master Sken), some bizarre Indian martial art dance thing, lots of hot PR girls (well they were nicer to look at than musclely blokes), aikido sparring (thought the two were incompatable) and Royce Gracie. All demonstrated to a very high standard. Well, so would you if you had to perform in front of thousands of, mostly, expert eyes.

Finally, a small note to the Gracie Barra club who all looked like they were devotees of the Millwall supporters club...COME ON THE TRAIN!!!!! You know who you are.
Roll on 2006.

About the Author


Author & Artist

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



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