Saturday, December 8, 2007

My First No-Gi Submission Competition

Everyone wants to know how my first no-gi submission competition went. The video here shows the match. There were only two competitors in my division, myself and Tasia Yim from Team Franco.
So now you're asking, "Ok, c'mon! What were the results?" The results were as follows.

It was an excellent match. We were a good challenge for each other skill-wise and we were about the same height and weight. There were a number of good exchanges in both rounds. An instructor from another school even came and congratulated me, saying that Tasia and I are both very skilled and that we put on a more interesting fight than many of the men's matches.

I personally learned a lot from the experience. For one thing, I learned that even though your opponent is not allowed to grab the pants in a match, I'm better off wearing board shorts. This is because bare skin is more slippery and provides less traction when making guard passes. Also, incidental grabbing can still happen, regardless of the rules. It's not that it's necessarily intentional, it's just so natural to do it under the heightened tension of a match.

Yes, I know. You want to know who won.

We both did truly. After the match, we hugged, mutually agreeing that it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. We even exchanged contact info so that we can meet up to train together in the future. I have every respect for Tasia's abilities and I think we stand to learn a lot from each other.

Yes, yes. I know. You want to know who won the match.

The truth is, Tasia was awarded the win for both rounds. The ref told me that if we had been going by the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu point system, I would have been awarded the win. In BJJ, you get points for successful throws, guard passes, and dominant positions. In Submission Series competition, points are only awarded for submission attempts. Of course, in either point system, if one of us had successfully tapped out the other, that action alone determines the win.

As a result, I learned that the only way you can conclusively assure a victory in any competition of this sort, whether it's MMA, Pankration, submission competition or Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, is to get your opponent to tap out. That or knock them out if the rules allow it. If it goes to points or judgment of any kind, it's out of your hands and there may be room for debate.

I was told by a number of spectators that they had thought that I had achieved equal to if not more submission attempts in both rounds. Even Tasia herself told me that she thought I had won both rounds. But none of this really matters, of course, because only the ref's judgment counts when it comes to determining victory.

You often hear people bitching about politics, bad match-ups, weight cutting, unfair rules, anything and everything that can theoretically cause an imbalance. With a match like mine and Tasia's, gold, silver, it's all the same to me. I entered this tournament as part of my learning process about the relevance of submission competition in real self-defense. It was also yet another way of preparing myself for MMA ring fighting in the future. But first and foremost, I wanted to have fun.

I got all that and more. I couldn't be happier.


Robbie said...

So very true! Congrats!

Martial Development said...

Lori, I've tagged you to participate in the 7 things writing project.

MARKS said...

Certainly was a very good fight. No time wasting, no laziness and lots of action. Coming from a Judo background I also like to try solid throws before hitting the ground as I find sometimes it can really wind the opponent and I found it interesting that some good throws and takedowns where also performed, something i rarely see with men jiu jitsu fighters. The Osoto Gari in the first round was sweet!

Lori O'Connell said...

Thanks, Mark. I feel the same way about throws and takedowns with my modern traditional style of jiu-jitsu. It's a good way to end up in a dominant position if it's MMA too.