Artemis BJJ are hosting a 24 hour Grapplethon at their gym in Bristol. The event is in aid of Womankind Bristol, a women's therapy center.
I'm not from the area myself so I very much doubt that I'll be able to make it, but if anyone reading this is based in or near Bristol, check out the grapplethon page for more information. It's a great cause!
I want to compete a lot this year, and for my first competition of the year I decided to do the no-gi at Grappling Industries in London. This is the first time that Grappling Industries has come to the UK, so it was quite exciting.
One good thing about Grappling Industries is that they don't use IBJJF weight categories. They have an u105lb category for no-gi, which is a fair bit lighter than what I usually end up competing at. I was excited to get a match close to my weight!
I went down the night before, stayed not far from the venue, and then went to compete. It turned out that the venue was right next to the ruin of Grenfell Tower. It was weird being there and seeing the memorial and the shell of the building. I posted about that on Instagram at the time. I was in London, not far from Kensington, the night of the fire and it brought some memories flooding back.
There's some spoken word poetry posted on the wall of the barriers around the tower, that calls it the Black Tower of London. It's strange walking through Kensington and seeing all the memorials and photos posted in windows and on fences in the area. To the rest of England, Grenfell is just a distant memory, but it's still raw and real to these people. They lost friends and family. They live with that reality every day. Honestly, it made 'being at a BJJ tournament' feel like small stuff.
I was the only person from Origin competing at Grappling Industries, but Wesley from Lone Star had made the journey as well, and had competed in the gi tournament the day before. He stuck around to corner me for the no-gi, and it was a big help.
I had one opponent, and we ended up doing best 2/3. I won both matches with a simple takedown>pass>mount strategy. The first one I won on points. My opponent was stubborn and refused to give anything up. My plan had been to get the back, but she refused to let me and kept fighting all the way through, actually escaping mount and getting some offence of her own in towards the end.
The second match I repeated the same strategy, and tried for a wristlock that Wesley had suggested, but there wasn't quite enough time for me to practice it in the break between matches, so I went for an ezekiel instead, and got the tap. I haven't had a good record in no-gi so it felt nice to get the win!
I'm hoping to do BJJ 24/7 Manchester in February, and potentially one more. Then the Adult National Championships in March. After that I'll probably rest in April, and then get ready for the British Open in May. I've got a lot to work on!
This year, I'm planning to compete as much as I possibly can; finances and health allowing.
So far, my plans are:
January 13 - Grappling Industries in London, No-Gi
February 17 - BJJ 24/7
March 3 - Elite BJJ Events Adult Nationals Gi
March 31 - Southend Open (Sub Only)
If I can make all of those, that will be almost as many tournaments in the first quarter of the year as I managed in the whole of last year, and since they're planned ahead it should hopefully work out!
I'm aiming to do Hereford adult and masters as well, and the Surrey Open, and hopefully one of the All Stars events as well later in the year.
Everything is booked for January now. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Grappling Industries events are like. I've heard nothing but good things about them from people in the USA, and they were very responsive when I contacted them with a scheduling question, so that's promising.
There are four no-gi classes between now and the London tournament. That's not long enough to make any changes to my game, so I'll just be getting a couple of hard sessions in then relaxing for a few days. It will come around fast.