We left out friday morning and cruised up to Henderson, NC. The drive wasn't bad and we arrived at the venue in plenty of time to weigh-in. I hit 149 fully dressed, though I did have to empty my pockets and take off my sweater. There was a middle school basketball game going on in the gym so we went out to dinner with the USG crew before returning to roll out the mats and setup tables and stuff.
The next morning we arrived at around 10:15 and I got changed, then we had a 10:45 rules meeting and I was once again on the mats by 11. I was the first match of the day with Richard and that kicked things off.
Once again his deep halfguard game proved to be too much for me and he was able to consistently prevent me from scoring by maintaining the quarter guard and keeping my foot trapped until he was able to sweep.
My second no-gi match was against his team-mate German who ALSO has a wicked halfguard game, even MORE wicked. He was able to take my back and lock on a choke with my arm trapped, but I had to tap to the straight armlock from having my arm trapped so tightly before the choke was even finished. The kid is just wicked. He went on to win a bunch of medals, including the purple belt absolute division. Richard didn't hit the button on my camera, so I didn't get the match with German on film, but he whooped me good.
After that I had no more no-gi matches so I went to work a table for a couple of hours, then it was on to the Gi matches.
These are in no particular order. I THINK that they are in the order that they happened, but I'm not entirely sure.
This is Richard AGAIN with his halfguard and AGAIN I am unable to free my foot on several occasions when I could have taken over the match and won. We are fairly evenly matched in every position except halfguard where he enjoys a distinct advantage and is able to keep the matches there consistently. He outpoints me again in this one.
This match is me up against Bagels who is hilarious and a blast to hang out with, but is also a complete monster to roll against. Stylistically I match up better against him than Richard or German just because he's a lot more dynamic which gives me more openings and chances to generate options. We ended up in 50/50 guard and I was actually up on advantages when he got that second ankle lock and was able to crank it down. His footlocks are extremely nasty. You'll notice that we seem to be having random discussions during the match, not sure if you can hear them but he tried to armbar me out of the 50/50 and I made fun of him for watching Keenen Cornelius youtube videos, then we were both trying to go for the same 50/50 counter which we found out later is illegal because it counts as a 'cloverleaf' attack and not a straight ankle lock.
All in all this was the most fun roll I had of the day and I look forward to going up against Bagels again in the future.
This is me up against German in the Gi. Dude is SLICK. He got on top off of an opportunity generated by a berimbolo attempt and then setup a really smoothly executed collar choke. He went on to defeat Bagels in the Purple Belt absolute division.
So that's 9 matches, 9 losses. Not my finest tournament, but I acquired about 30 minutes of solid footage of my halfguard top and bottom game for me to analyze and work on which is what I'm currently doing. I really need to establish a stronger game plan from halfguard because I don't really have one now. I don't like deep half because I get kimuraed to hell and back almost every time I try to play it in the gym, but I'm going to revisit it with some tips I picked up watching Richard play it and see how it works out for me. Hopefully by March I'll have a halfguard game worthy of my belt rank to bust out at Wake Forest.
The tournament was completed and the places was cleaned up and the the truck loaded by about 6 pm. Once again everything ran incredibly smoothly. There were a handful of injuries (One nasty looking knee injury that turned out to be ok in the end) but nothing major. The rings ran smoothly, the officiating was great, and everyone was friendly as usual.
There was one strange incident where a guy got double-legged, cried out in pain and curled up on the mat like he had broken a rib or something, then when the medic went over to the ring he suddenly popped up like nothing happened and continued the match. No idea what that was about. Next up is Wake Forest on March 2nd.