ITT @ 2013 BC BJJ Championships
September 30, 2013 at 3:28 PM
Even without our competition team mainstays Shane, Taylor & Umesh, Island Top Team sent its largest crew of competitors yet to the BC BJJ Championships held at Revolution MMA in Langley on Saturday. A mix of rookie competitors Cal, Martie and Tai bolstered by ITT veterans Eli and Gary, our boys brought home 4 gold and 2 silver medals.
Let's start with the biggest achievement of the day. Eli, a 3 stripe white belt at our club with perhaps 4 months of experience in the gi, requested the chance to compete in the blue belt division in search of a challenge (he was inspired by Umesh, who did the same at the Washington State Grappling Championships in august, coming away with a silver medal), and damn did he find one! Alas, the challenge came in the form of an unethical competitor in the gold medal match who shot a takedown on Eli when he attempted to slap hands as is the custom at the beginning of a BJJ match. Finding himself down 9-0 on points after the cheaply achieved takedown was followed up quickly by a guard pass and back take, Eli showed the heart and determination we at Island Top Team know so well. First he reversed the back mount, then he passed his opponent's guard like it wasn't there. At this point he displayed incredible composure and coachability, securing the pass, waiting for the ref to award the points, securing knee-on-belly, waiting for the ref to award the points, then mounting, and waiting for the ref to award the points, thus tying the score. This was a tactic Professor Robert had gone over with Eli just a few days before the competition, and seeing it in action was as satisfying to our head coach as the submission that soon followed, earning Eli his first gold medal in gi competition.
Eli added gold in his no gi division as well, battling through exhaustion to win every one of his matches by submission.
Next up, Gary and Tai both entered the gi white belt featherweight division and were put on opposite sides of the bracket so that they would only have to compete against each other if they both reached the finals... which of course they did. Our head instructor gave the teammates the option of having a straight up competitive match or just clowning around and doing a choreographed display of jiu-jitsu. They decided to have a real match and it was a close one, with Gary edging Tai out by scoring 2 sweeps. Gary's path to the finals was quite impressive, as this was the first tournament in which he was able to truly show the phenomenal jiu-jitsu he employs during class in a competitive setting. Gary was also able to apply something under match pressure that Professor Robert had gone over with him scant days prior, a back take from De La Riva guard. Because of the conceptual approach to training at our academy, students are often able to translate brand new techniques into their game with incredible speed because they don't seem like new moves, but rather interpretations of already familiar principles. Gary however took this to a spectacular level with an aerial back take!
Here are the Gary and Tai rocking the Island Top Team crest on the podium:
Gary also picked up silver in his no gi division.
Cal has been with us for about 2 months and has become a mainstay at class, and though we usually like our students to have a little more exposure to ITT modules so they can feel more comfortable using our highly technical style of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu when they compete rather than relying on old instincts, it is part of our philosophy that competition is simply an opportunity to have fun and practice your skills in a different context, so we welcomed his addition to our competition team. In his gi division Cal faced Marcel, a 4 stripe white belt from Pacific Top Team, who had actually attended a seminar Professor Robert taught at PTT Burnaby last week (more on that in our next post), and offered him his closest match of the day, only surrendering a guard pass with literally 1 second left to lose on the only points scored in the match. Marcel went on to win gold, congrats to him and everyone at Pacific Top Team! Cal came back strong in his no gi division, taking gold, with one of his wins coming via one of ITT's signature arm triangle set ups.
Here is Cal's laid back podium pose:
Our final competitor is Eli's brother Martie. Martie first put on a gi 3 weeks ago and was only able to attend 4 or 5 classes prior to the tournament, so he unfortunately didn't have the technical knowledge to complement his incredible heart and fortitude, but Island Top Team doesn't attend tournaments to rack up wins, we do so to learn and improve our BJJ. A loss is only a loss when you don't learn from it, and victory is only a byproduct of hard work, dedication to training, and proper mindset for learning. We are proud of competitors regardless of result, and, despite our frankly spectacular win rate, the culture of our academy contains no pressure to win, but rather an attitude that we are all here for the same reason, to help each other learn and grow, both as martial artists and as people. Congrats to all our competitors, as well as everyone who competed and all their coaches!