From Fazal Khan
You could have been mistaken for thinking that day two was a completely different tournament, but it wasn’t. Around one quarter, if not less, of the people who had attended the day before remained. The tournament started on schedule with purple belts taking center stage at 10.00 am. Only two of the four mats were needed on this occasion and the fights started on schedule. Because there were so few competitors left at this level, you were guaranteed to watch a decent fight if not all of them.
The purple belt matches were not long drawn out affairs as the white and blue belt matches the day before, instead there were some very slick and sweet chokes and holds applied within the first couple of minutes of the 6 minute rounds. I counted about 10 purple belts in all, and suffice to say the heats were over pretty quickly, with the tournament in danger of running to far ahead of schedule. A complete opposite to the unfortunate events the day before.
Any remaining white belts and blue belts were allowed to register for the open weight categories, and as such were asked to wait until later in the afternoon to register so that more competitors could enter.
Meanwhile as these announcements were made the brown belts started to warm up and prepare for their bouts. Some of the brown belts were referees from the day before and were all to eager to have their turns on the mat. The Brown belt matches were quick and fierce and a pleasure to watch. The higher the belt ranks got, the slicker and more entertaining the matches became. Which I suppose is a given.
Needless to say the brown belts looked focused and prepared to fight, a marked contrast to the nervousness and tension that filled the air one day prior. You could tell that these were people who had been here and done this on many occasions before and on a larger scale.
Once again the brown belt heats were over quickly and the tournament was in danger of running too quickly this time. No one complained, except this caused a problem for people who were not present and weren’t due to fight until later in the afternoon. Because of this, gaps were slowed down between matches and this gave enough time for people to wander off to grab a bite to eat or check out the two stalls set up with clothing and gear for sale.
The time came just after lunch when the black belts took centre stage. Unfortunately, Eduardo Telles had not turned up or was not available to fight. Instead a fighter named “Netto” from London Fight Factory took on “Leopoldo” from Mario Reis‘ academy in London. Netto donned a huge bandage around his head which was covering a massive gash and stitches on his forehead and was also the slightly smaller of the two fighters.
At this level though, I don’t think that really matters much at all. Everyone who was left in the hall crowded around the corner mat, and got ready to record the bout. There was complete silence in the hall and you could have heard a pin drop. It was somewhat reminiscent of the crowds at Japanese pancrase matches.
The bout was pretty uneventful. Netto decided to trap Leopoldo’s leg with a sort of scissor lock on each encounter and the two were locked on the floor for pretty much the full ten minutes. Whenever an opening appeared, both would scramble to gain control but would come apart back to their feet. As Netto kept going for the same move over and over, Leopoldo managed to block his move and stabilized top control, usually from within Netto’s half guard and gain himself an advantage point each time, slowly racking them up as he went along. There was a point about 7-8 minutes into the 1 minute bout when both fighters were on their feet and Leopoldo tried to kick Netto’s ankles in an ankle sweep from under him. Unfortunately, they looked more like kicks and because of the silence, were heard that much louder as a result and Netto protested on both occasions. Pedro Bessa was the judge of the fight and gave Leopoldo the advantage recognizing that he had attempted the leg trip but managed to make it look like a kick. And before you knew it the bout was over. Leopoldo won the fight 6 advantage points to 1 and was proclaimed the “Black belt super fight” tournament winner.
After this followed the white belt open weight and white belt categories. The blue belt open weight category flew by in a blink of an eye and was over before you knew it had started. There were only a handful of competitors.
I am a bit biased at this point as I was entering the white belt open weight category and my own focus was here. There were more fighters left over from the day before eager to participate and therefore required everyone to be ready to fight as to not repeat the events from Saturday.
The most eventful bout in this articular heat , which I must share, was a bit ill advised to say the least. A gentleman in his forties, around 60kg was ready to lay it on the line and take on fighters in the open weight masters category. He was to face a 105kg European bronze medalist. The larger man was somewhat bemused by the affair and decided to finish the bout quickly by tripping him up quickly and going for a submission in under a minute.
I think this summed up the whole weekend. A smaller competition with its mind set on and able to take on bigger events but in need of better preparation and planning. Both the competition and the older man had guts, and enjoyed it, which summed up everyone’s attitude over the weekend.
Everyone was willing to put aside the mistakes in organisation if they got a chance to fight and prove themselves. This has the potential to be one of the biggest and best competitions in the UK if they get it right next time, and I have no doubt they will as everyone involved, from competitors to instructors are willing to make the trip again and help establish a domestic competition to be proud of.
This is an installment in our Tournament Review Tuesdays column, where FightWorks Podcast listeners submit reports about Brazilian jiu-jitsu and grappling competitions that happened the weekend prior. (Yes, it was supposed to appear yesterday but my surgery prevented me from posting it )
The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of The FightWorks Podcast.