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Atlanta Open Recap

It was a weekend of firsts in Atlanta. For the first time, I worked a table at an IBJJF tournament (more on that below), and for the first time (spoiler alert), I took gold at an IBJJF event!


Shane, you’ve looked better, homie … but then, so have I.

Working the table was actually a productive and fun experience. For one thing, I got to work with some incredible black belt referees, guys like David “Rock” Jacobs and Marlon Loor Vera. You learn a lot seeing how knowledgable and accomplished black belts approach matches — and it was fun. I also got to work a Lucas Lepri match and get a front-row seat to watch Bruno Malfacine.

The picture above was taken right before the adult blue belt final, and I’m including it because it was represents the weirdest table work story of the weekend. Usually, the matches come bang-bang-bang, one right after the other. But the final was delayed. The match runner came by and said “we’re going to give this one 10 minutes: we’ve got some puking happening.”

“Which guy?”

“… both of them.”

The run through the division had gassed both guys so much that each of them vomited not once, not twice, but roughly two dozen times. When we thought we had the match ready to go, one of the guys had to rush off the mat for one final stomach evacuation. Good times!

This is what happened in the match. (Don’t worry, it’s safe for work and life). This is probably the best way it could have finished.

The other reason I enjoyed working the table is it gave me something to do other than sit around thinking about my matches. A common problem I wind up having is getting stuck in my own head and winding myself before matches. Having something to focus on only helped. (My mental strategy was to think like this: hey, the worst that can happen is I lose a jiu-jitsu match. I’ve lost lots of jiu-jitsu matches! Been there.)

The only unfortunate part: I really enjoy hanging out with my teammates and taking pictures. I didn’t get to do almost any of that. Next time!

A few notable things from the tournament:

* I’ve been a blue belt since June 2012. During that time, I’ve trained so much that the IBJJF declared my belt too worn and frayed for competition. This made me almost as happy as the medal, at least after I was able to borrow a belt from another Team Royce guy (thanks, Braxton). Some people say it’s frayed and worn because I wash it too much. I prefer to think it’s the training, but it’s true that I’m anti-belt-microbes.

* In the gym, I play around with all kind of new, fun and risky techniques. I’ve been known to berimbolo on occasion. But in this (and most) tournaments, I didn’t do anything that isn’t on the Triangle Jiu-Jitsu blue belt basics curriculum. This was exactly how I’d hoped it would go: the fundamentals work and you can never drill them too much.


Good things happen when you put a hand in the collar.

I had two matches in my division and one in absolute. All three were against good guys and accomplished competitors. Unfortunately, I lost my absolute match by advantage in the last 30 seconds — the guy tried to pass and forced me to turtle, giving up the advantage. But that match taught me a lot and gave me some things to work on in the future.

I felt good about both matches in weight, too. I pulled guard in one match and played top in the other after getting an ankle pick takedown, so I got to work both top and bottom game. I’d give you the full play-by-play, but no one really cares about that but me and my mom. And mom’s visiting in three weeks, so I’ll get to tell her in person.

You can also read my awesome teammate Kim’s recap as well. So let’s get straight to the photo and the Charity Challenge update!

First IBJJF gold!

First IBJJF gold!

Quick recap for those who are new to the blog: I’m donating $10 for every match I win this year to the Women’s Debate Institute. But to encourage others to get involved, I asked people to vote on a second charity to benefit as well. I’ve told some folks this, but the winner of that vote was anti-cancer charity the George Pendergrass Foundation, edging out other worthy causes like Reporters Without Borders, RAINN, the Wounded Warrior Project and Carolina Basset Hound Rescue.

A few gracious people offered to match my donations — and, in fact, another person has pledged since my last post — meaning every win this year is worth $35 to charity so far. There are still a ton of cool rewards you can win if you get involved, including a bottle of the rarest and best beer in the world, Westvleteren 12. Check out all the ways you can get involved and help.

And now, let’s tally the results! I won seven matches this time around, adding to the total from before. Here’s where we’re at:

Matches Won This Tournament: 2
Total Won For The Year: 13
Money Raised For Charity: $70
Total Raised So Far: $455

Custom Photoshops: 2
Private Lessons: 1


About Jeff

I write, work for social justice, listen to music and grapple. That's about it for now.

One response to “Atlanta Open Recap

  1. Pingback: September 13, 2013 | BJJ News

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