3 May 2009

Essex BJJ Open

You have to respect a man who, a few months shy of his 70th birthday, decides he wants to pursue a career competing in BJJ. I met this man, Peter Griffiths, and I fought him today at the Marc Walder Essex BJJ Open. It was an interesting scenario to say the least, but an elightening one too...

Me (in blue) v Peter Griffiths
at the Essex BJJ Open - May 2009

I was actually expecting all us blue super feathers to be lumped into one group, but the organisers decided to separate the Masters (me and Peter) from the others. So there I was, left to ruminate all morning, as the other fights progressed, on my unique situation.

The interest level in my fight would be high. Here was an amazing figure, more than twice (in some cases, three times) the age of most of the competitors here, and it was just little me that would have to fight him. If I made the most of my speed and aggression (and 30 years age difference) it would just look like I was being the bully. But if I played it easy, I could be in danger of underestimating his strength and experience and make a silly mistake. Clearly he came here to fight, not be part of some circus showpiece, so I decided the best I could do was afford him respect by just playing the way I would on any other guy.

The fight did not last very long in the end. Probably about 30-40 seconds. Peter got a sweet judo foot sweep on me but as I fell, I instinctively yanked for an armbar. After several attempts, I got it in the end and he tapped. End of fight. Gold medal awarded. The Carlson boys watching cheekily mocked me afterwards, saying how I should be ashamed I beat up an old man!

I chatted to Peter after. He is nuts about BJJ and MMA. He trains 3-4 times a week and is as fit as a fiddle so fair dos to him. He also has a background in judo and other martial arts so is no chump. I hope I see more of Peter. He's a credit to his vigour and courage and I'm honoured to have met him.

For me, I'll happily take the victory. I have no control over who I get to fight, but what I am learning is, despite all the distractions and mind games, when you step onto the mat, it's just you and you only for five minutes and I'm getting to find my feet in that moment of solitude.

Rest of the gang.
Actually Mill Hill RGA walked away with a number of golds at the Essex.
Dominique won the open weight female division despite being the lightest, a credit to her skill and talent. As did Daniel Strauss. I would say Daniel's was the best fight I saw as it was against his 'arch nemesis' Stephen Martin. Those two young lads have shot to fame recently, winning several majors, and are both much talked about as hot young talents.

But surprisingly, they have never fought each other. It was a great fight, full of twists and turns, but Daniel's class held through and he won, almost pulling off a submission whilst taking the back.

Dan Jones fought a loaded division, winning 4 fights to make it to the final, only to, in his own words, run out of gas. So silver again (4th time now?) - always the bridesmaid, never the bride!

The purple belt was interesting with Chris Hearns dusting down his gi after a lengthy break out of the competition scene. Fighting a chap called Ian Malone who actually is a roosterweight, Chris pulled guard but found it really tough to sweep or submit the lighter guy. The bout in the end was given to Chris as he did try the more aggressive moves. So gold for Chris!

I should also mention the other Jones fighter - Clint, who fought well to earn his Bronze in a tough tough division.

Overall the comp was very well run, not too many delays and the atmosphere more intimate than you would guess for a large sports hall. The Carlson Gracie team as ever were present in huge numbers and very vocal, which added to the atmosphere. At the end, Jude Samuels gathered every single RGA and Barra person he could find for a group photo that rivalled the same happening at the Carlson's end of the hall and it soon descended into a 'Carlsons' v 'Roger' football style shout out. All in good humour of course.

My thanks to Marc Walder and his team for organising a great event. Roll on the next one!

Mill Hill Roger Gracie Academy and co!

About the Author


Author & Artist

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


Anonymous said...

"When I saw the reference to "Peter" and "70years of age" I thought you meant me.Phew! There's hope for me yet. Congrats to you and "Peter".

Peter McC

Alex said...

Mate suoer fast fight :) nice one!


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