Fall Taiwan BJJ Classic Report

On July 12th, 2005 the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Grappling community from all over Asia converged on Taipei, Taiwan for the 2nd Annual Asia Pacific Jiu-Jitsu Championships being held at the National Taiwan University Judo Exhibition Hall.The event was a watershed event as for the first time in our short history, representation from every major team in southeast Asia was present, including teams from Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Vietnam and, of course, Taiwan. The action was intense from the opening whistle and the grapplers proved that they had technique, heart and courage under fire.

The tournament was broken into several divisions and below is the results:

White Belt 0-155 lbs. This bracket featured an amazing 25 entrants and the fans were not disappointed as the action was at a blistering pace from beginning toend. After several hard fought matches to reach the finals, Jack Nguyen (Wang BJJ Team) defeated Andrew Chang (Wang BJJ Team) in the finals, and along with a gold medal, recieved a well deserved promotion to Blue Belt on the podium.

White Belt 156-170 lbs.This welterweight division also elicited a lot of oohs and aahs from the crowd as the blend of speed and power exhibited from the athletes made for exciting matches down to the wire. In the end, it was JustinLee (Wang BJJ Team), a native Taiwanese grappling for less than a year, facing Canadian Steve McMillan (Wang BJJ Team) in the finals. After a back and forth match, Lee was victorious in the end and brought home a gold medal for himself, his team and his country!

White Belt 171-185 lbs.The one word that came to everyone’s mind at the conclusion of this bracket was WAR! Tremendous heart and determination was put on display from all the entrants and the last two men standing were MarkSimmerman (Bangkok Fight Club), also a noted doctor with the WHO, against Lionel Zamora (Machado Philippines). After the dust cleared, it was Mr. Zamora standing with his arm raised and a well earned championship.

White Belt 186-200 lbs.Everybody was excited to see the big boys get under way and they weren’t disappointed as the athletes treated the crowd to a great display of technical proficiency combined with amazing heart and desire. The finals pitted Nick Stach (Gordon) against veteran judo player Taichi Takano (Bangkok Fight Club) and after several big slams and throws, the winner was Nick Stach bringing home the victory.

White Belt 201-265 lbs.This division featured the super heavies and super action! While most people think of the heavyweights as being slower and more brutish, this group of fighters turned that theory upside down by pushing theaction and each other to the limits! The finals saw Luke Dore (Wang BJJ Team) facing off against Chris Jackson (Wang BJJ Team) with Luke getting the win and a well deserved gold medal.

Blue Belt 0-170 lbs.As grappling and BJJ is a relatively new art in Asia, Blue Belts are usually the senior ranks in the academies here and several showed up to put their belts and reputations on the line. The pace of thefights were incredible and at the end of the bracket, we saw Roman DeLaCruz (Purebred International) versus Fujii (RB Yokohama) battling. Roman, being an expert wrestler and Fujii, who is a veteran MMA fighter in Japan, made for an absolute war. At the end of regulation, the score was tied and we went into sudden death overtime where the crowd was in a frenzy and climaxed when Roman scored a sweet double leg to win it all in sudden death. Congratulations to these two competitors who showed everyone what samurai spirit really meant!

Blue Belt 171-265 lbs.This was also a highly anticipated bracket as 8 of the best Blue Belts around Asia got set to battle. Several veteran MMA fighters were in this division and you knew from the word “GO” there would be some asskicking. The finals brought together two of the finest grapplers in the whole country, Nicolai Holt (Wang BJJ Team) versus Ben Price (Wang BJJ Team). As with the under 170 Blues, this match came down to the wire and Holt secured victory when he scored a last second sweep from his guard, and consequently, a satisfying and thrilling championship to his resume.

Purple Belt SuperfightThis was the moment we were all waiting for, as the highlight of the tournament was a first ever Purple Belt match in Taiwan. These are the guys who have trained hard for several years and at Purple Belt,are the leaders and role models of their academies. This match set Fritz Rodriguez (Gracie Barra Philippines) versus Taki (Hong Kong BJJ). The crowd gathered around the mat and was buzzing for the match to begin. Taki, a well versed Judo player and silver medallist at the All-Japan BJJ championships was facing a veteran member of the powerhouse Gracie Barra team. The action was brisk from the beginning and both players scored reversals from their guards during the match and a near choke by Taki proved to be the difference as he earned the advantage and a sweet victory in a historical match!

This tournament brought over 100 of the finest grapplers around Asia together and the Wang BJJ Team was proud to have the opportunity to organize and present the athletes with a platform in which to show their talents. No tournament is successful without championship caliber athletes so thanks to all who come and put it on the line!

The tournament could also have not happened without the generous support and help by the following:

HCK (www.howardliu.com)On The Mat (www.onthemat.com)Ouano (www.ouano.com)BJJ Tapes (www.bjjtapes.com)Full Contact Fighter (www.fcfighter.com)Judo-BJJ-DVDs (www.judo-bjj-dvds.com)

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Andy Wang