A few months back when I thought I would have plenty of training time, I sent a link to a few guys at the gym to do the Matshark Tournament in Arlington. However, I was not able to get back into the gym full-time until about two weeks ago. I was hesitant and had family traveling to different parts of the country and really did not think I would be able to attend… and then, I got a message saying that I did get sponsorship for the tournament and would be on the list of competitors. This was roughly two days before the tournament, and I had to find a babysitter, figure out how to get there (I hate inner city traffic and detours due to construction). The next day I had all the details worked out and I was ready to go, I was so ready and nervous that I could not sleep the night before the tournament! I made it out the door and started my trip with no sleep, by the end of the day I was pushing the 48 hour mark of sleep deprivation, and I looked horrible… sunk in eye balls, blood shot eyes, it was like the walking dead!
At the tournament, I was free labor and it was so cool! I have never helped setup for anything like this and it was really neat to be apart of this! While I’m on this subject, Matshark is a well put on tournament and high tech, I loved how they used a computer for everything it was so simple and easy to setup! Every single match at this tournament was cut throat, there were no points… there was no advantage points it was submission only and it produced some of the best matches I have ever seen! These guys were going after blood! Like, literally, I saw one guy’s forehead get cut open. Super awesome, if there is another submission only tournament I will definitely be in attendance!
I was scoping out the crowd for who I thought may be in my division and I was slightly worried because there seemed to be a lot of really big girls there and I was kind of freaking out because I went into a weight class above my normal weight. Turned out that I was the only blue belt registered for this tournament which left me fighting two white belts for the Gold. I had two matches and won both in under 1 minute. This was not a highlight, I mean it felt like sandbagging and was really hard to be excited I beat them. I had the option to fight No-gi against the same two girls and I opted not to fight. My fundamental background is in No-gi and MMA and it really did not feel right to me. My teammates Sean Aleman and Randal Dizon both competed in the Blue belt division, Sean took 2nd and while Randy is a white belt they did not have any white belts in his weight class so he was allowed to joint the blue belt division. Randy did not win any matches but definitely put up a good fight, proud of his effort and determination! Then both went to fight in No-gi and both took 1st place! Team Red River BJJ got the Gold in at least one division each!!
While all of our matches and scrambling to be at mats to cheer or record, something else was happening… something that I really enjoyed watching. There were a few guys from our sister schools Bruno Bastos Midland, Alvarez BJJ, Red River BJJ, and New Lineage BJJ, all competing at this tournament but some did not have their coaches there to coach them. Bruno Bastos Nova Uniao is apart of a big, broader family that is spread throughout the world it stands for “New Union”, and has a lot of pull behind each school. One of the competitors in the blue belt division was being coached simultaneously by my coach Ben Lozano – Red River BJJ, Danny Alvarez – Alvarez BJJ, and Nicolas Nuila – New Lineage BJJ. It was during this time that I started really looking around at the competitors and I noticed that over half of all the competitors were representing Bruno Bastos Nova Uniao. When I realized that everyone was helping each other, teams were united and it was as if it was one big family. This was really cool and awesome to see coaches and competitors come together, so very thankful I get the opportunity to be apart of this team!
Now shortly after this I was able to watch one of the best matches I get to brag that I sat down and watched Nicolas Nuila from New Lineage compete in the brown/black division. There were a few of us lined up to watch this, I mean they are the best out there… Who didn’t want to watch them! Nicolas was amazing, every move was exact and thought through, no mistakes were made and he beat his first black belt! It was kind of comical because the guy he beat was obviously from Brazil, did not speak very good English, and he got his pants torn during the match. Nicolas was talking to him in Portuguese, I did not know what he was saying and I asked the other competitor there and he said, that Nicolas was saying, ‘ Respect, I respect you’. I did not know that Nicolas had won, but when they finally stood up and his hand was raised the other guys jaw dropped and he stared almost immediately complaining about his loss and how Nicolas had torn his pants. Instantly, my thoughts about the way he handled his loss was well… kind of reminded me of my 5 year old having a toy taken away. Nicolas took the Gold home, he has entered into a new class of competition and definitely made a statement…. BRUNO BASTOS NOVA UNIAO #1!!!!
Recap of my adventures from this weekend and I really want to thank Matshark for the amazing opportunity they gave me and I hope I am able to help out in the future! Also need to shout out a Thank You to Ben Lozano, (Ghost) Sean Aleman, and (Randy) Randall Dizon for all the support and encouragement! ! !
~ If you are ever in Wichita Falls, TX or simply passing through, please stop by and visit Red River BJJ!! And remember, You do not have to be Great to start, but you have to START to be Great!!