Blue Belt Journal: NABJJF All America’s BJJ Tournament Review

By Benjamin Bieker

Another weekend, another tournament, and another disappointment. After the the Gracie Nationals were I suffered a defeat due to kneebar, I went into the All America’s tournament knowing one thing that I did not want to be submitted. Unfortunately, a still tender knee was not the only thing I had to worry about, because with the combined brunt of school, work, training, a month long test my credential program, and writing jobs I had a lot on my plate. It seems my dieting and exercise, beyond training, fell to the back burner.


This made my weight slightly higher than where I would have liked it to have been. The night before the tourney I had cut my eating and water intake to a minimum in able to come in light the next day, and according to the scale at my gym I was only a pound over six hours before I was set to compete. Once me and my teammates arrived at the competition the scales seemed to be weighing a bit heavy with me being two pounds over. Luckily, a lighter gi took one pound off, but I still had to shed the last pound if I wanted to compete.


A few laps around their track with two sweatshirts, a gi, a thermal, and two pairs of sweatpants did the trick, but by the time my bracket had come up I was completely drained and had not eaten in over 24 hours. After I stepped on the scales, I was able to eat a little and drink a little, but I did not want to upset my stomach since too much too fast would have caused more problems than it was worth. With seven people in my bracket I had a long road ahead of me if I wanted to take first.


In my first match, I pulled guard, but my opponent had one of my legs pinned down. I was stuck in half butterfly guard, but I was able to pull it out and lockup full guard. From there I tried to grab for collar chokes, but no matter how hard I gripped it felt like I had no strength to my grip from the weight cut. Finally, as I positioned myself to sweep him I took him over, but he used my momentum to flip me over again. Grabbing his leg, I worked a single leg takedown. It finished all my energy getting him down. I was ahead on the scorecard, but I had no energy to hold him. He flipped me over, passed my guard, and even got knee on belly. The match was over, and I had lost 7-2. 


This has taught me that I need to wait until I can compete without having to cut drastic amounts of weight, and that maybe five tournaments in six months, a belt change in December, and competing without proper training was too much. So, for now I will go on sabbatical with my next tournament probably coming in June. For now, I will focus on cardio, my weight, and just enjoy the art of Jiu Jitsu for a while before getting back into the competition mentality.


As for the tournament, it was like all other NABJJF tournaments, because it ran great and on time. Some people always have issues with how brackets are made, who gets a bye, and how the refs score. That is not a reflection on the tournament runners themselves since some of it is subjective, and refs scoring is not something they can control explicitly. I gladly compete at their events, because the price point is low and you know you are going to compete when your brackets time is announced days in advance.

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