Friday, September 19, 2014

2014 IBJJF Dallas Open

The IBJJF came to town last weekend and I was fortunate enough to be healthy and able to participate.  I don't compete often but I do try my best to give it a go when the IBJJF is in town.  The federation does get a lot of flack from some people in the sport but overall it is still the best and brings out the highest level competitors on average.  I feel that they still set a high bar that others try to reach with running tournaments.

This is the 3rd Dallas Open I have competed in and all three have been at the same venue.  I do think they have outgrown the venue a bit but the predictability of location is nice for me.  This was my first real tournament as a brown belt.  There were no competitors in the my age group (Master 2...yeah I'm old) so I decided to move down into Master 1 with 3 other guys already there.  Unfortunately a few days out one of the competitors moved out of our division leaving us in a three man bracket.  My preparation was probably better than any I have had leading up to the tournament.  My cardio felt as good as ever so I felt confident I could at least just focus on NOT making mistakes and playing my game.

I drew the first match with a guy I have never competed against.  The other competitor I was familiar with and had the 1st round bye.  During training I had really focused on my closed guard game and felt great about my ability to chain submissions and sweeps from here.  I was able to pull closed guard right off the bat and get to work.  He did a good job of shutting down my first attacks and attempted to stand a couple times.  I transitioned into De La Riva guard briefly then back into closed guard.  I was able to secure an over hook on his right arm from the closed guard and immediately started to control his free hand.  This allowed me to set up a triangle choke from this position.  He did a good job of hiding the trapped arm which made finishing the choke difficult. I switched from a orthodox triangle to a reverse triangle a couple times trying to wear him down.  I was able to eventually control the trapped arm and finished the match with a kimura from the triangle choke position.

Getting the win was a real confidence booster for me especially since I knew the fresh guy would have to go next against the person I had just defeated.  About ten minutes passed giving me time to talk to my coach and discuss the upcoming final.  After some time had passed the table called for me back on the mat which caught me off guard.  I'm not sure if my previous opponent was injured or what but he didn't compete again so the final came up a bit unexpectedly for me.  I had mentally prepared myself for this opponent and knew I had to avoid his closed guard.  When the match started I was careful and managed to secure my own closed guard.  The match was difficult and most likely boring to watch.  He did a very good job of neutralizing my ability to attack controlling one of my lapels and using a stiff arm to keep me down.  He used his other arm to jam my opposite side hip in order to open and create space.  Some people were confused as to why I couldn't attack that extended arm but the hip pressure he applied made it very difficult and dangerous for me to open and attack without allowing him to move into a passing position.  Most of the match was spent fighting for grips in this position.  Neither one of us was very willing to open up and switch our game plans.  There was at least one time that I did open and transition into half guard.  He immediately started to use a leg weave attempting to pass.  I was very fortunate to avoid the pass and not have an advantage awarded to the opponent here.  I got back to closed guard and the same fight ensued working for grips.  We were both hit with a stalling penalty with the score 0-0, 0-1 0-1 (negatives) around the 3 minute mark. I worked really hard in the final minute to sweep and avoid a referee decision.  With only 00:17 remaining he was hit with another stalling penalty.  Time in the match ended and I was lucky to win.

I hated to win the final in that manner but not every match or final for that matter are going to be the most exciting.  I have found that finals tend to be more closely fought and this one played out just that way.  I have a lot of respect for both of the guys that I competed against over the weekend and hope to have a chance to meet them again in competition.  Huge thanks to all my teammates and friends from other gyms that helped me prepare for this competition.  Five Grappling is coming up next!

2014 IBJJF Dallas Open Results:
Our gym website:

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