CAMP AND COMPETITION
After a massive month of hard training with some of the best competitors and coaches in the world, it’s hard to imagine how much information and experience Dustin Brown and I have both absorbed. I know for one I will come back a much better person. The lessons we learned here were as beneficial to the growth of not only Dustin and I but for Jiu Jitsu in Australia as a whole.
We were very lucky to be accepted into the Atos Pan Ams training camp, at Andre Galvao’s school in San Diego and extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from the pioneers of the ”new generation” of Jiu Jitsu.
If you have been around the BJJ scene in the last ten years, you will have noticed a massive change in the game and styles of BJJ; from standing passing, Leg drags, Berimbolo’s Fifty-Fifty, Inverted guard and the influx of high level wrestling and judo into BJJ. Atos has been one of the main engineers of this evolution of grappling. For example, 10 years ago you would have seen most people if not all trying to pass the guard from their knees. On the weekend at the 2012 Pan American Jiu Jitsu Championship, 99.9% of people passed the guard standing. It was only a few years ago that this idea became popular and very successful so for people who were used to playing guard against an opponent on their knees, it came as a big shock and made it very difficult to contend with. So the evolution of the guard started to begin with the old school closed guard becoming hard to obtain thus people started working a lot of leg attacking guard positions. Fifty-Fifty, De la Riva, Reverse De la Riva, inverted guard, Berimbolos and spider guard, which is now basically what you look at when watching the best in the world compete.
One of the best things about training at Atos was witnessing how much effort the Mendes Brothers and Andre Galvao put into the finer details of BJJ and how they are always looking to improve and invent new positions. I myself got to spend 45 minutes with a new technique I developed in my head while driving home from training one day with Andre Galvao. I wanted to show him to see if he had seen it before or believed it had potential, he had not seen it before and liked it, he even helped me improve it. For me it was a great feeling to be working on a new move no one had seen with one of my Jiu Jitsu heroes. He also showed me a move he had thought of in which we both brainstormed to eventually come up with a move to combat the omoplata which has never been used before.
The training camp for us started the day we landed in California; we arrived at 6am, LA time and were on the mats just 3 hours later. We then left the next day to San Diego to start our Camp with Atos at Andre Galvao’s school. We trained Monday to Friday, 12am-2pm then again at 6pm-8pm with the weekends to recover. We trained for 4 weeks prior to the event and the improvements Dustin Brown and I made were emphasised in our results. Dustin took Gold in the under 73kg purple belt masters division and I took bronze in the under 79kg brown belt middle adult division.
The Pan American Jiu Jitsu Championships ran for four days straight with a record breaking 3,250 competitors, making it the biggest Jiu Jitsu competition in the world. Dustin Brown was up first on the Saturday. Having trained as hard as we did Dustin was very confident anyone he had to face in his division was not going to be anything near what we had to train against every day. There were no world champion black belts in his division; however, there were many in the training camp.
Dustin started off a little slow winning his first three fights by either referee decision or advantage. Andre Galvao and I were coaching him. And although he was controlling the fight he was failing to open up and finish. After talking to him about it he come out for his semi-final fight hard, and won by submission. With this his confidence grew and then by the final he was on fire, winning with a slick triangle submission from his guard, almost effortlessly.
This was a fantastic achievement for Dustin Brown. I personally know how hard he worked and how much he had sacrificed for this. He trained hard under his coach in Australia 3rd degree Black belt Carlos “Portuguese” Vierra and then again on the Atos Camp, under the instruction of 8X World Champion Andre Galvao.
My division was up on the Sunday. It had been a very hard training camp and I knew I was in the best shape of my life to win this comp. I had cut a lot of body fat in the previous weeks going from 84kgs to 79.8 in 3 weeks. Even with the underlying confidence I was still very nervous, I put a lot of pressure on myself in competition. I knew a lot of people were watching via live feed on the internet from back home in Australia, and I really did not want to disappoint them.
My first fight was a quick one I was very excited and nervous and was looking to finish early so I could rehydrate myself before the next fight – having weigh- ins just before our fights means we run the risk of dehydrating in our matches. My opponent pulled guard on me early, I passed, then he turtled on me. I put him in a crucifix with kimura arm control which I then turned into an arm bar from guard in under 2 minutes.
My second match was my favourite in the competition. After touching hands with my opponent I noticed he had a free style wrestling stance and I could hear his coach telling him to double leg me. Having trained a lot of Judo recently with my take down Coach Malcolm Bangs and training with Olympic Judo prospect Ivo dos Santos, I was eager to test out some of my new throws. And that I did many times throughout my fight. I won 6-0 on points.
My opponent decided not to turn up so was scratched from the event.
This was the semi-final now, and my opponent was a Check Mat fighter from Sao Paulo Brazil. Unfortunately at the time no one had any information on him this being his first trip outside of Brazil.
We started the match in a furious pace with him pulling guard quickly using a double sleeve grip control with an open guard. I was very impressed with his control from the start and knew this was going to take my best passing to win this match, so that’s what I gave him. I turned my guard passing to 10 and threw everything at him at one stage I passed his legs with Toriander style pass but failed to secure control of his upper body and he recovered quickly. I then tried double under switched to a knee cut pass but ended up in his single leg X guard. I kept my balance and attempted to step over the top when he scrambled and rolled over to put me in a straight ankle lock. Knowing that my ankle was already damaged before the fight a few months ago I tapped before he even had a chance to put it on. I was not willing to risk my own ankle for a gold medal. Not when I have the Abu Dhabi World Pro just around the corner.
So unfortunately I fell short of the Gold, but on a positive note I have only been training for 3 and a half years and only had my brown belt for 5 months so to be able to come 3rd out of 38 people I am happy. The thing that made me feel really good was the overwhelming support I had received from back home in Australia. People were getting up at 4am Melbourne time to watch my fights and lend their support. This makes the hard training, blood, sweat and tears worth every bit.
Now I’m back home for two more days before I fly out to Abu Dhabi to represent Australia in the under 82kg Brown/Black belt division in the Abu Dhabi Pro Jiu Jitsu World Cup.
Once again thankyou to all my friends, family, training partners, coaches and girlfriend for all the support and helping me to reach my goals.
A big thank you to my sponsors Kapai Puku, D-spa Dentist, Mirrabooka Protein, Cocobella, Vegadeetz films and most of all SUB Apparel for fully funding my whole trip J
Also on Tuesday the 24th of April I will be holding a seminar at 7:00pm – 9:00pm at 119 Beresford Rd Lilydale. The cost is $20 per person with food and drinks supplied and also a raffle with great prizes such as a SUB Apparel Gi, SUB Apparel Rash Guard, SUB Apparel Shorts and Kapai Puku bars up for grabs. Please call Tony Marks on 0402 697 554 for any more information. Hope to see you there. Osssss