For more infomation check out www.BattleoftheBay.net People may not realize that my first BJJ tournament was at Chris Smith’s Tiger Martial Arts way back in 1997. Fast forward a decade and Chris has been throwin friendly local tournaments attracting local talent ever since. Longtime readers of OTM may come to realie that I hold a special fondness for for local family style tournaments, and for this tournament in particular. This years Battle of the Bay was no exception, and has shown the growth and awareness of the sport has grown, espcially in Northern California. The tournamnt had traditionally been held at Chris’ academy, but growth has finally dictated that it move into a larger venue, which was intimate but already overfilling as this year’s tournament was at least three times larger than any that preceeded it. Action bean with the children’s divisions, which saw many tough and exciting matches throughout the day. Like many areas, the Bay Area is seeing a group of talented mat rats that are eager to compete and test their skills and it sort of lows my mind to think that some of these young competitors may have been toddlers when the first of these tournaments began an they are now being brought up by a generation that cut their teeth on this very circuit. There were two superfights that took place as well. Claudio Franca black belt and local product from Santa Cruz Mike Weaver took on Alex “Patriot” Perez from Modesto in an exciting bout. Patriot was game and battled hard muc of the match, but te experience and technique of Weaver proved to be a bit much as he remained in control (largely from the top) for nearly the full 10 minute regulation. The second match was a black belt gi match between Solomon Mitchell of Charles Gracie JJ against newcomer to area Phillipe from Sao Paulo (I’m likely going to edit this to include Phillipe’s last name.) Both competitors were busy prior to the match, as Sol is a choirpracter was offering his services throughout the day, and Phillipe was doing an excellent job as referee most of the day. Good match that had the crowd exciting that sw Sol on top looking to pass much of the match, but the difference was two specacular sweeps that Phillipe pulled off late in the match. Sol increased his pace as time wound down and th action became more frantic, but Phillipe pulled off the victory by points. Overall a great tournament which ultimately attracted talent nt only from the Bay Area but from wide reaching Northern California. Local tournaments like th one Chris Smith and friends have been producing for ten years right now are excellent showcases for the arts of Jiu Jitsu and Submission Grappling and I appreciate them for the intimate and friendly atmpospheres. Happily, as the sport continues to grow there are more and more of these tournaments coming up that offer eveyone a chance to showcase their skills, and I am happy to be a part of and continue documenting that growth. Supporting your local scene is something that I’m proud to say that OntheMat will continue to do, and you should too.