Yesterday, on a whim I decided to send a few of the “First Class” team to the grappling competition which took place right in Rockville, MD. The team would be a fairly elite group consisting of Devon Delbrugge AKA Demonstrator, Chris Tran AKA Short Round – both World IBJJF medalists! These kids are always training so they are always in-shape and ready to compete. In fact, Short Round will be competing at the Chicago International Open next weekend, making it 3 competitions in 3 weeks and Demonstrator will be heading to Boston for that city’s IBJJF competition the following week. Mentally they are used to competing at the highest level of BJJ so these local shows are just a fun escape.
Once we got to Rockville Sportsplex, we were greeted by Jon Morrow who had just won the Novice No-Gi division and was leaving to go to work in the evening! We did not get the details but Jon was in good spirits and not huffing-and-puffing so it looks like he performed well!
Chris “Short Round” Tran was up first. The organization would not allow Chris to compete in the Blue Belt division because he officially was not a Blue Belt (Jiu Jitsu ranks are only given from age 16 and up) despite the fact that he won the World Championships. They did manage to find him an exhibition bout vs. another Juvenile, a Blue Belt, who Short Round defeated 8-0. Then is was off to the White Belt adult bracket where Short Round defeated two adults to win Gold! He hit a few of the techniques that are on his drilling list so he was extra happy!
Devon “Demonstrator” Delbrugge has developed into his own as an adult grappler and it showed as he won both the Blue Belt Middleweight division and the Blue Belt Open division. Devon employed his “wet towel” style, finishing 3 out of 5 opponents (1 Kimura and 2 Chokes from the Back), and showing a strong passing game along with his signature floppy guard. It was interesting to watch so many of his opponents break mentally after the 3 minute mark – Conditioning, both physical and mental, is important so its crazy that so many schools ignore it!
We also had surprise competitor, Jon “Lucas Lepri” Connelly or Jon “Starbucks” make his grappling competition debut! Despite his haircut and laid-back attitude, Starbucks showed that he could grapple, displaying a calmness combined with precise offense that usually only develops with experience. He went 2-2 for the day but all the coaches were impressed with his demeanor and performance.