This is Nathan Mendelsohn, third degree brown belt from Claudio Franca BJJ and I'd like to invite you to follow me along for what should be a really exciting 2012 Competition Season!! I'm back and really excited for this year and I'll be posting here all year long with stories, techniques and updates on all my travels and experiences competing around the U.S. and the World!!
My first competition of the year came this past Sunday at the All Star #1 Tournament here in my hometown of Santa Cruz, CA. This was the first installment of the tournament, organized by my instructor Claudio Franca, and it was an absolute success. Last year Claudio moved the US Open to San Jose for the first time so it was really nice this past weekend to get to compete in front of the hometown crowd in Santa Cruz again.
I had four fights overall to be named Brown Belt Adult Middleweight and Absolute Champion. My first fight, the only one in my weight division, was a tough contest against a tough opponent in Erico Monteiro of Crispim BJJ. I was fortunate enough to achieve the mount position and finish with an armbar to claim the middleweight gold.
Next was the absolute and my first fight was against an extremely tough competitior in the young Tanner Rice of Amazonas BJJ. The match was closely contested for the majority of its duration with Tanner playing guard and me putting pressure from side to side on top and maintaining a small lead of two advantages. Then, near the end of the match, Tanner was able to land a sweep and come ahead by two points. Fortunately, I was able to put him in the 50/50 right away and return the sweep. After a brief 50/50 battle we both ended up back on our feet and the match was soon over, leaving me ahead by advantages. This match was one of the toughest I've had in a while and its final exchanges were so tense that I think half the crowd almost had a heart attack.
My second match in the absolute was also a tough contest, this time against Julian Marquez of Mikyo Riggs Jiu-Jitsu. Ahead by three points, I managed to secure a kimura at the very end of the match and get the finish.
The final match of the absolute was a gridlocked battle against Israel Ceron of Ralph Gracie Academy. About midway through the match neither of us had managed to secure a takedown so I picked my moment and pulled guard. Soon thereafter I swept my opponent and found myself in a toehold from the 50/50. Though I felt the way he was attacking the toehold may have been twisting my knee in an illegal manner, I had no choice but to roll in defense until we found ourselves outside the ring. The ref was forced to stop the match and bring us back to the middle, awarding my opponent only an advantage instead of the two points he deserved. Seeing the ref had made a mistake in my favor and feeling confident my opponent wouldn't be able to take me down, I decided to spend the rest of the match fighting on the feet until the buzzer sounded and I was declared the absolute champion.
I'm really happy with my performance at the All Star #1 and I think it was the perfect way to get my momentum going for the new year. I'm really excited for 2012 and I plan on competing as much as humanly possible so I'll be sure to keep you informed as this exciting year unfolds!!