Welcome to our first tournament review of for the year 2011. The first review we have on hand is the Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials which was held on Saturday, January 29th in sin city; the Disney Land for adults, Las Vegas Nevada! With this tournament being the 1st Major Tournament in the US for the year and it being the Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials, I had very high hopes for this event. I was expecting one of the highest caliber tournaments I have ever been to. Unfortunately, my hope for this tournament were crushed! Crushed as early as the night prior during the weigh in process. So, without further adieu, my review!
Pros: The prizes, location (Las Vegas), cost, and time limit.
Cons: Weight classes, mixed divisions, weigh-ins, mat space, spectator space, coaching ability, organization (i.e. weigh-ins, brackets. time schedule), and reffing!
Opinion: One of my first initial issues with the tournaments was the broad weight classes they had. The broadness of the weight classes would have been easier to deal with had it been a weigh in with the gi. It wasn’t! Another issue I had with the weight and the weigh in process was that the weigh ins the night before makes it possible for athletes to cut and put the weight back on giving someone a possibility of having up to a 30+ lb advantage.
Again, as stated, I wasn’t very fond of the weight classes and the ability to weigh-in the night before. I really didn’t like the weigh-in process! The actual process itself was horrendous and extremely disorganized. No obvious lines or directions and it seemed as if the staff them selves were confused. A lot of running around and hold ups!
I also wasn’t too fond of the mixed levels! I didn’t feel it was very fair. For example, you could have a white belt and a blue belt who could be borderline purple belt or a purple belt who is going against a brown belt who is bordering black, doesn’t seem to give people an opportunity to truly display and test their competency and skill on an even playing field. There’s no benefit to any of the athletes.
The schedule was horrible! They had a schedule they were supposed to stick to. They said they were going to be strict about sticking to their schedule. Nothing was on-time! Most of the day had multiple empty mats at a time. Rarely would you find all mats being utilized at the same time for any period at a time! Despite the fact they weren’t making full or good use of their mat space, I feel more mats may have helped them stick to the schedule that they had displayed.
Another very disappointing issue I had with the tournament was the lack of space they had for the spectators and the fact that the space for coaches to coach their athletes was non existent. Not enough space for the spectators and no space for the coaches to coach caused the coaches to coach from the spectator section block views of other spectators causing problems for the organization.
By this point in the review, one can easily assume that thee event coordinators were very disorganized! The same can be said about the brackets! A lot of the brackets written out at the last minute vs printed out as it should have been. The organization did not stick to your own rules and regulations when it came to the registration, athlete information, and bracket changes. For example, the last day of registration passed, athlete list was posted, I only had three in my division, then brackets were posted, there was 4, then the next day brackets were posted on the wall and then finally a 5th one added in pen.
Everything was so disorganized, my wife was able to make it to the mat with out being weighed and without her gi being checked!
The worst part of this tournament was the reffing! No one seemed to be on the same page from ref to ref. Ref’s were not paying attention to the matches. Some were even sitting on the mats during a match sometimes they would watch other matches. They were also terrible at not giving points where points were due (I’m sure there are tons of video out there to prove it! I have several!). The ref’s also took for ever to give the athlete their points. I counted 12 seconds before they awarded an athlete point for the mount!
On top of all the chaos, it was difficult to get anything answered there. The staff could never seem to answer any of our questions (i.e. where we pay the $20 and weigh in the day of).
Suggestions: Biggest would be to maybe spread it out over 2 days versus 1. We were there for 12 hours! That is too damn long being at a tournament! Especially when your division is 3 hours past! Also, give away shirts for pre-registration. It’s kind of lame having to buy our tournament shirt when most every major tournament gives you one for pre-registration. Last but not least, do the opposite of everything you did wrong! Obviously!