The Proving Grounds
Last week I updated my goals, and mentioned that I was soon to compete internationally. Now it may seem like I’m making a big deal about competing internationally, but I know how long it takes for me to adjust; I’d rather not pay a lot in registration and travel and accommodation just to be overwhelmed by too many things.
Proving Grounds Qualifier 2, hosted by KYS Promotions, held at Ring Sports United, is a round-robin submission-only tournament. That format promises to match a competitor against everyone in the bracket, or the best of three if there are only two competitors in the bracket. The submission only aspect encourages finishes and attempts until the very last second of each match. In order to determine a bracket winner and runner-up, points are awarded at the end of each match: three points to the winner by submission and zero points to the submitted, or one point to each competitor if there is no submission finish. Total points are tallied once everyone has faced each other, and the most points gives you the first and second places.
In a bracket of two people, you do a best of three scenario, and in the event of a tie (i.e., one win to each competitor and one draw) there is an unlimited time tie-breaker match. This is what happened to me.
Brendan (or maybe it was Brandon, still waiting on the official results to be posted), my opponent, and I weighed in at 164.6lbs. We were assigned to mat 1, which featured the kids divisions in Gi and No-Gi before we finally went. Actually, we were the last Gi division to go, the adult No-Gi had already started multiple weight divisions. As soon as we locked up, I realized he was a very proficient judoka, and decided to pull guard to put me in a position I’m comfortable with. After minutes of battling in guard, he finally managed to break it and sit in side control. A judoka has a different style of sitting in top side control, one I have quite learned to how to escape from. In their position, they can easily attack a keylock submission using their leg to provide leverage. And that is exactly what he did.
Round 1 winner: Brendan
Points: 3 to 0
Our second round I realized I had one option: wrestle him. I shot in early for a single-leg and dragged him down, managing to push past his attempts to re-guard me and transition into side control. Most of the match is a blur, I do remember getting my hooks and taking his back before he shucked me off and gained side control, whereupon I attempted to bridge out. While that specific attempt failed, I wasn’t far from making it work. Then our time was up, the match ended.
Round 2 winner: Draw
Points: 4 to 1
At this point I had seen a previous division finish with one draw and one win. Apparently the third match is required if there has only been one victory. So we shook hands again and battle once more. I shot in again, transition to side control, took his back, he escaped into my guard and during his attempt to pass I slapped on a triangle and locked it up. Normally I prefer to have my right leg to control their upper body behind their neck, but in this case it was my left leg. Not quite as confident with myself, I didn’t want to risk a quick unlock to better position myself for a tighter triangle, so I fell back on the old trick of pulling their head down to further compress arteries and airways. It worked, though I was a tiny bit disappointed in having to resort to that.
Round 3 winner: Kiyoshi
Points: 4 to 4 (tie)
This is where the tie breaker with unlimited time comes in. I have seen teammates stuck in a 90-minute match, unable to secure a submission for the win, and I vowed not to be in those shoes. It would be a fast and decisive finish. And it was, but not for me. I don’t know why I didn’t shoot in again, but Brendan managed a shoulder throw. I have been on the receiving end of this throw before, and 5o% of the time I manage to take their back instead of being truly taken down. In this particular case, I was close to securing the back, but he managed to pull me that last little bit and gain top side control and keylock me.
Round 4 winner: Brendan
Points: 7 to 4
1st place: Brendan
2nd place: Kiyoshi
We chatted after receiving our medals, about judo, wrestling, and being able to stop certain attempts. I admitted that I had specific training on what to do if my shot was stuffed, which was what allowed me to take him down. He admitted that he had barely trained his sprawls and had concentrated more on what to do when an opponent pulled guard.
Overall I am happy with my performance, and I have a few things I can tune up for my next tournament (which is at the end of the month in Penticton). I am also very happy to have travelled across the border for this one, and I look forward to getting more experience and tournaments under my belt south of the border. I also look forward to finding out if the promotion will post the videos of the matches anywhere, they had a dedicated video camera and operator at each match.
–Kiyoshi “The Prototype”
Your #1 Canadian eh?