This past weekend, Fight to Win hosted the annual Colorado State Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championships, and several of the Dark Horse family took a shot at the title. Full results are posted here.

Whenever there's a tournament like this, the tendency is always to focus on who won what - what medals in what categories. But that never really captures the full experience of preparing for and fighting in a tournament. Perhaps even worse is that it only focuses on those who found success in terms of medals, and it's always bene my point that going through the preparation, showing up and giving it your best is the real success. Full effort always equals full victory, and I am extremely proud of everyone that fought. I am also consistently amazed at the people that show up to support the team- teammates who aren't competing, friends, family, even children. I cannot emphasize enough how good that is to see or how important and helpful it is for the competitors.  In that sense, here are my thoughts on this year's state BJJ tournament. If i missed anyone, I apologize, please let me know so that I can fix it:

Results and Impressions

  • I'm very proud of people who competed for the first time. That takes a lot of guts, because it can go horribly. Congrats to Taylor, Aly, Stephan and Ro for their first tournament. 
  • It's always impressive when someone chooses to fight up in division, against a higher level of competition. Cheers to Kedge for fighting Purple belt in the gi and Intermediate no-gi. Kedge took Bronze in the gi, and silver in Submission Only Purple Absolute. 
  • I saw a lot of great technical jiu jitsu from several of our competitors, which means great things in the future. If you're able to use technical, pure jiu jitsu as a white or green belt, in a tournament, you are way ahead of the curve in terms of fighter development. Special congrats to Eric W, who got his first submission win in a tournament via triangle, and Aly who did the same via rear naked. 
  • Buff Paul continues his medal streak with another silver medal in the gi. He fought very well, staying heavy and calm, using solid pressure-based jiu jitsu. 
  • Garmaa won silver in no-gi (first time competing without the gi) and bronze in the gi, for an excellent day on the mats. 
  • Noodles wins the award for most guts, showing up feeling ill after being sick all week, and still jumping in the ring. Lotta guts. 
  • Ro fought well with excellent guard retention and was bold in his takedowns.
  • Aly fought in her first tournament ever and secured her first tournament victory. 
  • Tiny fought in a huge division and pushed the pace the whole time.
  • Taylor fought his first tournament in a very deep bracket and came up with a well-deserved bronze. 
  • Stephan had the deepest bracket of all and finished a hard fought fourth.

 

Moving Forward

Several people have asked how I thought they did, or what they should work on to improve their BJJ. Here's what I think. 

  • I'm far more impressed and pleased when people are able to win via good technique rather than overpowering their opponents. Many people had the experience of attempting to simply overpower their opponent, with poor results. Development comes via good technique. If you lost a match, its because the technique wasn't there - probably escapes / defense. If you were submitted, the answer is 100% lack of technique. Physical power is like a spice. It can never be the main course. A little is certainly helpful, but like a spice  you can't use power everywhere or all the time. If you aren't happy with how you fought, train more. Drill more. Flow roll more. Don't focus on fitness. Get better at technique. 
  • If you ask me how to improve or what to work on, for a lower belt my first answer will always be escapes. Start with the main positions - side control, mount, etc. Get all those situated, and then add in the escapes from specific attacks - armbar, triangle, kimura. Defense wins fights every time. Defense frustrates your opponents and makes them fight more riskily. Defense makes opponents tired. Defense keeps them out of their rhythm and forces them to slow down and think in order to try and establish themselves. Work your defense - it can never be good enough. 
  • Patience. Your spirit animal for successfully fighting BJJ is a python, not a jackrabbit. Be patient and precise, and don't let the nerves that tournaments create cause you to rush in. 
  • Those who seek takedowns get them, and those who don't get taken down. Its always better to start on top. Keep working on your takedowns. 
  • Grip fighting is a skill and technique unto itself that has to be practiced, especially if your takedowns are wrestling-based. 

    That about sums it up. Again, I'm very proud of everyone that showed to compete and also very appreciative of everyone that showed up to cheer for them. I'll get the fight videos up on youtube as soon as I can. 





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