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 Tatamifightwear.com, 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!