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Copa Paraestra – May 2008

May 7, 2008

The Copa Paraestra tournament was held this past Tuesday in Wakamatsu, Kitakyushu. Compared to the last tournament I attended held in Oita, this one was larger with a ton of competitors in the blue belt division.

Here’s what went down:

Really, really good matches
Usually in most tournaments there are hardly any matches that showcase just how amazing the skill level of the competitors are. Maybe flashes of athletic brilliance now and then but hardly on a regular basis. Maybe even not until the higher belt levels.

But not this one. It never fails to amaze me just how tough the Japanese BJJ practitioners are. They’re explosive and crisp. It reminds me a lot of their level of Judo here too.

For every fall down and awkwardly-work-for-position match I saw there were at least two (or more) flat out, go for broke, budo-death-before-dishonour style match that put a smile on my face. And made me wish I was on the mat as well.

Like Marcelo
I bought these cool Keiko Raca board shorts there.

Wanted them in pure black but they didn’t have my size. I also wanted to get a blue long sleeve Atama rash guard shirt and be like Marcelo Garcia… but in reverse. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough money and since summer’s right around the corner getting a long sleeve rash guard really isn’t a good investment. Not until winter time anyway.

Great minds think alike… and are BJJ practitioners
But by far the best thing about this tournament was meeting Matt, fellow Kyushu Brazilian Jiu-jitsu practitioner, writer of this world-class blog and all around great guy. Good times.

I met him as he was doing sit outs to warm up for his first match. I would have loved to talked with him more, but he was there on business and most guys I know want to get in the zone right before fight time so I went off to the sides and hoped I wasn’t too instrusive.

In his weight division and early on in his first match, he immediately slapped on and secured a triangle faster than I could snap a photo of it.

As sure as I took the shot of the triangle, I knew that Matt had the match in the bag. Then the seconds kept ticking away without a tapout in sight. I thought maybe Matt didn’t have it on correctly that’s why the guy isn’t tapping. So there I am yelling at Matt to get the guy’s arm across but this is what I saw…

The arm was across. And that triangle was deep. I stopped yelling after I saw that and was particularly dumbfounded. For some strange reason the guy just wouldn’t tapout. He must have loved “eating triangles”.

Every school, gym, academy has those guys. The ones that somehow always get caught in triangles make no real effort to escape but somehow even though the arm is across, even though their head is pushed down, they never tap. Or if they do it’s only because the triangle’s been on for five minutes.

Eventually Matt let go, got passed and lost that match by a north/south choke that I definitely would have gotten caught with. I felt disappointed for him knowing how close he was to finishing and had the advantage when the match began. Matt took it in stride with a passing remark of “oh, that was too bad” which he originally said in Japanese. Class act.

In the absolute, Matt went up against a pro shooto guy whom he dubbed “the monster”.

Although he lost this match as well, I think Matt’s Jiu-jitsu is top notch. He went up against a shooto guy, had a leg submission slapped on him and he escaped. There wasn’t a thing that I would have done different personally. Except for getting smashed. I would have gotten more smashed.

Afterwards, we sat back and chatted while watching the rest of the matches playout. I would have loved to relax and enjoy the rest of the tournament (I missed out on a black belt match darn it!) and hang out with Matt and his missus, but it was the last day of a four day road trip where I still had three more hours of driving to arrive back in my part of Japan so I bowed out early. I left before 3 o’clock and didn’t get home until a little before 6:30.

I should say a few words about competing. Not to say that the only measure of growth in BJJ is by entering tournaments and that by not competing you’re not seeing how far you’ve come along, but – let’s face it – entering a tournament isn’t for everyone.

Not everyone is capable of competing and only a few of us actually do. There is a lot of physical and mental preparation that happens before a competition and no matter what level a competitor is at, all they can hope for is to do their utmost best, regardless of the outcome. Anyone entering a tournament is putting their skills on the line and testing themselves in a way few dare try.  It deserves nothing but respect.

And, of course, I was a bit envious. Matt got to be in a tournament. I just watched and took blurry photos of people I didn’t know.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2008 8:51 pm

    Awesome write up mate, you have a good way with words. I got goosebumps, and I was there!

    I wasn’t nearly complementary enough to you in my write-up… it was genuinely great to meet you and I could tell that we would get on very easily. Thanks for the words of advice.

    See you again soon!

    By the way I am going to keep pushing traffic to your blog because I think more people should see it.

  2. May 8, 2008 10:51 pm

    Oh, the black belt fight was cool… so was the brown belt. Paraestra Osaka guys won both!

    I will put the black belt fight up on my site soon. The crowd was soooo loud for that one.

  3. May 9, 2008 11:00 am

    ARRRHH! MISSED OUT ON HIGH LEVEL BELT MATCHES!

    *beats head on keyboard*

  4. May 9, 2008 2:12 pm

    Hey did you notice you got a link from Hywel Teague at his blog… he is the editor of Fighters Only, probably Europe’s biggest MMA magazine… shweeet!
    http://notesfromringside.wordpress.com/2008/05/08/summer-sun-and-training-outdoors/

  5. May 10, 2008 3:51 pm

    Yeah, saw that. 🙂 Don’t feel like I’m link quality (goes for your links as well), but I’m really stoked about it.

    Gotta step up my game and write some really good posts. Or fart jokes. I hear people like fart jokes.

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  1. More Copa Paraestra Stuff… « Martial Farts

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