I competed in Grapplers Quest US Nationals yesterday. The best part of the tournament for me was watching my friends and teammates put in a dominant performance with lots of solid dynamic jiu jitsu. The two that stand out especially are Bill Algeo and Charlie Neely. Their matches are included below.
Billy Brabo Lives
Billy competed in the $1000 no-time-limit submission-only lightweight mini-tournament sponsored by Rough Zen. He was joking around and having fun the whole time, which was inspiring given that he put in almost 90 minutes worth of non-stop grappling on the day and did look tired at all at the end. Billy vs Wilson Reis is the best match of the tournament in my mind. They put on a great show, submission for submission. Jiu jitsu is not always fun to watch, especially when it’s a 75 minute match, but this was definitely an exception to that:
This was the finals match. It was inspiring to see Bill’s confidence in defending and attacking footlocks. His opponent was destroying everyone with heel hooks and toe holds, but Bill kind of reminded of Alan Belcher when he fought Rousimar Palhares. He was cool and collected in the leglock exchanges. Bill finished the match with a brabo choke that went on for a long time:
Charlie is a friend and a guy I look up to very much. Plus, he is a wrestling coach. It seems that I get along with people who’ve wrestled. Enough said. He competes often, but also has a good philosophical outlook on competition, so he’s a good guy to talk to about competition. Yesterday, he had a great day in the master’s purple belt cruiserweight division, never being scored on, and himself racking up points. Here are his two matches:
Purple Belt Adult Weight and Absolute
Remarkably there was no one in my division (purple belt adult cruiserweight 180-189.9 lbs). I include the picture of the scale because weight turned out to be important. I ate a breakfast and lunch, and weighed in 182.6 at home and 181.4 when I got to the venue. As I’ve said, before I’ve been making sure to alter nothing about my life for the purpose of cutting weight. I don’t care if I compete against someone weighing 130 lbs or 310 lbs. But I do want to compete against SOMEONE. After waiting 4 hours, I was called to my table and saw the bracket. My name “Lex Fridman” was nicely printed in the 1st spot of an 8-man bracket with the other 7 spots empty. I’ll hold off on complaining any more about this, but I do wish there was a little more structure and professionalism in some aspects of this event. For the most part, it’s still a very good tournament. I then competed in the absolute and felt like I was asleep for the first several minutes, losing 5-6. I picked up some technical things I need to work on.
I’ll leave this tournament update with an excerpt with a poem to which I’ve returned often, and was reminded of recently by a fellow competitor: “If” by Rudyard Kipling (full text here):
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;