Monday, 28 June 2010

Stripes night!

Well done to all the lads tonight on receiving three stripes on their white belt; next stop blue guys!!

IBJJF Referee Course!

Had a great day in London on the referee course and now have the all important piece of paper, am now a certified IBJJF referee. Over 30 BJJ athletes and coaches attended the course, giving up their time on the hottest day of the year, as Alvaro Mansor took us through the rules and regulations of IBJJF competitions.

Looking forward to reffing even more, with a greater understanding of the rules; full marks to the guys at Champ Camp for sorting the course out!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Meerkatsu articles......

My very good friend Seymour Yang, aka Meerkatsu, has released a very interesting series of interviews on his Blog; next time you feel like slagging off a comp, read these first before you hit the enter key!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Combat Base HQ tonight!

Took a drive over the M62 and dropped in at Darren and Helen Currie's club over in sunny Pontefract; had a monster session with the guys and gals, made all the harder with the warm weather and no air in the training room. Lost about 6 kilos in sweat tonight, had a great time and good to see all the usual faces, look forward to going over again real soon!

Referee's course!

As well as talking the talk, I will be walking the walk at the weekend, as I travel down to the Big Smoke to attend the official IBJJF certified Referee Course. It's a shame this wasn't held last week before the Manchester Open, but it's going to well worth the trip down to do the course and improve my knowledge on refereeing.

Look forward to seeing my friends from London on the day and will get some pix and make a short write up on here!

Manchester Open BJJ event

Had a very enjoyable, if not exhausting day at the Manchester Open yesterday; the event was well attended and supported by the local BJJ clubs and even attracted competitors as far away as Edinburgh, from Rick Young's academy.
This was to be my first time refereeing under IBJJF rules and I admit I was a little bit nervous stepping up to referee my first match and weight division in the blue belt section. There were a number of black belt coaches watching from the sides as their guys fought on the mats, so I had to be on the ball all day.

As soon as the whistle went for the first fight, all the nerves and jitters left me and I got stuck into the job at hand and after the first few fights, I started to enjoy the day and had a very enjoyable afternoon. I started off at the table, using the score boards and watched the referee on my mat and everytime a point score or an advantage occured, I mentally noted the points and waited to see if I was right when the ref signalled to me, which gave me a boost before I tipped up on to the mats.

The action was non stop as I refereed white belts and blue belts and all fights were fiercely contested, together with great sportsmanship and repsect from all fighters to each other. As in previous events I have reffed at, I was spared serious ear bashing from the side lines and was very surprised at this and the absence of the abuse made my job of refereeing a lot easier to deal with and in fact, it was an absolute pleasure to referee all day.
Big shout out to Gus Oliveira for hosting the event and allowing me the chance to step into the middle and get much needed refereeing experience. Gus travelled and organised this event from way down south; surely there are black belts in the local area that can host future BJJ events in and around Manchester????

Shouts out to Lee and Gareth from, my students for stepping up and competing, Darren Currie and all the Combat Base brothers, Chris Brown, Scott Pickering, Pablo, Monkey, John Keeley, Jim Mc Sherry, Steve Campbell, Jon Broster and everyone else I met on the day.

Look forward to the next one!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

To ref or not to ref...............?

As mentioned in my Blog bio, this year I have decided to pursue refereeing on the BJJ circuit and to make myself the best referee as I possibly can. I made the decision at the start of the year after becoming a Grade 3 Area referee for the UMA; the UMA points system on the grappling and groundfighting events are the same as BJJ rules and always one for setting new challenges, I decided to apply myself to BJJ refereeing.

Refereeing is a thankless task; in all the years of refereeing I have been sworn at and verbally abused on many occasions and even threatened with physical violence on one occasion. With fifteen years experience working the doors, I've developed a pretty thick skin and can deal with over heated coaches and players and supporters and even irate parents, but for some refs, the abuse can and often puts them off refereeing full stop, which is truly sad for the sport and for the individual.

However, at the very same events where one is being harangued and abused, there are odd slivers of humanity and gratitude that makes refereeing worthwhile; these nuggets of salvation come in the shape of competitors actually coming over to thank you for refereeing their fights and God forbid they even take a walk on the wild side and shake your hand at the same time!

I will be at the Manchester Open tomorrow to help out on the tables and throw myself into the thick of it with the white belts and hopefully I'll still be in one piece to write again come Sunday night!

The sport needs well qualified referees and as a BJJ player myself, I feel I am giving something back to the BJJ community that allowed me to compete many many years ago as a white belt in 1999 in Los Angeles and the following years in the UK and also as a blue belt and purple belt.

In addition, I will keep you all posted on my experiences and thoughts on refereeing, as well as passing on any updates from referee courses I will be attending in the future and I hope by reading and following my posts online, I can help inspire at least one person to step into the middle and be a referee at what ever level.

Photo credit - May 2010 UMA Openweight No Gi Groundfighting event. Photo by Gen.