Sunday, October 6, 2013

2013 No Gi Pan Ams

Last weekend was the 2013 No Gi Pan Ams. I don't have a whole lot to report, except that my team kicked a lot of butt and brought home some major bling. My coach Seth Shamp and I got double golds, and my teammates Roy Marsh, Jeff Shaw, Sean McLaughlin, Jason Mask, Amanda Lee, and Hameed Saunders won medals as well. Overall, Team Royce Gracie placed 2nd in the masters and seniors division...not bad for a small group of about a dozen competitors!

After the results were tallied, the IBJJF no gi  rankings were recalculated as well. I'm psyched to be ranked #1 among adult blue belt women, both in the medium heavy weight class and in the overall division as well. Cool!

This is an honor and I am very thankful to my coaches and training partners for pushing me everyday and getting me to this point. But the more I think about it, the less stock I take in these rankings. Indeed, I have a couple of gripes with the IBJJF ranking system:

- The system can reward quantity over quality. These rankings really are no indication of "who can take whom." The more IBJJF tournaments you go to, the more points you will earn, plain and simple. Even if it is a smallish tournament and you win an automatic medal, you still earn points.The more you can afford to travel and attend multiple IBJJF tournaments, the more points you will earn and the higher your ranking will be. Someone who can afford less travel, even if they consistently win gold, might earn fewer points and will not be ranked as high as someone who can afford to attend more tournaments.

- In the upper belts and higher age groups, brackets are not full and it can be hard to find matches. Folks in these divisions are often forced to choose between dropping down to younger age groups to get more matches, or staying at their actual age to accumulate points for their ranking. Personally, I admire folks who drop down age groups in order to get more matches. However, these folks are penalized in their true rankings, which isn't really fair. They are forced to choose - compete in divisions that would give them the best competition or compete at their true weight and age and risk not getting any matches.

It's a flawed system, but it's still cool to be #1 (at least until no gi worlds next month when other folks will have their turn to rack up points!)

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