Out West is for Big Men and Rattle Snake Wrastlers
by Tye Ryan Murphy
Crazy 88 Jiu-Jitsu sent a small portion of its competition team out west to the the 6th Arizona International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Open in Mesa, Arizona. The team was lead by seasoned blue belt Tye Murphy accompanied by fellow blues: Tom Shrum, Doug “DJ” Flores and Big Al Washington. Competition was thick and formidable out west, comprised of some long legged guard players, swift and agile big guys and a boat full of college wrestlers.
Tom Shrum started the day in the leve division facing a guard puller. His opponent pulled quickly allowing Tom to work all the passes we have been practicing in the room against a game guard. Shrum knee cut, hip switched, leg dragged, x-passed and over-undered himself to a few advantages and one eventuall pass which proved to be the decisive score in a tight battle. Shrum was victorious in the first round but was defeated in the quarters when an attempted pull turned into a scramble and resulted with Tom’s gangly opponent on his half back with a kimura grip for the entire match. Shrum defended his back well but was never able to fully escape his opponents grasp.
Tye was up next in the middleweight division. He faced a college wrestler that he submitted in the American Nationals middleweight finals. His opponent was little more game with his instructor close in his corner. Tye jumped closed guard and worked the crazy grip unsuccessfully throwing triangle, wristlock, and back attack movements. Tye switched to De La Riva and put his opponent on his butt with a rolling sweep that turned into an explosive scramble. The opponent came to his feet and lifted Tye above his head and planted him hard on the mat landing in north-south for 3 pts. Shaking off the daze, Tye regained his composure and escaped with inverted guard, eventually catching his opponent in a tight diamond. Tye worked frantically to finish the triangle against a stubburn opponent as time ticked away. Running out of time, he opened up, established Reverse De La Riva and quickly granbied under to take the back. The opponent stepped back, trapping Tye’s leg in a knee bar fashion to hold the position and thwarted Tye from establishing the hooks, earning the victory and in the end, the Gold medal.
Unwaivered by the upset, Al and Flores took to the mat in the Ultra Heavy and Heavy divisions respectively and performed.
Flores put his blue belt on the line for his first real tournament since promotion in late 2010. In his first match, Flores pulled half as is his tradition, defended the mount against a long opponent, and swept to Double Under in classic Crazy 88 fashion. DJ went into the closed guard, which is also typical of his style, and passed with the Wilson pass. DJ scored with some knee-on-belly after the pass and then brabo cross-choked his opponent with the lapel for the tap. DJ’s second opponent was also very long as is traditional for the 207 weight class and was a triangle threat. The match was almost identical to the first as DJ swept from deep half, passed the guard with the Wilson pass, and scored again with the knee on belly finally appeasing his very vocal coach who has been asking for that position from DJ for 6 months. A big points win for Flores.
DJ faced a college caliber wrestler in the heavy finals and despite working the deep half and coming up with the lapel between the legs multiple times, DJ could not score. His opponent was awarded one advantage for smashing half and eluded DJ for the better of 4 minutes, sprawling and running from the attacking DJ. DJ took silver in his first blue belt tournament with IBJJF caliber competition.
Big Al avenged some personally disappointing performances recently and outworked his first two opponent, winning by points and then submission. Al faced an opponent in the Ultra heavy finals that was his size with a gumby guard. Al listened and performed well, working hard to pass his opponents guard and defending the uma plata. His opponent put Al on his back partially for 3 advantages and Al almost passed and forced a turn twice for 2 of his own. It was a hard fought yet graceful fight that had the audience biting their nails as Al worked to tie or pass -DJ Juggernaut style-, time expired and Al received the silver metal. There were obvious technical gains in Al’s game in that his passing was solid and recognizable and his deep half was active and effective. Kudos to the big men.
Both big guys entered the Blue Belt Open. Flores lost a high pace scrappy match against a good guard guy while Al outpointed his first and then Americana submitted his second opponent. Al then encountered a tough wrestler in the semis. Al pulled deep half and worked diligently. His opponent passed once for three points and then the exchange of He-man rolls began. Only a mere advantage was scored for a partial scissor sweep by Al and for the remainder of the match, the opponent stalled and brawled to a 3 pt victory. Al took Bronze. All in all it was an impressive showing by two of 88’s big men.
Experience is experience and tough loses are nothing to hang the head over. A short memory and back to the lab tonight for the 88 competition team. Pan Ams are popping off in 3 weeks. Will you be there?