APRIL 28, 2008Starting the second day early with weigh-ins I treated myself to a classic HK breakfast of noodles, fried egg, toast and what looked like a grilled slice of ham. The turn out for no-gi was smaller than the day before but from what I could see the same core group of competitors that were placing showed up. With the look on some of the faces I'm sure there were a few that stayed out a bit late so things didn't pick up to a little later than schedule. This time out, I decided to use a little more discretion with taking pictures and focused on my matches. The knee was feeling tight but I could roll without too much discomfort. With some added wrappings and knee-pads, I was good to go.With the brackets being smaller, it was separated between 'novice' and 'advance'. The latter consisting mostly of blue-belts and up so it definitely had a wider spectrum of skill but I think overall it matched up well. I kid you not, this day was all about guillotines and ankle-locks. There were a few triangles here and there but the footwork seem to take center stage when it came to the subs. I can vouch as I got tapped in my second match in the absolute to an ankle-lock. I'd say I'm lucky that I return home with just one injury and not two, haha. The matches were fast and intense as there wasn't much stalling and people were really going all out for the tap. Despite my knee, I felt really good about my performances and probably had more fun competing this day than the previous. I think by this point I had relaxed enough about injury and just decided to put it all out there.The rules were a definite factor as they hadn't really been defined until just prior to the event starting. I give a lot of credit to Mark 'Vesuvius' Simmerman for leading the meeting as one of the few in the area that have taken the referee course. Having done so at the recent Pan Ams, he's been a great resource for understanding the details that in many cases define who won the match. He's been very vocal about the importance being aware of the rules related to each event for the success and the safety of the fighters. I hope to see this as a growing trend as we all take responsibility for ourselves and each other.

As the day came to a close many would have to leave in order to return home in time for work on Monday but a decent number were able to stay for the seminar held by Eduardo Telles and Andre Galvao. The seminar was all about gi and gave the finer details of the final black-belt match on Saturday. The one move that everyone wanted to hear about was Galvao's reverse-ezekiel that won him the match over Telles. A funny thing about the seminar was that Makoto Ikuta was there with a whole series of questions for Galvao, having lost to him the previous night. Really nice guy but at one point Galvao jokingly told Ikuta that he would have to pay for a private with all the questions he had for him. Just watching Ikuta at the seminar you could see light-bulb after light-bulb over his head as Galvao went through the sequence of moves. With just a few minutes left, everyone formed two lines to have their asses kicked by the two instructors. I opted to watch and take pics as you can see in the pics.

To be honest, I think at that point I was a little overwhelmed with all things jiu-jitsu. For two days of fighting, taking pics, interviews and jiu-jitsu talk my brain couldn't retain any more. I come back and think of it as a jiu-jits fantasy weekend, haha. With a little business to take care the next day I could afford to head out for some beers and hang out with the other stragglers before the week would start.
I made a lot of new friends this trip and got a lot of positive feedback for the blog. Not too many people know what I look like so it's a bit funny to be recognized for this geeky thing I do. Some tell me I offer them an office distraction and perhaps this is my own. Just want to thank everyone for their support and readership. Some of you may have noticed that Andy Wang is in some of the photos I took. He's been in Taipei teaching at his academy for the last couple of months and is heading back to the US. I got to speak with him for a few minutes and will post my video interview late this week.

Other than that, a congratulations to the organizers and competitors. I'll see you at the next one.

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2Old said...

How did Mark do in his matches? When I was in Thailand a couple of weeks ago I watched him and his classmates train at an open mat on a Sunday (most stuff was closed due to Song Kraan) and was very impressed by his skills and dedication. Hey, he won his division at the Pan Ams! What was refreshing to see was the attention he was giving to standup and standup strategies and to rules. It's good to hear he is also watching out for the safety of the players out there.

I kept trying to get out to visit your school too, but my wife mumbled something about Soi Cowboy and Nana are on Sukumvit and would let me go. :-)

Next time! In the meantime keep up the good work. My question "is there 'real' bjj in the Land of Smiles" was answered with a resounding YES.

LUKE said...

Hahahaha! Well, I have open-mat sessions just next door to my apartment and I live on the other side of Sukhumvit, walking distance to Nana.

Mark is a great guy and very strong competitor. He worked his ass off for the Pan Ams and we're very proud of his performance.