I had a chance to sit down with Andy Grahn of Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, home of Sean Sherk and Brock Lesnar, to discuss the past tournament that he and Greg Nelson hosted, called the Greater Midwest Submission Hunt.I had a chance to sit down with Andy Grahn of Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, home of Sean Sherk and Brock Lesnar, to discuss the past tournament that he and Greg Nelson hosted, called the Greater Midwest Submission Hunt.
Bruce: Andy, thanks for coming on so first things first how was the tournament?
Adam: It went great considering there was a gigantic blizzard going on I think we had around 400 people or so. I would have expected maybe a hundred or so more had there not been a blizzard but I had a larger number of adults at this tournament then in the previous six or seven tournaments so it was pretty cool
Bruce: Yea it seems weird most of the time you see a lot of kid but I imagine because of the storm
Andy: Yea and the couple of the local schools for what ever reason didn’t bring as many kids as they said they would have. Hopefully in the spring we will get that number up again, but I was also impress with the skill of the Jiu-Jitsu players, its gotten so much better over the years from six years when we did the first one you see such a higher level of Jiu-Jitsu and submission grappling.
Bruce: Now I have been there since the second one you guys had, and it’s always been a really good Midwest tournament. Why would you say people keep coming back to your tournament?
Andy: Well, we prepare in advance really well, everybody knows where they have you be and when. I think we also do a good job of training the refs and table people. I mean it’s not a perfect situation but it’s pretty good. We get pretty experienced refs and really it comes from Greg (Nelson) who has been my mentor and we both really care about martial arts, we don’t care if our people win or our people lose its more about learning. We try to bring that to the other competitors and the other schools and I think they understand that really well.
Bruce: You also had quite a few big names?
Andy: Yeah, we had UFC veteran Derrick Noble, Nick Thompson and Logan Clark, those guys were competing in their respective divisions.
Bruce: For a Midwest tournament it was pretty good competition. It seems like the Midwest is trying to catch up to the rest of the country?
Andy: Clearly we don’t get to go to all the tournaments that are in California and it gets expensive and I think the distance is limiting too, but there is getting to be a lot of tournaments locally and more and more people are starting to travel to the bigger tournaments like the pan-ams and the mundials. We had a couple of guys go to the mundials and then after the mundials we had three Brazilian gold medals Lucas Lepri and purple belt gold medalist Gabriel Goulart and Thiago Alves and they were all here for like a month and so that was an awesome experience to see jiu-jitsu at that level and we are not there yet but we are getting there we are getting closer and I think in the future you are going to see across the US a high level of jiu-jitsu. I mean if you think about mma too you can see the level of MMA in the Midwest has been really high and you have to have a base level of Jiu-Jitsu.
Bruce: So what are your plans next, when is the next tournament?
Andy: We’ve got the date picked for May 10th, we have the ok from the school and we like to plan as far in advance as we can so May 10th is a 99% for certain. We are going to have that day again and I keep trying to convince Greg to have a Super fight and Greg has the final say but I am pretty sure we are going to have at least one black belt super fight. I think it is important for kids to see Jiu-Jitsu at that level because it’s inspiring.
Bruce: Well thanks for coming on anyone else you would like to thank?
Andy: Ah as far as the tournament goes I would like to thank all the academies that came up really early in the morning that help setup and stayed late to tear down, a big thank you to all those people.
Bruce: Also can you possibly schedule a grappling tournament around a snow storm it seems like every year your tournament has a big blizzard?
Andy: I will make sure to put that in my notes.
Andy: Alright take it easy Bruce.
MMAA/Pedro Sauer 2020Warrior’s Cove/Team Vaghi 1090R.K. Camarillo 1020Doc’s Gym/Wolfpack 490No Rules/Rigan Machado 480Action MMA 360Hybrid Jiu-Jitsu 330Petushin MA 260Minnesota Kali Group 210MidAmerica Martial Arts 200Cellar Kickboxing 190Rochester MMA 180Team Prodigy/ Menne Combat Arts 160House of Pain 150Badgerland Jiu-Jitsu 120Kage No Gundan 120Force 120Combat Jiu-Jitsu 120Team Crazy 70Gorilla Combat 50Dual Dragons MMA 20Mankato MMA 50Wojo 20
Go to www.submissionhunt.com