Edited for spelling mistakes and forgotten details. Sorry if you read this and saw weird stuff, it's the computer's fault I promise!
No pictures yet as my camera cable is in KL, so will post when I get home.
I'm sitting in the Business Centre of my hotel, having just finished a day of BJJ competition. I was in town for the Singapore International BJJ Tournament 2008, joined by Rob.
We got there at 8.30am and we hung out until 6.30pm or so. Mostly we were sitting around, but we got to meet a lot of cool guys. Roy from Synergy (Indonesia) was one of them, as was Sebastian from EMAC (Bangkok), both really cool guys.
It was mostly white belts. Not many blues attended, there were like 4 of us, Sebastian and I were 2 of them. Unfortunately, because of an apparent issue with the number of referees, Sebastian had to bow out. I don't blame him, it was just taking much too long and he wanted to go hang out with his son - I'd have done the same thing.
At first there were only 3 blues registered, but the third guy pulled out being that he was stuck in Indonesia for the day. Then a few guys showed up from Hong Kong, one of whom was a blue. Also, they got one of the blues from the organising gym to enter, a Japanese expat living here.
Sebastian was in a heavier weight class but the other two were in mine. So I would need to roll with the Hong Kong dude, then meet the Japanese guy in the final. I also entered in the open weight division where there were again only 3 of us (I was all set for my division to be "open" anyway), so I would have to go with Sebastian then, again, meet the Japanese guy in the final.
When Sebastian had to go, it was down to the two of us, so it was straight away a final.
At about 12.30pm they had the first rules briefing. At about 3.45, I had my first match. They only had one referee available and had to run only one match at a time, whites then blues.
MATCH 1: Blue Belt <77kg division, v. Danny H, from Impakt gym in Hong Kong.
I don't really remember much about this. He tried to pull guard but ended up trying to set up a scissor sweep. He couldn't get the sweep but he had a grip on my collar that I just couldn't break.
After the first few sweep attempts I managed to pass guard for a bit before he reestablished the scissor sweep setup. If I remember correctly I was always on top or in his guard. He tried a triangle but I defended and passed his guard. I didn't hold it long enough for the points because he pulled halfguard. I dropped down to secure it before he could get his knee in the way and hit an ezequiel.
It was a case of "I got him before he got me", as we had a chat for a bit after that and I found out he was trying to set up an armbar, but couldn't move his hips enough. He struck me as a good guy when we talked, and so did his friends from Impakt.
Result: Win via submission (Ezequiel choke), I was told afterwards that I was up by about 3 advantages.
MATCH 2: Blue Belt <77kg division, finals, v. Yu Morioka, from Alive Academy in Singapore.
The match started with him also pulling guard. He tried a couple of hook sweeps, one of which gave him an advantage. Early on, we ended up seperated then had to reengage standing. He hit a throw for 2 immediate points, I think it was an ashi barai. Rob later told me it was actually the best takedown of the entire day. Yay, I think.
I suspect he was watching my earlier match because he really didn't want to give me his neck. I think he then passed my guard or did something because he got another 2 points. I pulled him back to halfguard and got a lockdown, which he wasn't able to break.
At this point he tries his own ezequiel, but I managed to defend it. He goes for a cross lapel choke next, but I stopped that too. I pulled guard and went for a wristlock, and I hit it, but time was sounded. I imagine his wrists were pretty flexible though, didn't look like anything was happening.
Result: Loss via points - Me: 0, Yu Morioka: 4 points, 5(!) advantages.
So, a silver for me and guaranteed at least another silver, being that I'm directly in the finals, with Yu again. I was a bit disappointed in the result but I know I gave it my best, so that will have to do.
MATCH 3: Blue Belt Open Weight division, finals, v. Yu Morioka of Alive Academy.
The match started with some shuffling around, he was trying to circle around but I kept my hips squared up. He shot in for a takedown but I got the sprawl and we were there for a fair while. I was trying to get him on his knees or back. He, meanwhile, was bent double and holding on to my arms so I couldn't do anything. He was also very mindful of his neck.
I don't remember how but he got out and we scrambled for a bit. I'm not sure if he passed my guard or what, but he was up by 2 points. I was trying to set up another ezequiel but he got me in a triangle which fortunately I spotted. He was really going for it but I held out - he never got my arm free and his cutting leg was never directly over my neck.
After that was done I spent the rest of the match going for an ezequiel which I could never get, he just wouldn't give it to me. It was kind of funny as his cornerman was the referee in my first match, and he was yelling in Japanese but I KNOW I heard him say "ezequiel" (I mean, there's no Japanese translation). I looked up at him and gave a quick smile and a shrug.
Result: Loss via points. Me: 0 points, 1 advantage. Yu Morioka: 2 points, 1 advantage.
A much better job of it if I do say so myself. Was a much closer match. There was one point where I felt like I could almost have taken mount, but I could feel his hook near my knee so I could never get it.
After the medal presentations I talked to Yu and asked how long he'd been training and found out he's got 6 years' experience, 4 of them as a blue. Which was GREAT for me to hear, now I felt much better! It was also a pleasure to have rolled with him twice, he's smooth and fast - and also pretty strong.
The event was a great experience, not counting all the waiting we had to do. I met some good friends and got to catch up. Sul was there, as was Aziz (who competed in two divisions as a white belt, got gold in both, AND got graded to blue! Congrats buddy!).
In addition, Rob did a great job in his first-ever BJJ tournament, winning the silver in the White Belt Novice (<6 Months' experience) division. Way to go!
I'm also really pumped up for Melbourne - looking forward to a few good rolls!
Postscript 31st August: I ended up pulling out of the no-gi tournament due to injury. My ankle was slightly buggered after yesterday's competition - I can walk on it but risking it in competition struck me as being less than prudent.