If you've ever had an opportunity to play tournament chess, you understand that it's a unique environment. This single game attracts a variety of people. Young and old. Nerds, jocks, dentists, postal workers, fireman, therapists. They all sit across the board to play a game that reveals a little bit about each of them. Do you have aggressive tendencies? Or, are you patient and conservative? Your personality shows up on the board, across from your opponent, move by move.
When I entered the building for the US Grapplers tournament in Laurel, MD, I could see the same thing. People from all walks of life, who ordinarily may not have crossed paths socially but who've all agreed to "roll" together. Bravado mingles with the meek here because all of the participants understand what a humbling craft Jiu Jitsu can be. Strength or size alone is not rewarded. Aggression can work against you and speed doesn't assure you of anything. You're testing your knowledge, your stamina and your will not only against your opponent but also yourself. Revealing a little bit about you as a person, move by move.
US Grappling is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and submission grappling tournament circuit run at different locations around the country with the majority of their events running along the eastern seaboard.
On site at their recent event in Laurel, MD it's controlled chaos. Coaches, family members and friends are yelling encouragement or instruction just off the mat. Practice sessions or post match conversations are taking place along the sidelines and the air is thick with energy from competition. There are eight matches running simultaneously and each competition begins soon after the previous one ends to ensure an orderly flow of participants throughout the day. Men and women compete in various brackets that are designated by age , weight and belt level (experience) to promote fair competition. Further tournament categories include Gi and No-Gi and points are awarded based on take downs, sweeps or reversals, position control and submissions. Submission only matches also exist as well in Gi and No-Gi. US Grappling tournament rules can be found here.
The tournament atmosphere helps to build confidence for inexperienced grapplers, sharpen skills for the experienced and introduce all participants to competition that may not be found where they train.
The results of US Grappling Maryland on October 15th can be found here. For more information on US Grappling visit their website at www.usgrappling.com.
About the Author:
Darryl Keeton is an avid striking, grappling and wrestling fan living in Upper Marlboro, MD. He holds a black belt in Taekwondo and is also a practitioner of Combat Jujutsu, Boxing and Muay Thai.