“Alright, although this is just practice and the weights or skill levels won’t be perfect, make sure to give it your all as if it’s the real day!” The captain announced as the first two fighters entered the mats.
Lucas and Andrew were up first. Their skills were similar, but Andrew had a rather significant weigh advantage. Normally that alone would give Andrew an edge, but since this tournament was strictly jiujitsu, it was still anyone’s match to win.
The two stood in front of one another, mentally resolving themselves for the fight ahead of them. As soon as the captain waved his hand down between them, signaling to start, the fight began.
Immediately, reminiscent of my fight against the captain months ago, Lucas disengaged and dropped into guard. Andrew on the other hand saw through his plan and snagged an ankle as he fell, awarding him two takedown points for a technicality.
Despite his point advantage, Andrew wasn’t finished yet. With the ankle he had caught, he dropped directly into a straight ankle lock, securing Lucas’s ankle under his armpit, and leaning backwards to break his foot at the joint.
Lucas in turn scrambled on top of Andrew, pushing his foot in deeper in order to stall the submission as he fought for positional dominance.
The fight was barely thirty seconds in and everyone was already going wild cheering and coaching from the sidelines. As much as I wanted to fully engage in the match so I could give the fighters tips and critique afterwards, I could barely hear my own thoughts in this environment.
They sure are going all in on making it feel like a real tournament with this noise.
As the match continued, Lucas stayed primarily on the defensive. Although he occasionally attempted certain sweeps and submissions from guard, Andrew’s constant leg attacks and well-trained balance kept him in the dominant position.
After the three minutes concluded, Andrew was declared the victor: two points to zero.
After bowing and shaking hands, they both exited the mat to watch the next fight, this time between the captain and Alix.
“Hey Cole, I’ve got a question.” Lucas slid over to me as the second fight began.
“What is it?” I whispered to him, trying to be respectful of the current match.
“I was just curious how Andrew got two points on me?” Lucas asked, whispering as well now. “I’m not disputing the fact that I lost that fight. Even without the points, he probably would’ve been declared the winner anyway since I couldn't really do much to him.”
“I was wondering that too,” Andrew whispered from behind us, creating an awkward three-way whispering huddled while still trying to watch the fight.
“They were takedown points from the beginning scuffle,” I replied quietly.
As I was about to continue my explanation further, the stand-up portion of the tournament match concluded with Alix catching the captain in an explosive double leg takedown, causing a reverberating boom.
“As I was saying, you don’t have to get a flashy or technical takedown like that in order to get the two takedown points.” I continued, watching the fight with one eye and the two I was talking to with the other. “When the BJJ gods determined the line for what is a takedown versus just sitting guard, they determined that as long as an opponent had a hold on a leg, they would be counted as performing a takedown.”
“BJJ gods?” Andrew asked, poking fun at my explanation.
“Shush.” I glared at him before continuing. “Does that make sense though?”
“Yep, just don’t let them grab my leg when I sit into guard, gotcha.” Lucas affirmed, now fully focusing on the fight.
Although we were now all watching the fight, there wasn’t much left to watch. After being taken down, the captain put up a valiant effort against Alix but, in the end, lost to a D’Arce chokehold from side control.
As our captain, he really should train more jiujitsu rather than focusing so much on Muay Thai.
With the second fight out of the way, the last two competitors made their way onto the mats.
The skill difference between Quinn and Madison was astronomical in jiujitsu but, despite that, they were still matched up together for various, and obvious, reasons.
Rather than having a serious fight to the death, the vice-captain ended up helping coach Quinn out of any dominant position or submission she threw at her.
The final round ended as expected with the vice-captain winning by a landslide. Even though the fight was exceedingly one sided, it seemed as though Quinn learned a lot in the process, allowing her to gain a plethora of experience from the devastating loss.
After that, classes continued in a similar fashion as time marched on. Day after day, the club members would train in and out of class, hosting miniature tournaments amongst themselves to help get into the mindset of fighting in the real one.
At a few points over the course of the last week, I was even coerced into fighting some of the more skillful club members, despite my protests, in the tournament format in order to help them train.
Finally, after prepping mind, body, and soul for days on end, the tournament was upon us.