|Absolute No Gi Winners. First place (center) Nick Robinson of McCune Martial Arts|
There are two things that I learned from attending/reffing at the Fall 2011 Grappling Games at the Midwest Center For Movement in Hudson Wisconsin:
1) If you promise two semi-lazy competitors free tickets to a Lingerie Football game, they will suddenly roll like their lives depended on it.
2) All competitions need to be run this way.
Odds are that if you are reading this, you are at least a little familiar with grappling events in the Midwest. You have probably been to or heard of the Submission Hunt, MKG tourneys and NAGA. We don’t have a lot of options around here because, frankly, just putting on tournaments is a pain in the ass.
And, all due respect to the Submission Hunt (and I truly mean that, because right now they are the only ones with the pull to bring in as many competitors as they do) the Grappling Games runs things a little more to my style.
First of all, they use Grapplers Quest style scheduling.
For the life of me, I don’t know my more tournaments don’t have the upper belt/experience levels roll first.
They have the time in to at least warrant not having to stand around for 2,4,10 hours just waiting to roll. And, they are the ones that the whites and novices should be watching to see where their game needs to go.
I get having kids and teens go first, and I am fine with that, but I say, if your belt has color, your a** doesn’t need to be sitting around waiting to compete.
Second, the atmosphere.
I realize that part of this has to do with the number of competitors. With over 100, but under 200 competitors it is easier to have that close knit feel. And when the event isn’t being held in a gymnasium or convention center, the close walls force people to not be wall flowers and ignore people from other gyms.
As always, the mood was lighthearted and MCFM owner/head instructor Mike Ellefson (Rigan Machado Blackbelt) has once again put on a strong showing that is bringing in higher and higher skill levels.
Yup, even the browns are starting to show up for this one.
Added to the fact that Mike if fully open about his proceeds going to charity to help keep at risk teens off the street, and it is pretty difficult to find a reason not to be a part of this event.
Oh yeah, and it was only $40.
For gi and no gi.
There were very few competitors that, once their divisions were over and offered the chance to roll more, had any energy left.
And I think that we all can remember at least one time when we either only had one match, or found out that there was no one else in our skill/weight division.
On top of all that, this is a tournament where no one school dominates. It seemed like each and every school present brought representatives that either showed incredible performances or just outright won their divisions. No one school was the center of attention.
This event is about the grapplers, not the “glory”.
Part of me is always excited when the Grappling Games comes around. It is a great opportunity to talk with people from other gyms in an environment in which people aren’t staring at each other like the enemy.
Although, I really need to stop living the High Life the night before.
A six pack and Greek food is not the ideal pre-event dinner when you are so susceptible to peer-pressure that you stay about two hours longer than you could just to keep reffing for free.
But I’m not bitter.
Part of me is also a little concerned. I absolutely love this event, but there is no way that we are going to limit its growth potential. And if too many people start to show up, it’s really going to take away from my circus chimp like behavior of making sure I am the center of attention.
Thank you and congratulations to all the competitors.
Midwest Center for Movement, Spartan Martial Arts, Next Level Combat, Revolution, Minnesota Top Team, Petushin Martial Arts, MKG, MKG-Duluth, Gracie Barra, Apex, Land of 10,000 Strikes, The Academy, McCune Martial Arts, and others that I am probably forgetting because I am a douche. Sorry.