Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Atlanta Open

Last weekend, Triangle Jiu Jitsu and several other Royce Gracie schools competed in the Atlanta open. This is the closest that the IBJJF comes to North Carolina, so it was a big deal to us. We showed up in big numbers and did some serious work.

I was happy to win double gold and was thrilled that my teammates Seth Shamp, Jeff Shaw, and Chela Tu won gold medals as well. Overall, Team Royce Gracie took home too many medals to count!

What I liked about the tournament:

- As the only IBJJF tournament of drivable distance, it attracted NC Royce Gracie folks in record numbers.

- I was not only representing myself and my school, but I was representing the larger Royce Gracie network. People who normally compete against each other in local tournaments came together to form 1 Royce Gracie unified team. It was a nice feeling to be part of a group much larger than myself.

- Brackets ran on or ahead of schedule. There was no excessive waiting around.

- Even when competing with folks with whom I've grappled before, the intensity was higher than it is at local tournaments. We all put in training camps and drove a long way for this, so the stakes were elevated.

What I didn't like about the tournament:

- The venue made viewing matches difficult. One of the best things about going to IBJJF tournaments is watching the elite upper belts compete. At this venue there was no stadium seating, so I had to fight to get mat side to watch my teammates roll. Getting to a vantage point for any of the black belts was a non-probability.

- I almost didn't get to compete in the absolute division. I've done a handful of IBJJF tournaments and have heard my share of horror stories of people getting screwed by ring coordinators. Some people have traveled as far as the mundials in California, only to be mysteriously dropped from their brackets without a chance to compete. As restitution, they get offered free entry into next year's tournament, which is a pathetically inadequate reimbursement. After investing time in training camp and money in a tournament entry fee, plane ticket, and a hotel stay, free entry into next year's tournament is a paltry consolation for getting dropped from a bracket this year.

Knowing what could go wrong, I was the very first out of all of the adult blue belts to register for the absolute division.  I very clearly stated my name, rank, and division, and did not leave until it was verified that I was registered. I then went about my business cheering for my teammates. However, when the time came for my absolute division to compete, my name was never called. I was not on the list. The ring coordinator actually tried to convince me that I hadn't registered. As if! After some wrangling, I finally managed to get my name back on the list where it belonged. Whew!


  1. I just ran across your blog and I have enjoyed reading it! I am a black belt in TKD and I am planning on starting in BJJ in January! Congratulations on all your accomplishments so far and good luck in the future!

  2. Thanks so much, Jalyn. I hope you love BJJ as much as I do...It is super addictive :)