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Kyushu Championship 2009, the Afterparty and a Surprise!

April 28, 2009

Okay, here’s the real writeup for the tournament this weekend. I had to wait for Matt to post up his write up first.

Althought the 2009 Kyushu Championship tournament had a very small turnout, it still had cream of the crop (Kyushu wise) jiu-jitsu practitioners representing.

Surprise news at the end.

Highlights
This tournament marked Ide-san’s first official role as a referee. He did and outstanding job for his first time, though he forgot to signal “timeout” to the time keeper twice in a match. But that was it.

At the after tournament party, Ide-san said that the jitters of being a referee were worse than when he was competiting.

***

Hayakawa-san wasn’t our “guest ref” for the tourney as usual. Instead we got another uber famous Japanese badass as a ref.

As soon as I saw him I was jumping up and down with excitement. I wanted to say “Hey, that’s so-n-so! Oh my gosh!!” and geek out but the only person within whispering distance was my girlfriend Yoko and, though I love her bunches, she would have said “who?”

So I waited until I saw someone I knew, went over to them and asked, “Is that who I think it is?”

And the reply, “Yeah, that’s Uematsu Naoya.”

***

Sam did well in his matches in the white belt absolute. But he would lose to the guy that would take the division.

At least he didn’t get choked out or injured like me.

***

Uematsu-san was a really really strict ref. He instantly disqualified a fighter, glared at Philippe (who immediately stood up after the command of “stop” – never had I feared for a larger man off a look from someone smaller) and remanded a ref in mid-match to award the correct points.

As if I wasn’t afraid of Uematsu-san before…

***

Matt performed extremely well!

He gave us a scare in his first match being down by two points, then with a minute left, worked a beautiful sweep and constantly was working to submit in the mount to win it. He swept his division and took second place in the absolute.

If I wasn’t getting iced down and wrapped up from re-injuring my knee I would have enjoyed sharing the win with Matt a lot more than I did.

***

Uematsu Naoya was shorter than I imagined him to be.

***

Paraestra Hakata took first place as the top academy again. Had I won a match, I could have written that I’m happy to support my sensei and his school that helped get him the win.

But I lost twice and got re-injured in the process. I super suck now.

The Afterparty
It was a nice way to cap off the day. Took back my camera and took some decent shots of the night. Matt and I traded lenses then took more pictures.

It was great to hear stories from Tomari-sensei, Ide-san, Ayakawa-san and everyone else that was there. Sam, Philippe, Matt, our better halves, our comrades and friends in the gi. Some of the stories I’ll post up here as they’re pretty funny or inspirational.

But onto the surprise…

The Afterparty was really a farewell party for Matt and his family. Or so I thought. And he thought so as well.

While I was home trying to figure out what was wrong with my computer trying to upload pictures from my camera and copy them to a CD, Matt and company were at Hakata celebrating something.

A promotion.

Ahem.

The halfway mark of the journey to black. The real first solid step into the bigger jiu-jitsu picture.

My good friend, fellow Grappling Dumming, Matt, has been promoted to purple belt! Aw yeah!! You’ve come a long way and I’m absolutely happy and honoured to been a part of it, Matt!

While the day started off sucky – and pretty much stayed that way for the course of the day – it finished with a very cool surprise and I’m happy it ended the way it did. Heck, any day a promotion happens is a pretty good day.

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