This was the second competition run by the newly formed Grappling Committee of Western Australia (GCWA). The first was held late last year. GCWA runs no-gi competitions following the FILA grappling rules.
This was an excellent competition. Firstly it is no-gi and FILA rules, both of which I am a huge fan. If BJJ is going to become an Olympic sport, it will be under the FILA rules, not the IBJJF rules. FILA rules are great for the spectator. Short matches, a hard stance on stalling and a simple and understandable point system encourages exciting matches.
As a spectator, I found this comp very entertaining. The matches were fast paced with lots of action. Most matches ended in submission. With other comps, I usually only watch my team-mate’s matches. The “get a point advantage then stall in guard for five minutes” strategy common in other comps gets boring very quickly. I enjoyed watching all the matches in this comp, regardless of whether I knew the competitors or not.
As a competitor, I really enjoyed the matches I had. My matches felt submission orientated, rather than points orientated. Both competitors were looking for the submission, not to simply gain a point advantage. The action was fast paced and there was not much time for thinking. I made mistakes and learnt from them, which for me, means a successful competition.
The scoring went very smoothly. There were referees unfamiliar with the FILA rules but I didn’t see any calls I disagreed with. This is a testament to the simplicity of the FILA rules. Each match had three referees, the main ref with the competitors and two refs outside the mat on opposite corners. The corner refs confirm the main ref’s scoring. There was no disagreement in the scoring, again thanks to the FILA rules. And there was no stopping the match while all three refs have a discussion, which is not uncommon in the Mundials.
One thing that really impressed me was that the organisers ensured that every competitor got at least two matches. Even if a competitor lost their first match, they got another match with someone else. This recognises that the purpose of competition is to gain experience, as well as to try to win. I think this is a fantastic attitude.
There were also some downsides for this competition. Firstly it was poorly advertised. I only found out about it three days before. Some entrants only found out the day before. Though thankfully the organisers still accepted registration the day before so anyone that wanted to compete, could.
Secondly, the venue wasn’t great. The building was still being renovated and it was a cold windy day so there was a cold breeze blowing on the spectators. Some of the videos I took are all shaky because I was shivering while taking them. The organisers did apologise for this as the renovations were supposed to be completed. The next comp is planned to be in a much better venue.
The next GCWA grappling competition is planned for late October. I’ll definitely be entering. I’ll be posting the details as soon as I get them. Videos of the matches will be up shortly.