We left the house around 4pm Friday and despite some traffic due to a four car fender bender we managed to roll in around 10pm to the Clarion hotel. We settled in and got some rest.
Unfortunately the hotel complementary breakfast was meager and horrible. So I ended up foodless rolling out Saturday morning.
We got to the venue and I weighed in, fully clothed, at 143.4 lbs.
I talked to the Crissy and the USG crew for a few minutes and then ran into Leslie and we did some warmup rolls. I would have liked to roll more with her since I didn't really get a good feel for her full game, but she has good squirrley hip movement and nailed that Emily Kwok step pass on me even though I knew she had be working on it.
Since I was reffing this time around I hit up a brief referee meeting with Andrew and the other refs, then we had the main rules meeting. As always everything was very clearly communicated and demonstrated and questions were answered thoroughly.
My division started promptly at 11 as I've come to expect.
There was no one in my Masters No-Gi Advanced division so my first match was in the Absolute Masters, No-Gi Advanced against James Viars. That is also the only match that I have video of this time around. The Jennosaurus was working the tables for USG, so I didn't have anyone to run the camera. I'll be uploading that video as soon as I get a chance. I pulled guard, he made it to halfguard and tried to d'arce me. I sat around in the darce for a while then he transitioned eventually to an armbar, I rolled out of it, got on top and snagged his ankle to lock in a straight ankle lock for the finish. Time: 5:12
After that was the Mens No-Gi Advanced, which had me up first against John 'Bagels' Telford from Team ROC. I again, pulled guard and let him set up a D'Arce, hoping to pull the same shenanigans and let him wear himself out a bit and work from there. But he used the D'Arce to take mount on me. I worked my way out and we hit a bit of a scramble, he locked on a toe hold but I flexed through it and popped free and I was SURE I had him turning directly into a triangle choke off of that scramble, but instead he ended up on top with an armbar. I tried to roll out of the armbar, but he caught me and finished it. Time 5:38
We had a three person division, it was round-robin, so Bagels was up against Herman Mattison after that and their match went over half an hour of back and forth. Both of them just had endless strength and cardio. It was a joy to watch them. Eventually Bagels caught an ankle and finished it.
After that I had to go up against Herman. I tried to hit a footsweep off of the clinch, but he countered with a monster double leg. I played more halfguard, but couldn't put anything together against him either and he eventually locked on a tight RNC. Time: 11:33
From there I ran over to start my Mens Advanced No-Gi Absolute division. First match was against Sampu Blankenship. (Edit: That's SAMPY Blankenship. Who is a Budo-Ryu black belt) I pushed him around in the clinch a little bit then pulled guard and was able to 100% play my normal no-gi game. I setup the overhook, then setup the omoplata. He rolled and I rolled with him, then he postured and I comboed over to the triangle for the finish. Time 3:14.
Now, for the record this is the last match I have with anyone close to my size. The rest of my opponents are all at least 30lbs heavier than I am.
Second match Laban Probst who was huge. Somewhere in the 220lb range. At this point everyone was starting to get a little blurry on me. He armbarred me fairly quickly though. Time 2:24.
Third match I won by forfeit.
I changed into my Gi real quick and then reffed a few matches for Bagels so he could coach some of his guys. Then my Gi stuff started, so Leslie took over reffing for me.
At this point, things were pretty much a blur. My first opponent was named Zebulon (Awesomest name EVER) and he completely outgripped me. I was defending a kimura at one point and he passed my belt around my wrist somehow and locked it down, then used his free hand to lock in a collar choke. It was awesome and I'm going to steal that tiedown from him for next time. Time: 3:15.
Next match was Matt Moretz, who also outgripped me and armbarred me. Time: 1:57.
Next match was against Bill Bennet who has an absolutely WICKED paper cutter choke that he nailed me with. Time: 2:06
Next was an awesome match against an ENORMOUS 300+lb guy who also competes in Judo named Brian Mathis who threw me rather spectacularly onto my head, and then landed on me in surprisingly gentle fashion, then... I think he armlocked me in some fashion. It's hard to remember. Might have been a choke. Time: Unknown, but I think it was about 2 minutes.
I had another match with Matt Moretz, this time I almost caught him in an inverted triangle, but he managed to hide his arm from me and ended up armbarring me again. Time: 1:57.
My last match was a second one with Bill Bennet who AGAIN hit me with that Paper cutter choke, though I knew it was coming and I thought for sure I had a counter for it, but at this point I don't know what the hell was going through my mind, so I could have been hallucinating. Time: :40
Total Matches: 12
Wins: 3 (1 by forfeit)
Losses: 9 (Ouch, that's a lot of losses)
Total Mat Time: 40 minutes.
Average Match Length: About 3 minutes 35 seconds.
Good enough for a 1st place, a 2nd place, and 5 3rd place medals.
Also because of a snafu with the medal manufacturer they are sending out rashguards to the people who placed in each division, which means I ended up also getting 7 rashguards out of it. AND because the USG folks are awesome I ended up with a new pair of shorts and a ton of t-shirts.
I then went and reffed a a huge novice division, and then an equally large white belt division. I spent a LOT of time on the mats. After all of the matches were done me and Jenn helped break down the mats and everything and then the USG team took all of the refs out to dinner. Thanks Crissy, Andrew, Brian, and everyone with US Grappling for an AWESOME AWESOME weekend! We'll be back for the Charlotte tournament for sure!
Oh, I also have to give a huge shout out to Roy Marsh who was there coaching some of his guys for his impromptu private lesson with me after the event. Learned a couple of really really wicked tricks from him including a great grip control trick and a really nice way to increase pressure from knee on belly and side control.
And of course, a MILLION props to my awesome Jennosaurus for coming out with me and supporting me and making friends with all of the USG people and running a table for them.
And a friendly warning to Team ROC. I'm going to be ready for you behemoths (And you too Bagels) at Charlotte.