Tag Archives: Submission Only

Progress.

On Saturday, I decided to get my arse into gear and go back down to Newcastle for another of Speedy’s bi-annual grading days. I hadn’t been down in a whole fucking year. Which is pretty shitty on my part but it couldn’t really be helped due to problems with anxiety and health. I say arse into gear, I had to be coaxed into going but hey. This is a big ‘un by the way, sorry about that.

This time last year, I had my arse well and truly punted all over Tyne Met by Hubert and Fahad. Their technique was far superior to mine, and I felt embarrassed by even being there. You’re inevitably going to go to battle with people that are better than you, but that’s the first time I just wasn’t able to put up any fight at all (that I can recall). It was a whitewash, and I’ve felt shitty since.

Fast forward to May and I couldn’t attend the grading for two main reasons – I was having issues with my stomach (AGAIN!), and I really couldn’t face the idea of getting absolutely obliterated in front of my peers again. I’m not what you’d call a competitor. I was never athletically gifted as a child, or even inclined to be (save for riding my bike fucking everywhere, and being shite at football behind the park). It wasn’t until my adult years I actually found something physical that I genuinely fell in love with, in grappling. What I haven’t fallen in love with of course, is the peaks and valleys that go with it. There’s trippy highs, agonising lows and the plateaus in between. That’s some difficult shit right there. When you’re not an athlete, the highs are few and far between, so you’ve got to push through all the bullshit to get there.

Since last year’s grading, I’ve missed quite a bit of training to start the new calendar year, so that I could focus on fixing the physical ailments that governed my abilities (or inabilities, as it were) on the mats. With a bit of help from the doctor, I’m now in the best place physically I’ve been for years (my fitness is still shocking, because I’m still pretty fucking lazy). I don’t worry about pain or discomfort when going to training, and I can actually just focus on the training. So that’s great. Leading up to this grading, I’ve been far more attentive in my training – taking in as many classes and sessions as I can with a busy work schedule.
I’ve been able to teach here and there, and most importantly I’m not focusing entirely on Gi training. I’ve been sparring NoGi  and picking up bits and bobs from the people I’m rolling with, and the coaches around the NoGi scene. This approach and mix of training partners has allowed my game to come on from where it was last year. I feel confident on the mats in my own club, and that’s pretty cool because it took a long fucking time to get there.

Where I still don’t feel confident is the competitive scene. I’m well aware that a friendly inter-club shouldn’t be considered competition, but it is. Doing poorly there, reflects poorly on the training and learning I’ve been given over the last year. I’m not only embarrassing myself, but my coaches and training partners. So that’s not a position I like to be in. That’s where my anxiety stems from. Looking foolish in front of my peers, when I believe I can do better.

This year it took me quite a bit of convincing to get back down to Newcastle for this grading day. Strangely enough I feel comfortable as a purple belt now, but when you’re pulling up the ever lengthening measuring stick of where you stack up against other purple belts, I still consider myself wholly shitty at this sport. As a result, going to war with other people my age/weight/level crumbles me. I’m fine until I step on the mats, but it’s then that I just shell up into oblivion. If I’m having a friendly roll, I’m cool. If I think competitively, I shit my pants.

My other half was very instrumental in pushing me towards overcoming this anxiety. I also turned to Speedy, Sloany and Grant who all delivered choice words to help me take the pressure off of the inter-club. I felt suitably relieved and actually happy about going down to Newcastle to support my teammates.
I’d shifted the focus off of my own journey, onto my peers. I want to see them do well, and to do that, I need to be there.

The Dundee and Perth lot did really well. I took the side of the mats, and coached where I could alongside other seasoned Jiu-Jidiots. Adam, Ronnie and Sloany were the standouts of the day, all getting long overdue shiny new belts (blue, blue and purple retrospectively). Something I really appreciated from the Newcastle and Darlington lot was their coaching instruction when the Dundee and Perth guys were facing each other. Naturally at the side lines, you can’t pick a side when you know both parties involved well, so it was great to see other guys taking that on, and helping out.

For my own match, I faced one of Dom’s up and comers ( a 10th Planet Purple belt). As soon as Dom approached me about it, I lost whatever spark I had for my proposed match. I was meant to be facing familiar ground, and now I was facing the great unknown. Scary. I could see him warming up, and I was already defeated mentally. I needed a moment to collect my thoughts and get my shit together. As I was walking over to the other mat to see how Sloany’s match was going, I was called up. This was it. Me vs Mighele right fucking now. I faced him, shook hands, bumped fists etc and he went for the takedown. I just did what I could, where I could to stop his onslaught of attacks. In my mind’s eye there were scrambles, but I don’t know if I’m remembering the fight better than I actually did, because of the positive comments I received afterwards. At one point, he had me in an armbar that I was later told the ref was on the verge of stopping the fight over, but I just waited until I could find my way out (a big thanks to those who were coaching me from the sidelines at this point. I distinctly remember hearing Ant). Once I’d worked my way out of the armbar, I managed to scramble to my feet before getting tripped again.
I attempted a single butterfly sweep, but failed miserably and ended up in a dorsal-fin kimura. This wasn’t good, but I wasn’t tapping. Mighele adjusted and lead me into the reverse triangle. When he pulled my arm across my neck, I was truly fucked. I was done. Life was leaving my lungs and I tapped.

In all that though, I felt calm. I don’t think I lost my cool, became panicked or embarrassed myself like I did last year. Sure, I was bettered in the fight but I actually had fun going against Migele, and would like to do so again one day, regardless of the result. If I’d had a moment to collect my thoughts, I probably would’ve picked more faults in my game, as I often do. Afterwards, I spoke with Migele and Billy (another of Dom’s guys). It was a good reflection on the match that just happened, and also part of what makes this sport, and these inter-clubs so great. There’s no animosity between anyone. It’s not the demon filled hell pit I seem to have in my imagination. I shouldn’t be fearing this like I am, or suffering whatever anxiety I do. I need to move on. I need to move forward.

Next year, I’m going to take a more active approach to competing. It’s something I’ve severely neglected in Jiu-Jitsu and part of what I believe makes me such a shitty purple belt. The first competition I have my sights on is in February, and a lot of guys from the club are already keen to go. I’m going to have to get out there, and start getting my arse kicked by people that people that actually want to kill me, so that when it comes to the inter-club I can better make the distinction between war and fun.

I also had some great rolls with Big Show, Dom and Speedy on the day that deserve a mention. Dom and Speedy toyed with me, like the devious bastards they are. Speedy gave me a few things to work on, so that’s cool.

I’m aware I’ve rambled throughout this piece, but that’s entirely the point of this blog. I have to be able to put down the good, the bad and the ugly. The big difference with this year’s ‘performance’ is that I’m raring to go, and ready to get back on the mats tonight. Which is exactly where I need to be to continue improving. I’ve made progress in that defeat, rather than shying away like I did a year ago.

Off you fuck then.

Backstreet’s Back.

ALRIGHT.

Hello again, kind listener. You’re through to WTF Radio, 96-108 on the FM. Coming at you live, from Santa Blanca, Casa de Mesa, Bravo Bravo. The original, one and only shite talker extraordinaire is back. Back on the mats. And feeling healthy. Or at least pretending to.

I’ve not been here for a while. Not that you’ll have noticed. This is because my health hasn’t been the best of late, and as a result I haven’t been able to get my arse to training, without the absolute crippling fear of shitting everywhere.
I broke at the tail end of last year. I used this as an excuse not to train through to Christmas, and basically just chill through whatever other niggling injuries I had. The joy of BJJ is that you pick up many, and that downtime was a healthy refresher for my body.

However, when it came to hitting the mats again in January, I only managed for a few sessions before having to take some time off due to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I then came back again, and woah NELLY. Have a kick in the dick, and some more IBS issues. Rinse and repeat for the last few months.
I’ve had to make dietary tweaks here and there, to try and get back to training properly, without that awful fear of a knee on belly painting the mats brown. Grim.

Now that the nitty gritty is out of the way, and I’m clearly back to my old horrible self. I went back to training on Monday night. We worked a back take to the S-mount, and then into a belly down back take, sorta thing. That’s as specific as I care to be right now. It was good to be back among my peers. It was good to roll again. It was good to get thoroughly whooped again. I tried to attack, but my lethargy from the past 3 months showed. So I was slow and methodical in my survival tactics. FETAL. GO FUCKING FETAL BARRY. THEY CAN’T HURT YOU WHEN YOU’RE FETAL. I sobbed gently.

I’ve thrown myself back into class this eve’, still a bit hurty from Monday, but eager nonetheless. I feel very infantile in my Jiu-Jitsu at the moment. Back to basics yet again, because I’m a sloppy silly floppy fool on the floor currently. I’m attacking like a pissed leper. Not a good look.

We continued on from Mondays class, focusing on what you can do from the back, and how to escape from those positions if you’re having them done to you. There was more rolling. I try to gravitate towards the people that are really fucking horrible to roll with. The people that are going to kill me, as it were. Frankie is pretty much always first on my list, because he’s a fucking gorilla.
He’s so bloody strong, and don’t you dare beat your chest in front of him, because he will smash you into the ground like the Silverback he is.

I had a few really good rolls tonight. Frankie, Donald, Richard and Ronnie all felt my wrath. Which happened to be a very relaxed, flowy approach. I feel new again. Hopefully it lasts a lot longer this time.

Right, off you fuck. I’m done. xxx

Polaris 2.

It’s been a month since I’ve posted anything. I’ll cut the bullshit, I haven’t had anything interesting to say, or at least publish. I’m still training as frequently as possible, and mixing between Gi and NoGi. So that’s good. I’ll likely touch on that another time.

RIGHT. Onto Polaris. After the first Polaris I’d pretty much reserved myself a seat on the sofa ready to watch the next one. I’m fortunate enough to have a pretty sweet setup at home. I have a home theatre PC setup in the living room, connected to a 50″ Sony Bravia. So grappling events get a  pretty great airing when they come around.

The thing that Polaris has going for it, was here again. Passion. The people involved with Polaris, from what I can gather is a collaboration of some of the UK Jiu-Jitsu scene’s greatest minds. The UK scene reached a point with Polaris 1 whereby companies like Tatami and Scramble were in a position to put on this show, that no-one really expected. It was an incredible show, and it seems that the whole scene is behind it. Rightly fucking so.

FloGrappling handled the streaming of the event itself, at a pretty reasonable price. I hope in future though that they up their bandwidth, because I had quite a bit of pixelation throughout, on a 152Mbps connection. That might have been a problem with the location of the event actually. I work in telecommunications, and happen to know that quite a bit of Wales infrastructure is piss poor. The player controls weren’t the best. I couldn’t rewind anything, and the quality control was stuck on Auto. It mostly streamed in 720p by the looks of it, but I’d have preferred to have knocked the quality down if it meant no pixelation. Aside of that, things ran pretty smoothly.

The announcement team were Josh Palmer, John Kavanagh and Nick Osipczak. This is a pretty great team. Josh runs the show with John and Nick adding their opinions where needed. MC Tone again did a great job with the intros.
The venue looked pretty great with the lights dipped, and things ran pretty well throughout. Now let’s talk about the fights.

Luca Anacoretta vs Pedro Bessa.
Gianni Grippo vs Tom Barlow.
Robson Moura vs Baret Yoshida.
Vitor Ribeiro vs Daisuke Nakamura.

Eddie Cummings vs Reilly Bodycomb.
AJ Agazarm vs Dan Strauss.
Michelle Nicolini vs Gezary Matuda.
Gary Tonon vs Maskazu Imanari.

There was not a bad fight, and I really urge every one to give this event a watch. For me, it further cemented my opinion that submission-only are the only truly entertaining grappling events. Points fuck things up. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but I just don’t get the same buzz with the Worlds that I do with either Polaris or EBI.

I’m not going to cover every fight, but simply highlight my three favourites. You should really watch the whole fucking lot though.

Robson Moura vs Baret Yoshida was incredible. Moura is a technician on the mat, approaching 20 years as a black belt. He’s 37 years old. Baret we know is a very tough grappler, that has a very dangerous crucifix game. If this were a points match, the judges would get RSI from turning cards constantly. It was stunning to watching. Moura arguably had the best flourishes of the fight, coming close to finishing Baret a few times in a nasty sequence, but Baret wasn’t without his dominance. Moura is always calm, but he looked as uncomfortable as everyone else in Yoshida’s crucifx. This was an instant classic.

Daniel Strauss vs AJ Agazarm. The social media heat between these two guys was pretty hilarious. Even the handshake at the start showed the tension between them. There was shoving throughout, words exchanged, taunts, and more importantly than anything else, some really fucking high level wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu. The size difference was really noticeable, but AJ seemed unfazed, having fought many big guys before. They had a great back and forth, with Strauss creating far more submission opportunities. This was my fight of the night.

Garry Tonon vs Maskazu Imanari. On paper this seemed like a great idea, but I think a fair few of us knew how much of a mismatch it was likely to be. Tonon is successful at elite BJJ competitions with his attacking style. Imanari on the other hand had great success with his leglock game in MMA, at a time when people didn’t know what the fuck leglocks were. The attacks and knowledge between the two were great, but even with a big weight cut, Tonon looked huge compared to Imanari. This was a smashing fight.

All in, this event was another brilliant success by the people running the show. There were plenty of finishes, some more shocking and devastating than others. And one thing that was prevalent throughout the entire night was the respect and love for grappling.

Get your arse over to http://www.flograppling.com/ and get it watched. It’s only $19.99 for a month of viewing, which I believe will include the Pan Ams, as well as a plethora of other content.

Jiu-Jitsu vs Wrestling.

THE GREAT DEBATE (well not really).

The summer months have been unkind. A lot of the people that train Jiu-Jitsu are either off on holidays with their families, or exploring the world in other ways. The decline in club attendees leaves a limited number of guys to train with. The guys that are left are mostly smelly, disgusting wrestlers.

I say that with a little tongue-in-cheek, because whilst I mostly prattle on about Jiu-Jitsu, I’m firmly in the camp of grappling’s grappling. Whether it’s Sambo, Judo, Freestyle, Greco, Catch, BJJ or Steven Seagaldo; I don’t care. There is no clear path to victory, it’s down to the individual and how they excell at their individual art. If you’re an exceptional wrestler, that doesn’t give you an immediate pass against an exceptional Jiu-Jitsu guy, and vice versa. It’s styles, attributes and most importantly of all, proprioception.

Proprioception if you don’t know, is your understanding of your own capabilities and how the body delivers them. So for instance, if you close your eyes and try to touch your nose, your spacial awareness along with all those sexy little neurons firing off, link up and direct that blind little finger straight to the tip of your nose. Apply that to grander scale, and arm goes here, leg goes here, hips sprawl, etc. That understanding is vital in grappling, and once you’re good at it, it becomes a subconscious effort on your brain’s part. You don’t know you’re doing it.

Anyways! Back to training. I’ve been carrying on with BJJ as I would anyways, but I’ve always been taking in what I like to think of a NoGi grappling clinic. This is straight after my BJJ class on a Wednesday night and is run by one of our wrestling coaches, Paul Hughes. He’s amassed a plethora of techniques over the years, and he uses these little sessions to share his wide berth of knowledge. I feel that I learn something every single week, and it’s expanding my game into areas that I either haven’t explored before, or at least should have. I truly believe it’s doing me the world of good.

Tonight though, I decided to do some ghetto rolling. A small portion of the gym was free, so Ewan, Kenny, Olly & myself decided to roll. The sambo class was on in the cage, and the fitness class was on the mats. We had a little shark tank/two on the mat sorta affair going on. This was a great little session. I got absolutely whooped, as I often do, but it was great to experience completely different styles, and just try and work with that. Some of it was completely fucking baffling, mind.

Ewan is a freestyle wrestler that doesn’t really do subs. So he’s just this horrible, smothering pressure and squeezy bastard. Doing things that I haven’t really encountered before, but that’s good, because with time, I will get used to it.
Kenny is a catch wrestler. He knows how to use his weight well, doesn’t mind being on bottom, because he’ll sweep and drive through you into some nasty slick, sweaty, Jesus blessed bastard hold.
Olly is probably best described as a NoGi wrestler. So his style is very wrestle based, but for submissions. Neither catch nor BJJ, but experienced and difficult to deal with.
I am prodominantly what you’d call a BJJ guy. I flail about, I’m all too comfortable on my back, and it can lead to me getting crushed, tied up like a idiot, etc.

It’s a rare and wonderful thing to have four different styles all having at one another. Sure I got a bit battered, but I’m learning as I go. And with the way I learn, this is all very fucking helpful. I need to fight these cunts to one day better other cunts like them. I think I’ll end there.

Have a good weekend, you motherfuckers. x

Grading/Inter-club.

I’ve been here before. It’s the bi-annual grading for Origin Jiu-Jitsu. Celebrating the North East and beyond. It’s a chance for the teams in Newcastle, Darlington and Dundee to come together, meet up, chat shit, have a laugh and a bit of an inter-club scuffle. We’re all good cunts, y’see. Probably best to strap yourself in for this one, it’s bound to be long.

Saturday was due to be a big one, there were murmurs of BIG promotions on the side-lines and an aggreeance that those that were due to be promoted, heartily deserved it. Although in typical human fashion, I later heard the opposite well after the day’s events. Not everyone is a good cunt y’see, and people are pretty quick to critique the accomplishments of others rather than focusing on their own. Time and time again we’re told that the important focus in Jiu-Jitsu is your own journey. You shouldn’t give a shit if Claude from Team Bumchum got his purple belt after only 6 months training. You’re not the person in charge of that person’s journey, and if they don’t actually deserve it, then they’ll be found out on the mats anyways, and with a bit of work and perseverance they’ll mature over time until they do deserve it. Ya feel me? You are the creator of your own destiny, YOU ARE THE DESTROYER OF WORLDS. Woah, sorry.

I had three fights, and in each of them I was crushed. This is my first time attempting to fight as a purple belt, and my first time at the inter-club that I didn’t pull off a single victory. I felt very nervous, and very green but I wouldn’t say nerves got the better of me, because I only really get them before a fight. As soon as we shake hands, bump fists, moonwalk to our sides, twirl and then starjump I’m ready to go. This is as much a competition in my head as it is a friendly roll. These people aren’t going to try and kill me, but like a friendly roll they do want to beat me, and likewise I want to beat them.

My first fight was against a guy called Jimmy. I’ve rolled with him before some time ago. He pulled guard and I went to my usual loose knee slicer pass, it’s got pretty high success so when I failed the first time, I managed to hit it the second time and land in side control. I dropped my hips and as I loosened up to attack, Jimmy had already started to recover guard. I should have held the position, and worked out my bearings a little better, but it wasn’t to be. Not long after he recovered guard, he started to set up a cross collar choke. I could see it coming in what felt like slow motion, but my defense against it was so fucking poor. Before I knew it I had to tap or die. Shit happens, be quicker Baz.

My second fight was against Tyrone. It was a round robin, and he’d just attached himself to Jimmy’s back for an RNC. That should have gave me an insight into what to watch out for, but stopping it is another matter. His Jiu-Jitsu is sick. Tyrone is a fucking wizard, when I can’t even find your card in the full pack. Tyrone hit a single leg because he probably knew I’d expect him to pull guard. From there he attempted an armbar which I valiantly (shat my pants and pulled my arm out whilst standing up) escaped. Before I could find my bearings he was on my fucking back. I’ve watched the video, and I think he paused time or something. Once there he started to work on the choke. I defended at first, hand fighting etc. but the pressure I felt was everywhere. It was weird, but I could feel my hips and ribs tightly locked up, even though I don’t think he had a body triangle. He adjusted his grips slightly, and before I knew it he was trying to pop my head off like a cheap bottle of plonk with a vicious bow & arrow choke. It was a clinic. I tapped, brushed myself off then shot him dead in front of a startled crowd. “Just where did he get that Revolver from?” I heard one guy say. With that, I dropped a smoke bomb and left. Never to be seen again (until the open weight). 

Speedy being the cunning bastard that he is decided that rather than have your normal divisions then an absolute, he’d set the day up so that we were graded between. This meant a plethora of fresh blood in new belt categories. Fighting for their lives against seasoned veterans, or something like that. Basically if you graded up to a new belt, your confidence boost was so much so, that you felt obliged to go and get smashed in the open weight. It was a great idea.

As soon as I signed up for the open weight, I knew who I’d be fighting. This is how my luck goes, y’see. Last year at the blue belt open weight, I was given Captain Redbeard, and if I told you he was a lumberjack that just pulls the trees out of the ground with his bare hands, you’d probably believe me. He made quick work of me last year with a rolling kneebar from standing, because why would I expect fucking Megatron to be able to move like that?
This year though I was given brand new, just out of the wrapper, purple belt called Karl. Let’s not kid ourselves people, Karl eats purple belts for breakfast and likely should have gotten his purple belt a long time ago. I’ve seen him roll plenty, and I’ve seen videos of competing, and dispatching his foes like they slapped him with a wet glove beforehand.
He grabbed a hold of me, pulled guard, and the rest is a bit of a blur. I vaguely remember him reaching behind my head with his right hand, passing my right lapel with his left hand to his right hand, and then things started to go blurry. I lasted a few seconds more than I should have on the account of my big chin, but once he adjusted my brain said fuck you Barry, as the oxygen supply was restricted. I tapped. Karl went on to win the open weight, with everyone suffering the same fate. Couple of minutes, max. He’s a beast.

Before I move onto the gradings, let’s talk a bit about the rest of the competitors I was lucky enough to see. I’ll start with us Dundee lot, because I train with them all the time, and it would be a bit of a dick move if I didn’t. So besides myself, Donald, Frank, Grant, Kev, Paul C, Paul P, Roddy & Ronnie competed. Now Roddy’s actually a defector, he moved back to Ebinburgh and more commonly trains through there, but he still makes the occasional fleeting pass through our gym just to beat people up, so we’re still lumping him in with us.

The guys I watched compete were great.
Paul P as ever is a stud, that makes people question strength as a concept when he gets a hold of him. His base is so fucking solid it’s ridiculous, but then a judo black belt will do that. He effortlessly got people to the ground, even when they tried to throw him, and he handily won fights with not even a bead of sweat broken (he was a fucking mess, looked like he’d been through a pissing car wash).
Paul C and Donald impress me every time they step on the mat. They’ve come on so far, so quickly it’s great to see. Their resilience and determination is incredible to watch, as they constantly hunt for submissions. Neither of them particularly cares about being in a bad position, because this is submission only, and that’s the way you should be thinking. You have the liberty of time on your side, so they regroup, work their way back to a better position and go on the hunt again. It’s brilliant to watch either of these guys compete.
Frank was very excitable and there for the experience. He looked like a man possessed when he hit the mats. I’m not really sure what he was possessed by, but he gave it his all.
Ronnie had tough fights. He’s seldom in a position where the person he’s fighting is stronger than him, or at least that’s how I feel when I see him roll. He’s improving all the time and using his strength when necessary, but not relying on it entirely. His maturity on the mats have been there from day one.
Kev looked good in his fights, his attacking in the first was on point but he didn’t take the piss, because his opponent was quite green, and his second fight was against Captain Redbeard. I hear they’re still cleaning Kev’s blood off of the ceiling. Captain Redbeard hit the right button combination and landed a FATALITY.
Roddy was basically Odin of the white belt world. His movement, positioning, and hunt for submissions was all incredible to watch. He’s an absolute monster, and will be seriously fucking people up in the grappling world for years to come.
Now Grant. He had a fucking hellacious first fight. The guy was strong as fuck and looked like he couldn’t really be shifted. Grant still controlled, but afterwards he looked like he’d gone five rounds with a fighting fit Mike Tyson. Grant and Paul P had to clash for the good of mankind. At one point, I could see Grant muttering to Paul that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream was shit, and Paul lost the plot and pulled his arm off there and then.

I fear I’ve rambled an awful lot here, but I’m going to keep going because I have more to cover. Sorry guys, you can have a tea break if you want. Have a biscuit.

The day actually started with a load of kids competing. It’s a very different atmosphere to watching kids play other sports, because the parents at the sidelines actually know what they’re talking about, and throw constructive feedback, rather than anything harmful to the other party. I didn’t expect there to be kids competing to be honest, but it was great to see the future of the sport at such a young age. They all had a fun, and were trying to pull each other apart. Watching kids beat each other up is bloody brilliant.

It was really good to see the likes of Scuba Steve, Foz, Kung Foo Panda there and competing. They’re all great guys. Scuba’s progression in the last year is obscene, and he wasn’t bad to begin with! He was strong, clinical and aggressive in his approach to his fights. His understanding of the game has drastically changed with his more focused approach on teaching. When you have to compartmentalise something as basic as an armbar, you start to realise how many steps there are in that process. If you can explain an armbar to kids, and have them do it with good technique, your own understanding of that armbar is going to be heightened. Rinse and repeat for every technique, ever.

Shall we waffle on to the gradings now? Now, I can’t even begin to cover everyone who was graded because there as a lot of gradings handed out. So I’m going to focus on notable ones, the ones that I remember.
The jist is, everyone did well and the few that weren’t graded now have fuel for the next one in November. All the kids ranked up, which was great to see because they went for it. It’s an accomplishment they should be proud of.

Donald, Paul C, Roddy & Ronnie all received stripes on their white belts.
Some devious bastard came up with the idea of giving Kev his fourth stripe of his white belt, before calling him back for his blue belt (me). I can only imagine the torment he felt when he received that stripe, because he has been training for years, on and off admittedly but training nonetheless. I think he started BJJ before I did, to be honest. He pissed his pants with excitement when he got his blue belt, and his face has never looked more smug.
Grant and Paul P were awarded their purple belts. I was so happy to have have witnessed this, because we’re all very much on the same page mentally with all this bollocks. We know when one another is down, or not putting the effort in that they should be, and have pushed one another at the right times. They truly are great team mates.
I don’t really what to skim at this point, as I know other notable members of Speedy and Dom’s gyms received stripes, but we have to move onto the big ones.

Tyrone and Scuba both received their brown belts. There aren’t two more deserving people I can think of. Each has a completely different approach to Jiu-Jitsu, but they’re both so fucking good it’s sickening to watch. If I’m half as good as either one day, I’ll know I’ve made it, and I think I can speak for everyone else that frequents any of the Origin affiliated gyms. Their hard work, determination, and approaching to not only their own progression but everyone else’s is exactly the sort of thing Jiu-Jitsu needs. They’re open books of technique, and for only $9.99 a month, they share that knowledge on tyroneandscubalovetograpple.com.

A big thanks goes to Speedy and his wife Ritu for organising such a fun day out. Everything pre-5pm was brilliant. You can tell they really care about this sport, and the people involved.

The less said about my journey home, the better.
OH! I got a stripe. I forgot about that. Right, time to go. Adios.

Polaris: A Summary.

Hello again mat warriors. I’ve decided to write a little bit about Polaris from the weekend. I’m not going to be negative about it, because it doesn’t really achieve anything, and it’s not my place to do so really.

Let’s start with the presentation. I thought it worked well. They clearly set up some mats on a theatre’s stage, and I imagine with that it gave a lot of the audience a very good view. They had a fight announcer, and a pretty decent commentary team. Nic Gregoriades being in my mind the most important addition. His wealth of grappling knowledge really added to the team.

Darragh O Connaill vs Max Campos (gi) – This was a tough fight that mostly had them cancelling each other out. Campos hit a couple of lovely sweeps from open guard, jumping straight into top control, only to not be able to capatilise on anything. I think they were both just too evenly matched to get off on one another.

Kit Dale vs Victor Silverio (gi) – Kit Dale was clearly injured coming into this fight, as his ankle was strapped up. Victor could have attacked it, but being a gentleman, he didn’t. This fight hit a bit of a stalemate too, I think they were both very concerned about gassing due to the fifteen minute time limit.

Michelle Nicolini vs Angelica Galvao (gi) – This was a contender for fight of the night. Galvao is clearly a very strong competitor even in her infancy as a black belt. She very nearly got Nicolini in a dominat position, but Nicolini was having none of it and pulled a slick toehold out of nowhere. I remember thinking this was a bit of a mismatch prior to the fight, as Nicolini has had a black belt for around 8 years now, and she’s been very bloody active with it.

AJ Agazarm vs Oli Geddes (no gi) – AJ thoroughly dominated this fight with his superior top control. Oli was giving a fair bit of resistance back, and it was thoroughly engaging throughout with AJ even playing up to the crowd a bit. The finish was a ridiculously tight triangle.

Whilst the intermission was on, there was a presentation by BJJ Hacks that was superb. Three short films if I remember correctly. It was good to see things broken up that way, and other events could definitely learn from it.

Eduardo Telles vs Mike Fowler (gi) – This match was a slow burner. Telles being a veteran of the sport, has a slow methodical, smothering style. Fowler really couldn’t get going before of that.

Pablo Popovitch vs Eduardo Teta Rios (no gi) – Everyone seen this as a mismatch, but Teta very seldom looked in trouble. He was cool, calm and composed throughout and I think he’s one to watch.

Marcin Held vs Garry Tonon (no gi) – Another contender for fight of the night. All three-four minutes of it. Both fighters were extremely game, and thoroughly up for scrap, exchanging positions multiple times before Tonon locked up the toehold and got the tap.

Keenan Cornelius vs Dean Lister (no gi) – The final fight of the night, and one that the commentators referred to as the passing of the guard. What you have to remember here is that Keenan and Dean are friends, and probably weren’t trying to kill one another. It’s this fight that convinced me that Keenan is just fucking incredible. His control throughout, the opportunities he created and the finish of a savvy veteran just convince you that at 21/22 Keenan Cornelious really is one of the best on the fucking planet, and that’s scary.

Roll on Polaris 2, please. I think it had a better production than Metamoris throughout, and I certainly enjoyed it more (although that may be down to the matches booked). There are still problems with the submission only format though, and that’s a shame but I’m not qualified enough to come up with the solution.

Peace out for now.

Polaris Professional Jiu-Jitsu Invitational.

Today is a special day. With every iteration of these new fangled submission only events, the lineup becomes more incredible. Today is no different with Polaris.

For a while now, I’ve been getting these little stickers through with anything I’ve bought from Scramble. I looked at them, and sort of dismissed the significance of their snazziness. One day I decided to google it, and I was pretty god damn surprised by what it was. So I signed up for the Pay-Per-View at the ripe old cost of £10 (now £15 I believe), a bargain in my books.

Here’s the lineup direct from the Facebook page:

Order of events

Shows starts 6.30 UK time (approx)

Darragh O Connaill vs Max Campos (gi)
Kit Dale vs Victor Silverio (gi)
Michelle Nicolini vs Angelica Galvao (gi)
AJ Agazarm vs Oli Geddes (no gi)

Interval – 30 mins.
Special presentation from BJJ Hacks

Eduardo Telles vs Mike Fowler (gi)
Pablo Popovitch vs Eduardo Teta Rios (no gi)
Marcin Held vs Garry Tonon (no gi)
Keenan Cornelius vs Dean Lister (no gi)

PPV and tickets www.polaris-pro.org

I think you’ll agree that is a pretty rockin’ lineup, and you’ll also agree that you should probably buy the PPV and support this event to ensure further ones happen.

I’m probably going to do a follow up post, giving my impression of each match. I’ll try and keep it short and sweet, and point out some of the finer details I see too. It’ll be spoiler marked, don’t worry.