NZ Grappler NoGI Competition Regional Kapiti
Saturday Morning (21/02/15) in Kapiti College in a quiet town, already the venue smelt like it had that odor of warm bodies colliding with one another. The kids are just finishing their last matches, one tries pulling guard only to be lifted up and driven to the canvas. The match is stopped, he catches his breath, and his opponent is sympathetic and apologetic of the unfortunate incident. The kid gets up, the match ends and he is rewarded with his hands raised. Rules are rules, to some spectators who have never seen this before this may look barbaric or totally foreign compared to anything they have seen in a Hollywood martial arts film. How is this man beating another man off his back? For those who have watched the UFC, or MMA know that grappling is one of the most important techniques required to be successful as a mixed martial artist. This is Brazilian Jujitsu, this is grappling, and over 250 people turned up to compete in this year’s Kapiti Region NoGI NZ Grappler competition.
It was not easy trying to pay attention to three matches going on at the same time. The advanced men division in the Heavy weight category (over 90 kg), where I was standing in the sidelines, looked to be interesting. There were plenty of talent in that category and every man gave it their all. The final winner was Dan Digby, from Orphans MMA, there had been talk amongst the crowd that this man had competed and won 200 matches within New Zealand. The way he executes leg trips, and staying heavy on top control position definitely prove that he is a beast on the mats. What I enjoyed seeing was the different ages and body types that can participate in this sport; some were tall and lanky, others had a build of a fire hydrant, but it did not matter, you did not need a specific body type to win in this martial arts, you make your body work for you.
In the intermediate men’s middle category (79.5kg), there was a man who impressively hit two fireman carries on his opponent. After finding out that he has competed in the Wrestling World Championships, and one of the New Zealand and Oceania Champions in the under-74kg Greco-Roman class, it did not seem that shocking that he was able to blast takedowns and transition into Brazilian jujitsu so well. However, it wasn’t until you noticed he did this with his eyes closed that made it more spectacular. This man is Clinton Davies (Tu Kaha BJJ), he’s legally blind, but I do not see anyone taking it lightly on him. On the contrary, if you do so, you may get taken for a ride on the take down express, and tapping once he gets your ankle.
The absolute division I believe is the biggest highlights of a Jujitsu competition. Different weight classes with different belts have the opportunity to compete to see who is the best in the competition. Lower belts can upset the higher ranked belts; technique was more emphasized if you were to beat someone much stronger and bigger than you. Sometimes David can beat Goliath. Philip Allsopp (Oliver MMA) stood out as he leg locked, toe hold his way in amazing fashion to victory in his absolute division. Unfortunately due to lack of sponsorship he cannot attend the Abu Dhabi championship later on this year.
The event may have shown certain individuals who stand out in the upper echelon. However while I was watching those particular fights, there were hundreds of fights going on at the same time that have been just as amazing. Every man, woman and child who walked onto those mats should be proud of their accomplishment that day; to not only compete for yourself, but also represent your team, friends and family. I think most importantly Brazilian jujitsu in Kapiti Region is strong, and so is the martial arts here in New Zealand.