BJJ Tips: Winning BJJ competitions. The Manchester BJJ Labs win medals at the 2011 North West Open

On Saturday 20th August 2011 a group of 5 BJJ enthusiasts representing the best BJJ gym in Manchester: The Labs - CFS Manchester & Fighting Fit Manchester got in a car and travelled to The North West Open, the best organised Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition since the history of ever! More about the event later.

Everybody arrived in a great mood and ready to Grab & Pull. Don was still not too sure about his knee (which had been bothering him in the 2 weeks leading up to the event) and, unfortunately, a quick warm-up round confirmed his fears. He sat this one out.

Andy "The BJJ Dummy" Rhind and Mike Thomas both fought very intelligently and left their all on the tatami. Andy lost a takedown early in the match and fought very hard and continuously from his guard but his opponent throttled all his attacks and won by two points. I lost count of Andy's attacks after 12, he was a real BJJ Energiser Bunny.

Mike's opponent, who went on to medal in the category, worked hard to pass Mike's open guard - something Mike has been working hard on building and developing. I was very happy to see Mike's guard recovery techniques and escapes to turtle. One of the hardest things for white belts to understand and physically express is distance and fluid transitions. I was very impressed with Mike's posting, shrimping and recomposition of the guard.

James "The Strangler" Stafford was in it to win it. He worked very hard and had a brilliant ear. I'm sure his nerves were playing havoc with him, but he maintained enough cool to get the grips, work his vicious kuzushi and dominate in three our his 4 fights, winning the bronze via submission. In fact, I think James submitted all the opponents he won against! Here's his fight for the bronze medal.

And finally, yours truly, Liam "The Part Time Grappler" got his first BJJ medal since starting this sport back in 2004(ish). I fought twice, winning once and losing once. I learnt lots and lots from both matches, which of course I will talk about in future posts. I was actually so impressed with my first opponent Mr Paul Rice that I had a good chat with him afterwards and coached him thru his final bout. Paul is not just a very technical fighter but a very sound guy. I look forward to meeting him and his team at future events.

Here is my fight where I lost to Paul (here's an exercise - watch how and how often he strips my grips!):

And here is me winning the bronze medal with a loop choke:

As for the event, what a pleasure. Everyone who knows me knows I hate competitions, with a vengeance! They are always such a drag and never flow. They always run late and are short of refs, officials and medics.

Not this one! Gus Oliviera and his team at Grab & Pull promotions did a superb job. The day before the comp, at exactly 12noon, all participants received a schedule of the events and details of when they should be at the venue to way in. From the moment we walked in, Gus and his team (officials had headsets and refs had purple t-shirts) were all over the show, taking care of every little detail! I was very impressed.

And how about those beautiful medals :)

Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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don_barr said...

Great day, overall I genuinely enjoyed it despite the knee. Hopefully next time I'll be able to actually participate! Nice summary Liam.

The Part Time Grappler said...

When you do you will tear up (pun intended :) )

Thank you Don. It really was a very enjoyable experience. I felt that we were a great team having a great time :)

Matt @ said...

BJJ tournaments are really difficult to keep on-track and on-time. It sounds like everyone (both organisers and competitors) did a great job keeping this one flowing. Well done to all involved.

Matt @

The Part Time Grappler said...

Thanks Matt. Yes I agree and can tell you, Karate tournaments are no better! I remember once we went to a comp back home in Sweden that was so big that it had attracted foreign competitors who'd driven from Norway, Denmark, Germany and even Holland. They had to wait until 10pm to get their team matches done and some of them couldn't really wait that long so they left before the team event even took place!

The North West Open was very well run. It was very clear that they had given it a lot of thought as the staff were always communicating with each other and the refs buzzing and everyone really pulled their weight.