by Jen Flannery
After driving over 5 hours and hitting 3 accidents on the way, I finally made it into Northern Jersey on Friday evening for the ADCC Northeast Regional Tournament the next day. Next hurdle, finding The Edge in order to weigh in and attend the FREE Marcelo Garcia seminar. A couple stops for directions (and about an hour) and wishing I had a GPS, I arrived. Despite being late, ADCC Regional promoter, Emilio Novoa, was kind enough to introduce me to Marcelo and both encouraged me to go ahead and change into my gear and jump into the remainder of the seminar.
Over 50 men, women, and children were paired up and going through sweeps and submissions from butterfly guard under the watchful eye of Marcelo Garcia and a few willing assistants on the sides. Marcelo graciously went longer than planned and then offered to roll with anyone interested. He easily (and gently) handled each taker before stopping for a glass of water. With a smile, Marcelo posed in more than a few pictures and signed his name on the belts of his excited fans. To top things off, Marcelo closed with the exciting announcement that he will upload video of every class he teaches at his new academy in NYC for all to see on his website, mginaction.com.
Close to 200 competitors arrived at Cody Arena the next morning to find parking attendants greeting and directing them to the free parking garage. The entire event was set-up and ready to go when the competitors entered in the morning. There were vendors, gatekeepers, police officers, medics, and my favorite (most often neglected aspect at tournaments) was the large amount of warm-up space available. Before the day’s matches commenced, the head referee called everyone onto the competition floor to ensure that the ADCC specific rules were clear to all competitors and coaches prior to the start.
With the rules explained, the advanced men’s divisions kicked off, followed by advanced women before moving on to the intermediates and beginners. Most of the major teams on the East Coast were represented, including: Alliance, Gold Team, Lloyd Irvin Martial Arts, Fifty/50 BJJ, Royler Gracie/David Adiv, Balance, and New Jersey Martial Arts to name a few. Though the men’s divisions were anywhere between 8 and 16 competitors deep, the late announcement that winners of the advanced division would receive placement in next years’ nationals likely contributed to the fact that few top-tier competitors participated in the event. Those who did however, made a splash. Alliance purple belt phenom, Dave Bass, won all of his matches including a win over MMA legend Jorge “Macaco” Patino before a very controversial decision in the semi-final ended his day.
The women’s divisions were pretty spare, with only a single competitor (me) occupying the lightest weight class in the advanced division and none in the one above. The heavier weights had a few girls, but it would definitely be nice to see a few more at future events.
One thing that surprised me about the ADCC tournament, this having been the first that I attended, was that the table workers kept score and the referee was not able to override their decision. I saw at least one case where the black belt referee admitted that the score was incorrect. Some of the table workers did not seem to be at the level necessary to keep accurate score. Though this is obviously not an issue at the Professional ADCC main event, it is definitely something I hope the Regional promoters will address for the future.
Overall, the tournament had the feel of a professional competition, which for a new organization is particularly impressive, a credit to all the work Emilio and his team put in. I am definitely looking forward to going to the ADCC Nationals next year and I have high expectations for a very professionally run event.
Jen Flannery trains and teaches a women only class at Fifty/50 BJJ in Arlington,VA, part of the Brasa network, and writes the BJJ Cailin blog.
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. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of The FightWorks Podcast. Through the rest of 2009, if you submit a Tournament Review Tuesday piece, you might win an Isami gi!