That’s right Newcastle again for our biannual grading day and what a day it was.
For me this one was special…
As you know I started teaching in the neighbouring city of Perth in July. Most of my students are brand new to Jiu Jitsu so this was not just a test of their skills but a test of my teaching.
The usual rules apply at the grading, we have an interclub competition between Speedy’s Newcastle mob, Dom’s Darlington crew and us Dundee/Perth lot, 6 minute rounds with 10minutes in the final, no points, no advantages just good old fashion submission only.
It was an early start(5am alarm call) but we had a good crowd of us going down with Gary, Kev, Danny, Tony, Ronnie, Adam, Sean, myself, Barry and Euan. A mixture of purple, blue and white belts.
We arrived around 10:15am and we didn’t have long before proceedings got started. White belts, through to blue belts and finally purple. First up was a young dude from Dom’s lot called ‘Twiglet’ with Danny and Kev in round robin. Both Danny and Kev beat Twiglet by submission but in between these matches Danny and Kev had to fight. These guys spar all the time in class and usually it’s pretty much 50/50 but this time Kev prevailed winning the match by armbar.
Next group had Gary, Sean, Tony and Ronnie in it. Gary and Sean were the lightest in the category and have only been training for a few months but did great, ok they never won a match but that doesn’t matter as they did their best, going for proper technique in their escapes instead of powering out of them. Tony and Ronnie were awesome both winning their first match most memorably was Tony winning by knee pressure from knee on stomach position. Unfortunately Tony and Ronnie met in the second round but it was a great match up with Ronnie being the victor. In the final Ronnie met one of Dom’s very good white belts. This match went on for 10 minutes with lots of close submission, at one point Ronnie had his lip badly burst and the match had to stop briefly but not winner. Extra time ensued with Ronnie narrowly losing but what was the match of the day.
Adam was up next. Adam was missed from his category for some reason so he was put in the weight class above. I can’t remember much about his matches apart from the classic Adam take down on two of his oppents and that he won his category.
Blue belt time and Euan was up. This was the first time the big guy had competed without being injured… ok he was recovering from a cold but no knee problems and he had been training like a man possessed for this, gi, no gi, wrestling & weights and he was looking great for it and won convincingly against Piotr with an arm triangle.
Now there was a bit of confusion with the purple belts. Baz was supposed to face Alex but Alex couldn’t make it so he was then put in a round robin with Phil and I. A few minutes later it was all change again and Barry was facing Muigel a big blue belt but a purple belt in the 10th planet system. Barry was a tad anxious with all the change but he got stuck in. Muigel attacked from all angles with an armbar that look heinous but Barry turned his thumb and was in no pain whatsoever and then again with a key lock but again survived until he got caught in what looked like a very tight inverted triangle.
Phil and I… the auld enemy!
We’ve competed twice before as blue belts with Phil winning one with Ezequiel choke and myself winning the other by kimura so this was all to play for. The match started with me going for the single leg takedown but Phil soon put a stop to that so I flopped on my arse instead(classic Grant as Adam would say) and played my guard game. Tried a few chokes and failed but then nailed a nice scissor sweep to get top control, struggled to get past Phil’s guard, from out of no where he went for that damn Ezekiel again but failed and I eventually passed and got to dorsal fin, wrapped his arm up and went for the choke to no avail. Some how I got to dorsal fin again and wrapped the his arm this time Phil rolled and I rolled with him and we landed in the armbar position, Phil more worried about the choke forgot to protect his arm and I took advantage and got the tap.
Once all the matches had finished it was grading time.
I’m pleased to say that all my Perth guys got their very first stripe. Gary, Sean and Kev did themselves proud.
Tony and Danny had been graded in Dundee not long before so never received anything on the day.
Adam and Ronnie received they’re blue belts. Long overdue for Adam and very justified for Ronnie.
Euan received his 4th stripe on his blue.then Speedy surprised us by give Euan his purple belt. Couldn’t be happier for the big guy, as I said before he’s been working like a Trojan for this and was thoroughly deserved it.
Barry and I both received our 3rd stripe on our purple belts.
All in all Saturday was a great day, catching up with old friends and making new, the bus travelling there and back, even the shite food couldn’t dampen our spirits. I’m lucky to be part of such a great team with amazing team mates.
I personally can’t wait for the next one in May.
Love and respect